147, Oxford Street

One of the consequences of taking photographs for this blog and paying more attention to the detail of urban fabric is that I have become aware how much fine, but neglected, late nineteenth-century terracotta decoration there is in London.   Tonight I walked down from Simon Lewty’s exhibition in Eastcastle Street and was confronted by a building on Oxford Street which was neglected, but with interesting detailing.   As ever, I checked in Pevsner to find out about its history and discovered it is described somewhat dismissively as nothing more than ‘a Jacobean phantasmagoria’.   I have discovered a little bit more about it from its listing.   Designed by Gordon, Lowther and Gunton, it was constructed in 1897 for a firm of chemists called John Robbins.   They vacated it the following year and it was taken over by the Wholesale Co-operative Wine Association.   At least, English Heritage aporeciates its Jacobethan strapwork decoration:-

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6 thoughts on “147, Oxford Street

  1. I have often wondered where you source your seemingly limitless knowledge of London’s features and buildings (which continue to serve as a welcome reminder of the value of observation). Now I know that Pevsner and EH’s listing register are among your sources. Any others you can reveal?

    • No, they’re the standard ones. Google is a wonderful resource, as is Wikipedia (and its footnotes). And occasionally, if these fail, the London Encyclopedia. I don’t pretend to specialist knowledge, apart from being trained, long ago, as an architectural historian. Charles

  2. Although he is invaluable, Pevsner’s blind spots and prejudices are striking, and he is sometimes factually wrong. Your blog, when finally published, is going to be an excellent and much needed addition to him and English Heritage.

    • It’s funny that, in going round London and using Pevsner quite intensively, it is true that he is pretty prejudiced against ornament and decoration. Charles

      PS I am inching towards a publication. There will be a blog about it if and when it’s confirmed.

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