Burlington Gardens

It’s a while since I’ve been on a tour of our building project in Burlington Gardens.   A lot has happened in the intervening two months.

The scaffolding is up:-

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Denmark Street

By chance, I found myself in the same neighbourhood tonight as last night because I went to see Eileen Cooper’s exhibition at Rook & Raven in Rathbone Place.   It was closed.   So, I took the opportunity of checking out how Denmark Street was faring under the strain of redevelopment.   I thought remarkably well:-

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London redevelopment

Whilst walking down Oxford Street earlier this evening, I spotted a hollow façade, propped up with nothing behind it, which struck me as an emblem of the volume and scale of the current reconstruction of London.   There is a lot of discussion of the huge number of new tower blocks (see the vigorous and sarcastic denunciation of Boris Johnson’s planning policy by Rowan Moore in the Observer last Sunday), but much less commentary that I am aware of about the amount of rebuilding which is going on at the moment.   Is it a boom ?  Are we about to have a crash ?  Aren’t these things cyclical ?

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Post Office Tower (3)

After years of paying no attention to the Post Office Tower, I keeping seeing it – an emblem of postwar optimism floating above the rooftops of central London like a visitor from outer space.   Tonight I spotted it down a side street off Oxford Street, looking ethereal:-

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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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Regent Street

I like seeing London from unexpected angles.   Today I was at a lunchtime meeting in an anonymous office block on Cavendish Square T.P. Bennett 1957) and looked out of the window to see Regent Street (originally called New Street) from above – John Nash’s noble intervention into the complex streetscape of the West End, connecting Regent’s Park to Carlton House and separating the sinks and stews of Soho from the rich residents of Mayfair:-

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River Thames

I have been reading Rowan Moore’s new book about London, Slow Burn City, which, like every book about London, includes a chapter about the role of the Thames and the grand transformation of its sewerage by Joseph Bazalgette.

On Friday, I looked down river towards the changing skyline of the City:-

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Today, as the towpath was covered in mist and the tide was turning, I saw the sun break out over Canary Wharf:-

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