Crossrail site from Moorgate

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I wanted to draw this view before it disappeared. Today, Moorgate was closed completely to motor traffic, so it was calm to draw, though windy and cold. It rained, as you see from the droplets on City Point.

 The Globe Pub, 19th Century, is on the left. The small square notice says:

“In a House on this site
the Swan and Hoop
John Keats
Poet
was born 1795”

The City Point tower is in the background. This was built in 1967, and refurbished in 2000, when the curved projection at the top was added. The designer for the refurbishment was Sheppard Robson. Here’s what the Citypoint website says. 

“The building’s spectacular entrance canopy is approached through the public square, leading to two dramatic twelve storey cathedral-like galleria, offering an inviting and exhilarating experience for both occupiers and visitors alike. The two gallerias allow natural daylight to penetrate into the heart of the development, creating a feeling of scale and corporate arrival.” – http://www.citypoint.org.uk/

The building next to the Globe pub is propped up with steel girders. The “Jones Bootmakers” sign hangs on. Cables pour out of one of the windows.

This took about 1½ hours, pen and ink on location. I coloured it later, at home. On the way back the wind blew. Outside the Barbican Centre, the wind caught the hair of a woman on a mobile phone and blew it straight upright. She had very long blonde hair, so she looked amazing, like someone in a cartoon dropping down a lift shaft.

Here’s the black and white sketch:

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Hide Tower from Vincent Square

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This 1961 tower block contrasts with the 19th Century buildings of Vincent Square. It is in SW1, Westminster, near Tate Modern.

An “early use” of pre-cast concrete according to Pevsner(1), who also tells me that the architect was Stillman and Eastwick Field for Westminster City Council. I went and looked through the “long bands of fenestration” at the “Brutalist exposed staircase”.

The Hide Tower Resident Management Board is composed of, and run by, residents, according to their website.
They say:

We are responsible for providing the residents of Hide Tower with these services

day-to-day repairs
cleaning
letting flats
mutual exchanges
tenancy checks
management transfers
admitting or denying right to buy applications
parking
emergencies
complaints
general enquiries

CityWest Homes is responsible for

collecting rent from tenants
taking legal action against residents, if necessary

From “A letter from Pimlco”  (sic) website, written by people who live in the tower, I learned that:

Approximately a quarter of the accommodation is privately rented; the other half is rented from Westminster City Council and the remainder is owner occupied.

I thought it was interesting that the residents themselves, via their Board, are responsible for “admitting or denying right-to-buy” applications. I wonder what their criteria are.

While I drew this picture, there was continual drilling coming from the basement of the house to the right of the picture. They were evidently excavating the basement. Piles of rubble were in the front garden. As I walked past, I smelt pine sawdust.

Behind me were cheers and shouts of encouragement to players of a team game on the grass of Vincent Square. Young people in purple and grey uniforms walked past. One young man with a rucksack said to me, “It’s really great, what you are drawing, really great”. That was encouraging.

An older man stopped, and said “You need a stall”. I thought that’s what he said. I wondered if he meant I should set up a stall, selling pictures from the railings of Vincent Square, as they do along the railings of Kensington Gardens. I said nothing, and must have looked baffled. He repeated his assertion, and then I realised he had said “stool”, “you need a stool to sit on”. I have in fact wondered about a stool. And I do have my suitcase, which I can sit on, though it is very low. I pointed out that if I sat down, the parked car would obstruct my view. “Trust a woman’s logic!” pronounced the man. I thought that was anyone’s logic. No-one, man or woman, could see through the very opaque Citroen. But I said nothing.  He waved and took off with a grin, as though he had got the better of me, which perhaps he had. I was puzzling that, for several minutes.

Then I went and had a mug of tea in the Regency Café, 90p.

(1) Nikolaus Pevsner and Simon Bradley, “The Buildings of England: London 6, Westmenster”

The new Bridge across Wood Street

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The London Wall Place newsletter of 5th January 2017 said:

img_9675“We wish to advise that the operation to install the new footbridge across Wood Street was aborted on Wednesday 21st December due to technical issues with the alignment of the Macalloy suspension bars that connect the bridge deck structure to the pylon.

We are in the process of rectifying these issues and have agreed a new road closure with the City of London for the bridge installation, week commencing 6th February with a back up closure the following week.

The install of the stainless steel pylon on the 19th December was a success and this is ready to receive the bridge.”

“Macalloy” is the name of the manufacturer of the steel bars. They are based in Sheffield.

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Macalloy 460 Tension bar – image from Macalloy.com

The bridge was successfully installed on the 6th February.

I drew the picture sitting on my suitcase near the vehicle entrance to the St Giles area. A man came to open the nearby garage, which was crammed with builder’s equipment and paint pots. Later, a succession of well dressed middle-aged people came by, as though leaving a large event. They were all of a type, and spoke distantly with each other.

