65 Basinghall St EC2 from the bridge

This is a view from the bridge over Basinghall Street, looking at the back of 65 Basinghall Street.

65 Basinghall Street from the bridge, 11″ x 10″ in Sketchbook 9. 22 April 2021, 12:40pm

There is much of interest in this view. There are the wonderful arching shell-like structures of 65 Basinghall Street. This was built in 1966-7 to the designs of Richard Gilbert Scott1

Above the arches is an extraordinary building in the style of steam punk. In my drawing it was not possible to capture the magnificent complexity of all the pipes and railings and ventilators and intersecting walls.

This sky-level structure is on top of the Chartered Insurance Institute, whose hall is on the right of my drawing.

Then there is the mystery of the missing city crest. Above a door at street level is an obvious blank space, where the crest of the City of London has evidently been removed. I wonder why.

As I was drawing, there was the sound of hooves, and two police horses went by under the bridge. See the marvellous wavy shadows in the photo!

I have walked over this bridge many times, but only recently have I spotted the little balcony, half way up the side of the building.

It is possible to get to this balcony. You just go around the building and up some stairs. It looks like part of a public walkway which has now been cut off. But the early pictures of the building show this balcony just as it is today.

I will write more about 65 Basinghall Street in my next post. It was originally a Magistrates Court (with cells!), an exhibition hall and offices.

Here are photos of the locality, and work in progress on the drawing.

This drawing took about 1½ hours on location. I put some finishing touches at my desk. The colours are Phthalo Blue Turquoise, Lavender, Perylene Maroon, and Mars Yellow. There is some Green Gold on the tree.

1 Richard Gilbert-Scott was the fourth in a dynasty of architects. He also designed the Guildhall Art Gallery and Guildhall Library.

From father to son here is the line:

  • George Gilbert-Scott (1811-78) – Albert Memorial, Midland Hotel, St Pancras Station
  • George Gilbert-Scott Junior (1839-1897)- St Agnes Kennington, [In 1884, he was declared ‘of unsound mind’]
  • Giles Gilbert-Scott (1880-1960) – Guildhall North Wing, Battersea Power Station, Telephone Kiosk, LMH Chapel, Bankside Power Station (=Tate Modern), Cambridge University Library, Cropthorne Court (Maida Vale)
  • Richard Gilbert-Scott (1923-2017) Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Library, 65 Basinghall Street.

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