Posts Tagged ‘caryatids’

Yet More West End 1987

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020
Schomberg House, Pall Mall,St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6b-36-positive_2400

My walks around London’s Westminster and Mayfair continued in June and July 1987 and ranged wider into Notting Hill. The selection of pictures I’ve put on Flickr represents roughly one sixth of the pictures I took, and are those I now find more interesting and feel will interest others more. They include a rather higher proportion of statues and sculpture and rather less of the more workaday buildings and scenes. I was also beginning to become rather freer in my use of film, more often taking two or even three frames of a particular building or view.

June was a busy time of year for me in my teaching, with students taking exams and I was involve in both marking and moderation, both stretching into the early weeks of July until term ended and sometimes beyond. I envied those who were free to go to Arles for the Rencontres, but could only read the accounts in the magazines (the web was yet to come) and by the time I’d left teaching and could have gone had lost the urge to do so.

Schomberg House in Pall Mall is a grand facade, partly from the town house built in 1698 for the Duke of Schomberg. The eastern third of it was demolished in 1850, but when the building behind the facade was demolished and redeveloped into offices in 1956 the missing part of the facade was rebuilt to restore the symmetry of the whole facade. This “Central projecting caryatid porch of painted Coade stone (dated 1791)” was originally the main entrance to the house, but now has no doorway, just a window. The ‘allegory of painting’ above the door possibly reflects that for some years the building was occupied by the artist John Astley (and the rather better known  Thomas Gainsborough lived in part of the house too),  though if it also dates from 1791 the house had passed into the ownership of the Scottish quack James Graham who, according to Wikipedia, set it up as a “Temple of Health and Hymen”, a high class brothel and gambling den which was eventually raided and closed down by the police.

Ship model, Cunard, Pall Mall,St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6b-26-positive_2400

Cunard had an office in Pall Mall when Charles Dickens wrote his Dickens’s Dictionary of London in 1879, and there was still an office there in 1987, although clearly in a more modern building. I’m not sure if this is a part of the rather ugly functional building that is still there on the north side of Pall Mall, but what attracted me was clearly the model ship in the window.

King St, St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6b-33-positive_2400

This is 54 Pall Mall and the site was for over a hundred years until 1940 occupied, according to The Survey of London on British History Online by
Messrs. Foster, auctioneers. They commissioned this frontage from architects Karslake and Mortimer in 1891, and later in 1931 had the building rebuilt behind it. That architectural practice ended in 1895 when Mortimer died and Karslake retired. This building with its perhaps strange mixing of styles was Grade II listed at the end of 1987. It is now the offices of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.

The Golden Lion, King St, St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6b-34-positive_2400

The Golden Lion in King St was more interesting to me, not just because it was still open as a public house, though I don’t remember having been inside. The first record of a pub on this site, then the Golden Lyon, is in 1732, but the present building dates from 1897-8. The architect is not known, but the Survey of London has a long description which begins rather snootily:

Designed in a grotesque imitation of the Jacobean Baroque, its narrow stone front bulges with projecting windows and carved ornament on a scale quite out of keeping with its size. 

https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vols29-30/pt1/pp295-307#h3-0012

I found it an appealing exuberance. This was a time when architecture of the late nineteenth and early 20th century was only really beginning to be widely appreciated, and this building was again Grade II listed at the end of the year.

Burne House,Marylebone Rd, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-6c-13-positive_2400

You may need to look closely to see that the ‘building’ that occupies most of the lower section of this picture is not a building but simply a painting on a high fence in front of a building site.

The tall block is Burne House, built as a BT Telecommunications Centre in 1977 with 15 floors and around 207ft tall. The hoarding or wall on which the painted scene is is now a plain brick wall separating Peabody housing in Burne St, completed in 1977, from the Marylebone Rd.

Large Spindle Piece, Henry Moore, Sculpture, Spring Gardens, Westminster, 1987 87-6c-35-positive_2400

Henry Moore’s Large Spindle Piece was in Spring Gardens from from 1981 to 1996. Seven copies of this large bronze were cast in 1974 and this was the ‘artist’s cast’, currently on loan to Network Rail and in the square in front of Kings Cross station.

Britannia, Field Marshal Lord Clyde, statue, Baron Carlo Marochetti, Waterloo Place, Westminster, London  87-6c-55-positive_2400

Colin Campbell, 1st Baron Clyde (1792 – 1863) was one of the leading British military figures of his age; born Colin Macliver, he adopted the family name of his uncle in whose care he then was when he enlisted in 1808. He served in the Peninsular War (where his only brother had been killed) and went on to fight in many of our European and colonial wars of the era. There is a lengthy description of his career on Wikipedia.

In 1823 he was aide-de-camp to the governor in Demerara in Barbados, it is not clear if he took part in the brutal reprisals against the slave rebellion there in August 1823, but he was a part of the court martial which sentenced the Reverend John Smith to death. From there he went to Ireland where troops were needed to force the Roman Catholic majority to pay tithes to the Anglican Church of Ireland. In 1842 he led his regiment fighting in the First Opium War in China and later in the year was made commandant of Hong Kong. In 1848-9 he led his brigade in battles in the Second Anglo-Sikh War and afterwards was involved in other operations, though he resigned in disgust when asked to mount an invasion of the Swat Valley.

