Posts Tagged ‘Marylebone’

More West End 1987

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020
Dover St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5l-35-positive_2400

I can offer little explanation for this rather sad looking bust, odd cup and plates which my contact sheet says I photographed in Dover St. I think the odd cup in the foreground is actually an extremely naff clock, with the lower snake’s head pointing to the hour and the upper head to a disk showing minutes. In the unlikely event it was working I took this picture at around 11.58. What it lacks is a rod coming out of the top with an arm holding a small bird or fly whizzing around for the seconds.

I guess the guy in the background could be Titus or Vespasian; most of the other Emperors had fancier hair, at least in their busts. This one looks around life-size and could well be the sculptor’s grandfather but more likely a copy of an older figure. From the number of similar busts around I have a picture of circles of student sculptors around a bust in a gallery at perhaps the V&A, each chipping away at a block of marble as an exam piece. Whoever did this one would have deserved a decent grade.

Berkeley St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5l-56-positive_2400

More sculptures with two young stone ladies pretending to hold up a porch in Berkeley St. It looks a rather boring job. But although both seem to be scratching their heads they don’t appear to be putting a great deal of effort into it.

Ukrainian RC Cathedral, Duke St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5m-24-positive_2400

Whenever I see this building it amazes me that this gaudy and extravagant edifice was built as a Congregational Church, the King’s Weighouse Church, built in 1889-91 to the designs of Alfred Waterhouse, better known for his Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Congregationalists are Puritans, tracing their heritage back to the Brownists and the London Underground Church of the 1560s. Rejecting the ecclesiastical trappings at the centre of the Anglican Church – cathedrals, bishops, vestments, formal liturgies, priests, the sign of the cross and more – they espoused a simple austere faith based on the priesthood of all believers.

Of course over the years there was some back-tracking. But most Congregational church buildings remained suitable austere, often with at least a hint of the Classical – and some did it very finely but without great ornament. Sadly their practices deteriorated to the extent of allowing church choirs, though these consisted of adult members who considered they could sing, and organs. But as someone raised in the tradition (though no longer involved) I still fine the ornate nature of this building surprising.

Perhaps it was becuase the King’s Weighouse came from an older – and Royal tradition, tracing its ancestry back to Queen Matilda’s ‘Free Chapel’ at the Tower of London, founded by her in 1148 and not subject to the rule of any bishop. When the 1662 Act of Uniformity made the Book of Common Prayer and other aspects of Anglican practice compulsory almost the entire congregation left and shortly after began to worship as an independent congregation in an ancient building on Cornhill where foreign goods coming into London were weighed – the King’s Weigh House. They kept the name when they built their own chapel where Monument station now is, and later in other buildings, bringing it to Mayfair where they combined with a congregation already on this site and then built a new church.

Perhaps it was the influence of this building which in the 1920s led the church, then led by Rev Dr W. E. Orchard to moving towards Rome and developing what became known as ‘Free Catholicism’. The church never really recovered from wartime requisition and bomb damage and closed in the 1950s. Since June 1968  it has been the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of he Holy Family of Exile, which seems a far more suitable use for the building. You can read more about it on the Cathedral web site, from which much of the above comes.

Air St, Piccadilly, Westminster, 1987 87-5m-33-positive_2400

In Air Street we could almost be inside a cathedral. The rebuilding of the area around Piccadilly Circus was a subject of various proposals, plans and debates from around 1886 until 1928 which you can read in some detail in British History Online and possibly make more of than me. It involved many of the UK’s leading architects of the era, including Richard Norman Shaw and Sir Reginald Blomfield. I think that this section was built to Blomfield’s designs in 1923-8, but by that point in the text my eyes were fully glazed.

Regent St, Westminster, 1987 87-5m-34-positive_2400

In Regent St I was faced with the problem of photographing something which I find rather bland and boring – like most of the more monumental architecture of that period.

I found another curve to go with the two of the street, but I think it is no longer there – and many other details of the shops etc have changed. Bus Stop C is still there, but no longer served by Routemasters.

