The story of Colet House


Colet HouseColet House, home to the Study Society since 1957, has had a colourful history since it was first built in 1885. It was built on what was previously market gardens in what was then a leafy back water called Red Cow Lane, later to be named Colet Gardens. Its address changed to Talgarth Road in the 1960s when that road was extended to form a route to Heathrow. Colet Gardens got its name from the Renaissance scholar and Dean of St Paul's, John Colet who founded St Paul's school in 1509. In the 1880s, when Colet was built, St Paul's occupied local land and buildings in the immediate area, including land directly opposite now occupied by a further education college.


Colet House - Top studioColet House has the largest single studio in London, long enough to hold a cricket pitch, and two other substantial studios. It has been a workplace of many artists, notably Sir Frank Brangwyn RA (1867-1956) who described it as “a wonderful place... fit for Michelangelo himself...” and Sir Edward Burne-Jones RA (1833-1898) who was painting there to within hours of his death.


Nicolai Legat teachingIn the 1930s Colet attracted emigrés from post-revolution Russia and the ballet teacher Nicolai Legat from St Petersburg established his renowned school here, attracting dancers from all over the world. P.D. Ouspensky, philosopher, author and teacher of the Fourth Way stayed and lived here before and after World War II. During the war, the house was occupied by Naval Intelligence in support of General Montgomery’s D-Day Planning HQ - which was across the road at St Paul’s school. Later it became home to the Royal Ballet School, guided by Ninette de Valois and with Margot Fonteyn. The Study Society, dedicated to continuing Ouspensky’s work, acquired the freehold in 1957.


Scaffolding up in front of Colet House

We are finally able to repair our much-loved Colet

From 1st October 2014 The Study Society is embarking on an ambitious three year project to repair the facade of Colet House.  Decades of pollutants have been deposited from the traffic heading west from London and east into London and these have eaten into the red sandstone and brick which forms the facade of Colet House. Initial investigations have shown that much of the red sandstone and brickwork will need to be replaced partially or completely. If you would like to contribute to the repairs being made to the facade of this historic building please provide a donation when visiting Colet House (and a gentle reminder to Gift Aid your donation) or contact the office, details below. So that is why the scaffolding is up in front of Colet House.


We wish to take this opportunity to thank you all, for your continuous highly valuable support which enables Colet to be, in the words of Dr Francis Roles ‘a place of rest and refreshment for young people’.


Contact details

T: 020 8748 9338
A: Colet House, 151 Talgarth Road, London, W14 9DA

Registered Charity Number 1155498.