I walked back over Albert Bridge, an amazing piece of Victorian engineering, connecting the residential parts of Battersea to Chelsea. It was originally designed by Rowland Mason Ordish in 1873 and was then reinforced a decade later by Joseph Bazalgette. Soldiers must break step as they cross it:-
I was asked to lunch in the DoodleBar in Battersea, a part of town I scarcely know: the old Ransome’s Dock with Norman Foster’s office on the river behind:-
This year’s Whitebait Dinner was held at Trinity Buoy Wharf, far downriver beyond the baroque magnificence of the Royal Naval College, past the Trafalgar Tavern where the Academy Club first held its whitebait dinners on the first Monday in May, past the curious mixture of new development and old style industrial dereliction on Greenwich Reach, past the Dome and Richard Wilson’s A Slice of Reality, underneath Wilkinson Eyre’s grand cable car, until we docked alongside the Trinity Buoy Wharf, with its lighthouse built in 1864 and its mixture of industrial architecture, shipping containers and art installations.
The Dome from the river:-
We made a short excursion this morning to see the Pullens Yard Open Studios, a bit of unexpected late nineteenth-century urban development just south of the Elephant and Castle where James Pullen, a local builder, created an estate of 12 blocks intersected by workshop yards, now occupied by a miscellaneous collection of artists, writers, clothesmakers and a florist, serviced by the Electric Elephant Cafe:-
I was loitering outside the doors of the V&A waiting for them to open and remembering Roy Strong saying that whenever he walked back to the V&A after lunch he thought of Elgar: it’s that strain of slightly overblown pomp and nationalism. Anyway it looked as magnificent as ever in the morning sun:-
I failed to post photographs of St. Chad’s, a large barn-like church designed by James Brooks on a street just behind Haggerston School. Brooks became a student in the Royal Academy Schools, and set up in practice as an architect in Bloomsbury Square. In 1862, he moved to a house he designed for himself in Clissold Crescent in Stoke Newington. Commissions for east end churches, including St. Chad’s, came from fellow parishioners at St. Matthias’s, Stoke Newington who established the Haggerston Church Scheme. St. Chad’s is a good example of Brooks’s austere and muscular red brick Gothic, entirely appropriate to bring Anglo-Catholicism to Haggerston:-
We went to a preview of a television film that Margy Kinmonth has made with Eddie Redmayne on the impact of the first world war on art. He comes across incredibly well – knowledgeable and unself-important, with an interest in the subject based on reading art history at Cambridge. The Royal Academy appears because of the memorial outside to the Artists’ Rifle Brigade and because the female students in the RA Schools were employed to paint the dazzle camouflage on the ships employing the pictorial devices of cubism. We were so inspired by the number of pictures shown in the storerooms of the Imperial War Museum – works by Nevinson, Bomberg, Sargent and both Nashes – that we set off to see them.
We found the dazzle boats which were apparently found in a store in Duxford:-