Christ Church, Cosway St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-5m-36-positive_2400

Christ Church in Cosway street, Marylebone was no longer a church when I took this picture having been made redundant in 1978 and converted into offices. This Grade II* church was built in 1824-5 by Thomas Hardwick and his son Philip Hardwick, one of the more interesting of the many cut-price Commissioner’s Churches built from 1820-1850 to cope with the rapid expansion of the urban population.

Despite the appearance it is a largely brick building with stone dressing. It was altered in 1887 by Sir A W Blomfield but I think this did not affect the portico or tower, a rather unusual construction, “3-stage tower with square Ionic peristyle with cylindrical core rising into octagonal cupola with volutes.”

More on page 4 of my album 1987 London Photos.


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.


Mainly Marylebone

Sunday, August 23rd, 2020
The Evangelical Library, Chiltern St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-5e-16-positive_2400

The Evangelical Library on Chiltern St in Marylebone was built as a school for the Portman Chapel in 1859 by Christopher Eales with minor alterations in 1880 and was Grade II listed in 1994 as “an early surviving example of a church school in a city centre an early surviving example of a church school in a city centre”.

The Library began as the Beddington Free Grace Library, housed at first in sheds and later a brick building in Beddington, before moving to South Kensinton in 1945 and then here in 1948. It grew to contain around 80,000 books and periodicals relating to Protestant and Reformed Evangelical Christianity including many rare and valuable Puritan texts. Over the years the Grade II listed building deteriorated and the the costs of renovation to prevent damage to the volumes led to the library moving out in 2010 to cheaper premises in Bounds Green.

Meacher, Higgins & Thomas, Chemists, Crawford St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-5e-43-positive_2400

You can still see this shopfront of Meacher, Higgins & Thomas, established in 1814 as chemists in Crawford St, Marylebone, and it has changed little from when I took this picture, though it has a larger illuminated sign at right and those large glass containers of coloured water which marked out every dispensing chemist in my youth disappeared from the upper windows a few years ago.

Marble Arch, Westminster, 1987 87-5f-25-positive_2400

It was a warm day in May and the closely cropped grass by the fountains at Marble Arch seemed a good place to have a rest. I think I probably sat on a bench or wall to eat my sandwiches and afterwards probably made my way down the steps to the public toilets and then under the subway into Hyde Park. Both now gone.

Hertford House, Manchester Square, Marylebone, 1987 87-5f-53-positive_2400

Hertford House, Manchester Square, Marylebone. Hertford House was originally called Manchester House, as it was built in 1776-88 for the 4th Duke of Manchester who apparently wanted to live here for the duck shooting. Presumably he had exterminated them all by 1791 when it briefly became the Spanish Embassy, and then in 1797 it became the home of the 2nd Marquess of Hertford who held many grand parties there, including a Ball celebrating the defeat of Napoleon. Despite this in 1836 it was let to the French as their embassy until 1851.


Hertford House, Manchester Square, Marylebone, 1987 87-5f-55-positive_2400

The 4th Marquess of Hertford preferred to live in Paris, but used the house to store his art treasures, and when the Commune took over Paris briefly in 1871, his illegitimate son Richard Wallace moved back into the house and renamed it Hertford House. He had the house extended in all directions to fit in all the stuff he brought back with him, and what we see now, including the portico, is largely the result of these modifications by architect Thomas Ambler. After his death in 1890 the house was converted into a public museum, The Wallace Collection.

I visited it many years ago and found it a rather depressing experience, but the interior has recently undergone a considerable refurbishment and the experience may well be less oppressive.

Hinde House, Hinde St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-5f-65-positive_2400

Hinde St runs west out of Manchester Square and the impressive church at the right of this picture is Hinde Street Methodist Church. The first church was built here in 1807-10 but this was largely or wholly demolished and a new Wesleyan church, designed by James Weir, opened in 1887. It remains one of London’s leading Methodist Churches.

Hinde House is a block of expensive leasehold flats, where a two bed flat might cost you a million or two.

Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, Duke St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5g-11-positive_2400

Another place where I’ve often eaten my sandwich lunch in Central London is Brown Hart Gardens on Duke St in Mayfair. The extravagant building opposite this raised stone garden is the former Kings Weigh House Chapel by Alfred Waterhouse, built 1888-91 as a Congregational Church. It is a far cry from the more restrained and often classical church buildings I associate with this non-Conformist denomination. Congregational Churches in the past were staunchly independent, their life ruled by the decisions of the members, reached always by consensus, and I think most that I’ve been familiar with would be far too proud of their Puritan origins to have considered such a design. It seems to me very much more suited to its current use as London’s Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral.

Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5g-24-positive_2400

Brown Hart Gardens started life as a real garden between large blocks of working-class dwellings built by The Improved Industrial Dwellings Company in 1886-7, Balderton Buildings and Chesham Building. These were taken over by the Peabody Trust in the 1970s. On Chesham Building is a plaque to the first Duke of Westminster Hugh Lupus, recording that through these and other buildings he provided accommodation for “nearly 4000 persons of the working class’ and naming him “The Friend and Benefactor of His Poorer Brethren”.

The land was a part of the Grosvenor Estate, and the buildings were part of an extensive slum clearance programme in the area. The Duke of Westminster insisted on a garden being created between the two streets of flats, then called Brown St and Hart St, and this was created in 1991.

It didn’t last long. In 1902 the site became an electricity sub-station, and this was built with domed pavillions at each end and completed in 1905. The Duke of Westminster insisted that a paved ‘Italian Garden’ be provided for local residents to compensate for the loss of the former garden, and this remained open to the public until shortly after I took these pictures in May 1987. The London Electricity Board then closed the area. It was refurbished from 2007 on and reopened to the public in 2013, with a cafe around the pavilion at the west end.

You can see more pictures on Page 4 of 1987 London Photos


More Marylebone 1987

Thursday, August 20th, 2020
Marylebone Station, Marylebone, London, 1987 87-5d-36-positive_2400
Marylebone Station

I suppose for many people Marylebone is the name of a station (though some will connect it more with its cricket club.) The station was the last London terminus to be built, opened in 1899 and never completed, with only four platforms of eight ever built. It lost most of its express services in 1960 and was only saved from closure and demolition by a thriving commuter service from Aylesbury. I think the train here must be one of those used on that route. Marylebone provided one of the few successes of the privatisation of British Rail, generally a triumph of dogma over sense, with the setting up in 1996 of Chiltern Railways. Among other services they provide a pleasant route to stations to Birmingham with comfortable trains and some very cheap tickets, part of the old ‘Great Central’ Network which could probably have been revived much more sensibly and at far lower cost than the ridiculous HS2 project.

Regents Canal, Maida Hill Tunnel entrance, Lisson Grove, Westminister, 1987 87-4d-21-positive_2400

I had wrongly captioned this image earlier, thinking it showed the mouth of the Maida Hill tunnel, but although it was taken very close to there it is actually looking away from it, and the black hole at the end of the water is the bridge under Lisson Grove. The tunnel is hidden from my view here, some way down and a few yards to the right of where I was standing.

Entrance, Maida Hill Tunnel, Regent's Canal, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1977 87-5c-41-positive_2400

I went down the steps leading to the canal towpath and took a picture of a boat entering the tunnel. The previous image shows the top of the structure crossing the canal over the mouth of the tunnel which carries electrical cables from the nearby Grove Road power station in St. John’s Wood which closed in 1969 – with the site now housing two major National Grid sub-stations.

There is no towpath in the 249m long tunnel, which is only wide enough for a single narrow boat; boats have to wait at the entrance until the tunnel is clear.

Regent's Canal, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1977 87-5c-54-positive_2400

Here you see the canal under the cable bridge.

CEGB,  Lodge Rd, St John's Wood, Westminster, 1987 87-5c-45-positive_2400

And this is the long wall of the power station site in Lodge Road. Although it looks very forbidding I’m told it was – at least in the old days – a very pleasant place to work. Coal used to come to the power station from a siding off the lines into Marylebone Station, though possibly at some time it also came by canal.