Afterwards, I walked underneath the bridge and looked at the junction between the bridge and the sloping walkway, on the right of the picture. This joint is interesting because the walkway slopes down, so, to join it perfectly, the bridge cannot be horizontal at this point. It looks as though the bridge twists slightly to accommodate this geometry, but it’s difficult to see at the moment. I have drawn the bridge as slightly rainbow-shaped, as that’s what it looked like, but the architect’s pictures in the newsletters show it as flat:

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Buildings on Cowper St EC2

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I liked the contrast between the warm, human-scale buildings in the foreground and the futuristic towers in the background.

At the back, the building with the curved side is “Bézier”, a residential development.

“Bézier Apartments were designed by TP Bennett and developed by the Tudorvale Properties Group in 2008, and completed in 2010”, according to http://www.baseps.co.uk

Its swanky entrance is on City Road, in between an “EAT” and a “pod”. These are both eating places. EAT is all upper-case, and “pod” is all lower-case. A “bézier” is a particular sort of mathementical curve, much used in computer graphics.

The brick building is the “Central Foundation Boys School”, Sixth Form Centre. I could hear the boys on their break for some of the time when I was drawing. It is a state school, as far as I can understand from their website, run by Islington. Founded 1866. Their website has an interesting feature: “Show My Homework”. You can look up your homework assignment by year and subject. No more excuses.

I drew this standing at the side of Tabernacle Street. A shiny black car drew up, with black tinted windows. The window scrolled down, so I could see the driver, who was also black. He asked me if I could direct him to 69 Tabernacle Street. I could not. None of the blocks round here have numbers. But I know the area. “What is it?” I asked.

“69 Tablernacle Street,” he said again.

“No,” I said, “what is at 69 Tabernacle Street?”

He turned round awkwardly, to his passenger, invisible in the back seat. A pause for an inaudible conversation.

“A fancy dress shop,” he informed me. But I still couldn’t direct them.

I can now see that they were looking for: Mad World Fancy Dress, “one of the UK’s largest stockists of Venetian masks”, amongst other things. It was just north of where I was standing, entrance in Singer Street. I wonder if they found it.

St Mary Aldermary, and Albert Buildings EC4

Drawn from outside the Pret on Queen St, about 1hr 30.

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The building in the centre is “Albert Buildings”, a thin triangular building on the corner of Cannon St and Queen Victoria St. It is incredibly complicated, with many pillars and arches and different window shapes.

Now it is inhabited by a number of small businesses. I saw a dental surgeon, Shoe Care, and “Traditional Pure” lebanese food. It is now managed by “First Base” as “Cannon St Serviced Office and Business Centre” who describe it as a “listed turn of the century building with quirky Victorian features”. They don’t specify which turn of which century, but evidently it’s not the most recent one.

Pevsner says:
“Albert Buildings, the grandest surviving 1870s block, built 1871. By F.J. Ward, whose office was here. Arcaded Gothic, mixed English and Early French, with a remarkable assortment of window heads”
The Buildings of England, London 1 by Simon Bradley and Nicholas Pevsner

St Mary Aldermary is one of my favourite London churches. Inside is the friendly Host Café, and welcoming tables and chairs, and a stunning fan-vaulted ceiling. The church is on Bow Lane, near Watling Street, and the current building was built after the fire, in 1666.

 

Henry Moore: Mother and Child


Sketch in pencil at Two Temple Place, Sussex Modernisn exhibition, about 40 minutes. 

Statue by Henry Moore in Green Horton Stone, 1936-7, now in Leeds Museums and Galleries.  It was originally in the garden of Farley Farm, Sussex. Curation states: 

This symbol of enduring fertility attracted protests from his neighbours’

From Old Fish Street Hill EC4

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I was keen to draw this view of St Paul’s before it vanished behind the new building on 2-4 Cannon Street.

“PLP’s scheme, for global property firm Pembroke Real Estate, will replace a 1959 modernist office building by Theo Birks called Scandinavian House. The north facade, facing the cathedral, is the most orthogonally formal, with red sandstone cladding and a 3m window grid with anodised aluminium frames.
The south-western elevation tapers to create a public garden which will provide a new home for Michael Ayrton’s sculpture of Icarus.”
From Building Design Online  22 September 2014 | By Elizabeth Hopkirk

While I was drawing this, the traffic marshall of the building site came by, looked up at St Paul’s, and remarked that it was a “fine building”.

img_9519It was extremely cold, about 2degreesC, and I was wrapped up in my Loden coat and furry boots. You’ll notice I invented a new watercolour technique. It’s called “greasy fingers marbling effect”. See the extreme right of the picture. Before I went out, I put a LOT of hand cream on my hands, because this cold weather makes my skin crack. But then after I had been gripping the sketchbook, I found the paint didn’t stick. But it’s quite a good effect, I think.

I managed to complete the pen and ink drawing, and do most of the watercolour before the cold got to me. Then I retreated to the warmth of the Wren café in St Nicholas Cole Abbey Church.

There I met Amy Marsh @harshmissmarsh who posted my work-in-progress on her Instagram. In the café I painted the red cranes.

Coffee and a small and delicious Marmalade Cake, £6. They were just bringing out some delicious-looking lunchtime food. But I had places to go and work to do, so I exerted willpower and moved on.