It was a perfect day to walk round Oxford. The colleges were closed. The streets were empty. We walked down Brasenose Lane, past the walled gardens of Exeter. The sun was shining on the Radcliffe Camera and the west wall of the Codrington, with Hawksmoor’s gothic towers for All Souls beyond:-
We were given a private tour of Lincoln College:-
Just north of the Roman Road is a modernist estate with characteristic patterned façades, punctuated by green blocks, and with buildings originally designed on a figure-of-eight street. It turns out that it is a late work by Berthold Lubetkin, working in partnership with Francis Skinner and Douglas Bailey, both of whom had also worked for Tecton. Commissioned by the borough of Bethnal Green in 1955 after Lubetkin had retreated to a farm in Gloucestershire, compulsory purchase took place in 1957 and the first blocks opened in 1963:
The pagoda in Victoria Park was originally designed for a Chinese exhibition in Hyde Park in 1842, was moved to the newly laid out Victoria Park in 1847, had a bridge designed for it by James Pennethorne, decayed in the war, was demolished in the 1950s, and only recreated recently in the renovations funded by the HLF:-
Mile End Park was beautifully frosty this morning with Canary Wharf as always shimmering in the distance, Piers Gough’s yellow bridge gleaming, and the canal boats lined up by the towpath.
This is the Yellow Bridge:-
This is the view of Canary Wharf:-
In honour of Otto’s recently published text on the history of the Barbican, we went to see the exhibition of architectural photography and the accompanying small display about Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. Coming out of the exhibition, the architecture of the Barbican looked straight out of one of the displays:-
Three Mills is an unexpected piece of industrial archaeology, next to Tesco in Bromley-by-Bow. As mills, they were first established before the dissolution of the monasteries to supply grain to the bakeries of Stratford-atte-Bow. They were later acquired in 1727 by three Huguenots to distil gin. The date 1776 survives on the façade when the mill was rebuilt for Daniel Bisson, one of the three, but most of the current structure – where it is not a facsimile by Julian Harrap – dates to 1802:-
On the recommendation of Otto, I walked out to Joseph Bazalgette’s Abbey Mills Pumping Station by way of the Green Lane which stretches all the way from Victoria Park to Plaistow.
It’s quite a romantic walk, beginning across a bridge over the Hertford Union canal:-
St. George-in-the-East is the Hawksmoor church I know least well, set back as it is above the Highway, slightly more mannered and complex than St. Anne’s, Limehouse, less monumental than Christ Church, Spitalfields.
This is the west tower with its octagonal finials: