Cutler’s Hall

I had never seen Cutler’s Hall, just north of Paternoster Square, designed by T. Tayler Smith and with a terracotta frieze by Benjamin Creswick, a young knife-grinder who turned sculptor under the tutelage of Ruskin and died in 1946, having been Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Birmingham Society.   The frieze shows the craft processes of the cutler – forging, grinding, hafting and finishing:-

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30, Old Bailey

Since it was such a beautiful morning, I took a slight detour to see 30, Old Bailey, a recent building by Sauerbruch Hutton on a site just west of Paternoster Square, where the scale of the building is masked by the use of coloured fins:-

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Regent’s Canal

I walked down the Regent’s Canal and was struck by how hugely beneficial it is that, whether because of poverty or ecology, Tower Hamlets has allowed the verges of Mile End Park to run wild, so that Canary Wharf pops up out of an overgrown meadow:-

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14-16 Cockspur Street

Yesterday, I was walking down Cockspur Street and noticed the astonishingly elaborate metalwork decoration above one of the doors of the Brazilian Embassy.   It was done by Ernest Gillick, an ARA who did much 1920’s commemorative sculpture, including a medal for the Royal Academy Schools.   The building, designed by Arthur Bolton in 1906, had been taken over by P&O from the Hamburg America Line in 1918 as reparation for the first world war.   P&O then commissioned Gillick to do grand statues of Britain and the Orient – Britain as a Roman centurion with a putto holding a trident on the right, the Orient as a Nubian slave – and the company motto QUIS SEPARABIT in between:-

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York Watergate (1)

It was such a beautiful, crisp early summer morning that I walked from Blackfriars to Piccadilly by way of Embankment Gardens.   I realised that I have never known the history of the York Watergate, a curiously unobtrusive memento of Caroline London half buried in the gardens close to Charing Cross station.   It marks where the banks of the Thames originally were before the construction of Victoria Embankment by Joseph Bazalgette and was the entrance to the original York House, one of the great Thames-side mansions, called York House because it was owned by the Archbishops of York.   York House was acquired by the Duke of Buckingham in 1624 and the Watergate was added two years later.   Its attribution is disputed, but a list made by Nicholas Stone’s nephew Charles Stoakes of ‘Some of the Eminent Workes’ undertaken by his uncle includes ‘The water Gate att Yorke House (which) hee desined and built’.   This seems perfectly plausible as an attribution, as it looks more like the work of a sophisticated artisan following continental models than a work by Inigo Jones himself:-

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Ingenia Building

I started the day at a breakfast meeting in the Ingenia Building in Broadwick Street in the heart of Soho.   It was designed by Richard Rogers to allow the creative team at Ford Motors to benefit from a total immersion in the life of the city:-

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