He is probably best known for his service in the Crimean War, where he commanded the Highland Brigade and was notably photographed by Roger Fenton. He was then made a general and sent to India to command all the British forces there and put an end to the ‘Indian Mutiny’, only returning to England in 1860 when ” all aspects of the revolt had died away”.

He died in 1863, and the statue by Baron Carlo Marochetti was erected in Waterloo Place in 1867. Campbell had obviously been a brave and courageous soldier and had done a great deal for Britannia, ensuring that if not the waves, she ruled the lands of many other peoples and was able to plunder them for profit. Men like him made possible the great wealth of our Victorian elites that we now see. Quite how we regard that now is a matter for debate, and his memorial is obviously in need of a great deal of recontextualisation, but it has more character as a work of art than most statues.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Feb 1987 Camden, London

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020
Saddler, Monmouth St, Covent Garden, Camden, 1987 87-2c-13-positive_2400
Saddler, Monmouth St, Covent Garden, Camden, 1987

This building is a part of a comprehensive redevelopment of the area, the Comyn Ching triangle, by the Terry Farrell Partnership which took place from 1983-1991, retaining the facades with rebuilt or restored shopfronts. This part of the Grade II listed terrace at 65-71 Monmouth St was only rebuilt in the third and final phase of development which began around two years after I made this picture. The lettering ‘B. FLEGG/ ESTd.1847/ SADDLER & HARNESS MAKER/ LARGE/ STOCK /OF/ SECONDHAND SADDLERY & HARNESS/ HORSE/ CLOTHING/18, with the name B. FLEGG applied diagonally to each side’ was then painstakingly restored.

Though sometimes referred to as a ‘ghost sign’, like many others it should more correctly be called a ‘resurrected sign’.

Thornhaugh St, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1987 87-2b-54-positive_2400
Thornhaugh St, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1987

One of the minor themes in my work at this time concerned the urban tree. London is a city with a great many of them, notably those London Planes, a hybrid of American sycamore and Oriental plane which first appeared by cross-pollination of these two introduced species in the Lambeth garden of London’s best known plantsman, John Tradescant the younger, who named it after the city around the middle of the 17th century. It has been widely grown in streets and parks across the city since the late 18th century.

I think these trees in their regimented rows are probably flowering cherries though probably some with greater aboreal knowledge will correct me. But this was a militarised forest that rather made me shudder. The planting was apparently designed to stop students playing football in the area. It hasn’t lasted and there is now a green area here – though some of the trees in it may be these same specimens, and there are still a couple of large brutalist concrete boxes around a couple of groups of trees.

UCL Institute of Education, Thornhaugh St, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1987 87-2b-43-positive_2400
UCL Institute of Education, Thornhaugh St, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1987

And in the background of the previous image was one of my favourite brutalist buildings, with a playfulness by Denys Lasdun’s that is perhaps more exiting than his National Theatre. It was a part of a larger plan, never completed and much opposed at the time, though in the end it was only a lack of money that really stopped the destruction of more of the area and the building on the open areas such as the ‘garden’ above.

Phoenix Cafe, Chalton St, Somers Town, Camden, 1987 87-2a-64-positive_2400

The Ossulston Estate in Somers Town, close to Euston Station was a remarkable council estate built by the London County Council in 1927-31, taking inspiration from modernist public housing which the LCC’s Chief Architect G Topham Forrest had visited in Vienna. The 7-storey housing blocks are behind a low wall of shop units along Chalton St, of which the Phoenix Cafe was one. Some of these units are still in use as shops, though not this one.

The 310 flats were built to high standards for the time and the development also included The Cock Tavern  – all are now listed. Some of the estate has been extensively refurbished.

St Pancras Church, Euston Rd, Bloomsbury, 1987  87-2a-25-positive_2400
St Pancras Church, Euston Rd, 1987

One of my favourite church exteriors in London is that of St Pancras (New) Church in Euston Rd, built in 1819–22 in Greek Revival style to the designs of William Inwood and his son Henry William Inwood. Perhaps its most remarkable feature are these caryatids, who look to me pretty fed up, perhaps unsurprisingly as they have a stone roof sitting on their heads. They are above the entrance to the burial vault and hold symbols suitable to this position, empty jugs and torches which have gone out.

Mahatma Gandhi, Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1987  87-2b-01-positive_2400

A short distance away in Tavistock Square is a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, 1869 – 1948, who studied not far away at UCL in 1888. The powerful likeness is by Fredda Brilliant and the site for it was chosen by V K Krishna Menon who was a member of the Theosophical Society and for some years a St Pancras Councillor before being made High Commissioner for India in the UK. The memorial was erected for the 125 anniversary of his birth and unveiled by then Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

Most years for some time I have visited Tavistock Square each August for the annual remembrance on Hiroshima day around the Hiroshima Cherry tree a short distance from this statue. The square also contains a memorial to the victims of the 2005 bombing here, the Conscientious Objectors Commemorative Stone, a memorial and bust of surgeon Dame Louisa Aldrich-Blake (1865 –1925) and a bust of Virginia Woolf.

More pictures on Flickr in the album 1987 London Photos.