Volkswagen, Lodge Rd, St John's Wood, Westminster, 1987 87-5c-46-positive_2400

The Volkswagen workshops were opposite, and a little further west on the south side of the canal were the works of the confusingly named Thames Bank Iron Company, Iron Founders and Heating Engineers who made radiators and other heating equipment, and, according to their lorry parked in front of the building next to some pipes, Drainage Systems.

Thames Bank Iron Company, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1977 87-5c-43-positive_2400

The pictures show a rather different side of Marylebone – and indeed London – than we now normally think of. They are a stone’s throw from the leafy streets of St John’s Wood with its billionaire oligarchs and from Lords Cricket Ground. But until a few years before I made these pictures, London was very much a manufacturing city. Things had been changing for some years, but it was Thatcher that really put the boot in, moving the country away from manufacturing and into services. And this de-industrialisation was one of the themes behind my pictures of a post-industrial London.

More pictures on page 4 of my 1987 London Photos.


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.

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


Another side of Marylebone

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020
Paddington Green, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-3b-15-positive_2400
Paddington Green, Paddington, Westminster, 1987

There is another side to Marylebone, particularly to the north of the Marylebone Road, around Lisson Grove and Edgware Road. The trees are still there on the Green, and I think my tilted camera was an attempt to maximise their effect. The tower blocks at right, Hall and Braithwaite Towers, both 22 stories were commissioned by Paddington Metropolitan Borough Council, more or less identical blocks by R A Jensen, completed in 1966 and still standing, each with 80 flats, but Paddington College, opened here in 1967 was replaced by a new building for what is now City of Westminster College in 2011.

Ralfe Electronics, Transept St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3c-42-positive_2400
Ralfe Electronics, Transept St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

Ralfe Electronics was indeed ‘The “Famous House” for Electronic Components‘ and a company of that name still exists, but is now in Watford. They were at 10 Chapel St, on the corner of Transept St, just a few yards from Edgware Rd (District) line station. Electronics geeks used to come from all over the country, if not the world, to shop here.

Bookmakers, Crawford Place, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-3c-15-positive_2400
Bookmakers, Crawford Place, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-3c-15-positive_2400
The Christian Union Almshouses, Crawford Place, Paddington, Westminster, 1987  87-3c-26-positive_2400
The Christian Union Almshouses, Crawford Place, Paddington, Westminster, 1987

The bookmakers was in Crawford Place, a short street off the Edgware Road in the rather plusher area south of the Marylebone Rd, close to the Christian Union Almshouses. This building is still there, and in very much better condition. Built as a small hospital for the elderly and inform in 1899 it was converted into a dozen self-contained flats a few years after I took this picture. It still provides housing “for older or retired people in housing need, who are of the Christian faith“, particularly those “who live in, or have a strong local connection to the Boroughs of Westminster, Camden, or Kensington & Chelsea.

Ken's Junk Shop, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987 87-3b-21-positive_2400
Ken’s Junk Shop, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987
87-3b-36-positive_2400
Lisson Grove Cottages, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987

The date on the houses in this small street off Lisson Grove is 1855, and they were Grade II listed a few months after I took this photograph. I think I was aware of these artisanal dwellings and Bell St from the drawing and writing of Geoffrey Fletcher – these cottages are drawn on p51 of his London Souvenirs (1973).

It was easy to walk past the entry to them without noticing, and I think it is now behind a locked gate.

Bookseller, Bell St, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987 87-3b-23-positive_2400
Bookseller, Bell St, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987

Bell St here now has a very different character, with most of the shops including this second-hand book dealer now converted to residential properties. Back in 1987 it was difficult to walk along this street without being diverted into browsing the extensive stock in search of a bargain, though these were hard to find.

The first Turkish Bath in London was opened in this street by Roger Evans in 1860, but the area was described at the time as being densely crowded with a population lower than the ‘decent poor’ on the east side of Lisson Grove, with Bell St “the main stream of a low colony, with many tributary channels.”

Stirling & Sons, Bell St, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987 87-3b-12-positive_2400
Stirling & Sons, Bell St, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987

One of my favourite pictures from this area shows the street and pavement outside Stirlings at 54 Bell St, a junk and scrap metal dealer with an extensive range and whose premises appear to need scaffolding. But it is the group of people in the doorway that provide much of the interest, as well as their backdrop.

Numbers on the street now go direct from 52 to 56, with no 54. The space of this shop and that on its right are now the Lisson Gallery, built to the designs of Tony Fretton shortly after I made this picture. The concrete pillar at left, part of a run-down single-storey building, continued to deteriorate until around 2010 when it was refurbished and in 2015 had two storeys added in a late Victorian manner that could be original.

More pictures of various areas of London in 1987.


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.


Marylebone Doors

Friday, August 7th, 2020
Duchess St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3j-65-positive_2400
Duchess St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

This gem of a building is just around a corner from the BBC on a few yards down Duchess St, on the opposite side of Portland Place was built to the plans of Robert Adam in 1769-71 as the stable-coach house to Chandos House, Queen Anne Street, and was altered – according to its Grade II listing text “quite sympathetically” around 1924 by Arthur Bolton. The text states it is now part of the British Medical Association.

The lean of the lamp post emphasises the rectangular formality and symmetry of the building as does the man walking past. I’m not sure if I would have preferred not to have a taxi speeding into the picture. The 35mm shift lens enabled me to keep the verticals upright and get the whole building in frame from the opposite side of a fairly narrow street.

Mansfield St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3j-56-positive_2400
Mansfield St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

Just around the corner from the previous picture is this magnificent fence with its baskets of flowers. I felt the out of focus bush made a suitable contrast between natural vegetation and its representation.

I think this is the garden screen mentioned in the listing text and probably like the house behind dates from 1914.

Hinde St,  Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3j-22-positive_2400
Hinde St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

Doorways are one of the most important architectural features of buildings, and this one very clearly gives an impression of the luxury of the flats inside Hinde House.

Hinde St,  Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3j-21-positive_2400
Hinde St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

A similar doorway next door (London streets sometime number in odd ways) is a little plainer, perhaps suggesting that inside are flats for less important people. Though it is certainly not a ‘poor door’ leading to any social housing in the block.

The Royal Society of Medicine, Henrietta Place, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3i-52-positive_2400
The Royal Society of Medicine, Henrietta Place, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

My theme of doors continues with the grand entrance for The Royal Society of Medicine in Henrietta Place.

Marylebone Lane, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3i-42-positive_2400

And another door is a prominent feature in this building with its series of semi-circles on Marylebone Lane. It’s a building with the window at the centre of the picture set a little lower, so it seems to be winking at us.

Again a taxi has crept in. There are far too many of them, often simply cruising around empty in the centre of London, a significant cause of both pollution and congestion. They are slowly changing from diesel to electric which will help with the pollution, but wont ease the congestion. Ridiculously they are exempted from the congestion charge while minicabs have to pay it. We don’t need ‘ply for hire’ when cabs can be summoned by smartphone and its time for change.

Rimmel, Wigmore St, Marylebone,, Westminster, 1987 87-3i-25-positive_2400
Rimmel, Wigmore St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

There are a few more pictures of doors in the area in this section of my 1987 London Photos, but this at Bessborough House on the corner of Cavendish Square is perhaps the most impressive. According to the Grade II listing the house dates from 1770s with c.1800 and early C20 alterations. About this entrance it states “Blind return to Wigmore Street has neo-Adam style pilaster treatment to ground floor with shallow relief modelled “graces” between pairs of pilasters under entablature – all in stucco.”

When I took this picture it had the circular message at left that it was the premises of Rimmel, the cosmetics house founded in 1834 by French-born perfume chemist Eugène Rimmel and often known as Rimmel London. He put on sale a product for darkening eyelashes using the newly invented petroleum jelly and black pigment, marketed under the name mascara which was hugely successful both in the UK and internationally – and mascara is still called ‘Rimmel’ in a number of languages.

More pictures on page 3 of 1987 London Photos.


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.