Bank of England – Tivoli Corner

I took advantage of the road closures for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee to sketch this corner of the Bank of England.

Bank of England – Tivoli Corner, 2nd June 2022, in Sketchbook 12
Temple of Vesta, Tivoli, modern photo from Wikipedia Commons on this link

This is the North-West corner of the Bank of England. The perimeter wall was designed by John Soane in 1805. The design of the corner was inspired by the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli.

The John Soane museum has a marvellous digital archive with detailed notes on his work on the Bank of England. John Soane was surveyor to the Bank of England for 45 years, from 1788 to 1833. During that time the role of the Bank of England changed from a small bank helping out the government with the national debt, to a significant national institution, printing money and managing Income Tax. The Soane museum archive notes:

Since its foundation in 1694, the Bank of England had financed Britain’s wars and managed the national debt. War, therefore, resulted in more business for the Bank, demanding extensive alterations and additions. Soane’s vast building work was largely the result of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars that lasted from 1793 to 1815. More space was required as the staff doubled during this time and the bank note printing process was carried out on site. In addition, new offices were required as the Bank’s responsibilities and roles changed, such as a place for managing the newly instituted Income Tax of 1799.

Madeleine Helmer, 2010-2011, on this link © Sir John Soane’s Museum, London

Here is a view from the North-West in 1807, showing the John Soane Bank of England as constructed. You see the Tivoli Corner, which is there today.

North face of the Bank of England, exhibited in the Royal Academy 1809, by “John Soane Archt 1807” Photo: © Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, http://collections.soane.org/OBJECT3718

John Soane’s 3-storey building was demolished to make way for a new 7-storey building constructed 1925-39 by Herbert Baker. Soane’s perimeter wall was retained, but everything else was replaced. It is Herbert Baker who is responsible for that dome in my drawing, and also for the marvellous walk-through passage at this corner. You can see the North side of the passage in my drawing. For more photos of this passage and a description, I recommend the wonderful “IanVisits” site. Ian visits Tivoli Corner on this link. Or go there! And look up.

I took advantage of the road closure to sketch standing in Moorgate.

As I sketched, people walked past either side of me, in extraordinary hats. Everyone was cheerful and the sun shone. I enjoyed chatting to the various people who stopped to examine my drawing or comment on the view.

Pen, before the colour went on

You see the traffic bollards in the drawing. Those were patiently removed by a security guard every time a police vehicle approached, and equally patiently replaced. This must have happened about six times in the hour and half I was there.

Site progress drawings 1798. Joseph Michael Gandy (1771-1843) Photo: © Sir John Soane’s Museum, London SM (58) volume 69/14

The John Soane archive notes on Tivoli corner are on this link. This site has some lively “work-in-progress” drawings of the construction of the Bank of England. Here is one. See how modern it looks! It was drawn in 1798, the same year that Nelson fought Napoleon in the Battle of the Nile.

Colechurch House – monoprint

Colechurch House on the South Bank is a brutalist office block. It makes a good subject for a packaging print. Since it is a a 1960s block, I added a 1960s type shape in chine collé.

Colechurch House – monoprint and chine collé, paper size,15″ x 12″ Shoji Baku Japanese Paper

The chine collé paper is Khadi Lokta Coloured saffron washi paper from Atlantis Art (ref: KPNI SA). The background paper for this print is Shoji Baku paper from Shepherds Bookbinders (ref: LRG 1859). The ink is Charbonnel traditional etching ink. I printed this on the Henderson Press at East London Printmakers. Here is a video of the “print reveal” (17seconds, silent):

Thanks to Evonne at East London Printmakers for filming me!

Here are the other 4 prints from this plate. They are all on a different, but similar paper: Tosa Washi from Shepherds, (ref: J632180)

The print was based on a sketch of Colechurch House last year. See this post:

Colechurch House, London Bridge SE1

Aficionados of 20th Century brutalist architecture need to hasten to appreciate Colechurch House. It is due for demolition and redevelopment. This month’s post in the marvellous “London Inheritance” site informed me about the planning application, so I rushed over there to draw a picture before the building became swathed in plastic. I drew this picture looking over the railings from London Bridge. This position commanded an excellent view of Colechurch House, but … Continue reading “Colechurch House, London Bridge SE1”

Here are more examples of the technique using a plate made from packaging material. I have written about the process here.

Shakespeare Tower, Barbican EC2

Here is a view of the east face of Shakespeare Tower, Barbican, from Defoe Place, near the Barbican Centre. You can see the main entrance to the tower. On the right is Cromwell Highwalk, and Ben Jonson House beyond. On the left you can just see the stairs that go down into Defoe Place from the highwalk.

Shakespeare Tower from Defoe Place, 12″ x 9″ [commission]
Preliminary sketch

I wanted this picture to give an impression of what it is like to walk around the Barbican. There are different depths, and sharp contrasts of dark and light, and large open spaces. Workers from the library looked out of their windows, saw me drawing and came to look at the picture. This was drawn in February, but still there were some flowers in the planters, even though this particular planter was in a shaded and windy place. The smell, however, was not of flowers but cigarette ends. People evidently use the area under the stairs as a smoking area, and drop their butts. So that’s the Barbican: people who talk to you, soaring towers, great perspective views, wide open spaces and a certain shabbiness around the edges.

Here is the pen-and-ink compared with the colour:

Before and after the colour went on

This was a commission. I am grateful to my client for the prompt to examine the Tower from this unusual angle. And also for sending me this photo of the framed watercolour:

Framed watercolour. Photo credit: NM

A collection of my drawings of the Barbican is here:

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Museum of London EC2 – monoprint

Here is an image of The Museum of London, in the south west corner of the Barbican:

Museum of London, packaging etching, paper size 21″ x 17″, on Shiramine Select Japanese paper.

The “plate” is made from a UHT milk carton. Here is the back of the used plate:

Back (unprinted) side of the plate.

Here is the front (print side) of the plate, before inking:

Front (print side) of the plate

To find out more about this technique, have a look at this page on my website (click link):

Print plates made of packaging

I have also sketched the Museum of London area:

The Museum of London EC2

From the highwalk on the Rotunda there is a really amazing view of the Museum of London and Bastion House. This whole view going to change radically, if the City of…

Read more…

Bastion House, London Wall

I hastened to draw the magnificent Bastion House, on London Wall. It is due for demolition. In the foreground you see the balcony and privacy screen of the flat in Andrewes,…

Read more…

The Museum of London EC2

From the highwalk on the Rotunda there is a really amazing view of the Museum of London and Bastion House. This whole view going to change radically, if the City of London plans are approved.

Museum of London from the Rotunda, 15″ x 8.5″ on Arches watercolour paper

The Museum of London is in the South West corner of the Barbican. It was designed by Philip Powell and Hidalgo Moya.

The Museum opened in 1976. The City of London plan to close it in December this year (2022), and then to demolish it, along with the surrounding highwalks and pedestrian bridges over London Wall.

The dark-coloured block in the background on the right is Bastion House. This 17 storey tower block was built to the designs of architects Powell & Moya between 1972 and 1977 as part of the Barbican development. It is on top of part of the Museum of London’s display space.

The City of London now plan to demolish it.

So if the plans go ahead, this view will no longer exist. I rushed to sketch it.

This drawing is in an aspect ratio new to me: 15″ x 8.5″ or 38cm x 22cm. I wanted to get the whole of the front of the museum in the picture.

Here is comparison of the pen and ink and the the colour versions:

With and without colour

The City of London plans for the replacement buildings are on this site: https://londonwallwest.co.uk/

Residents are organising their response via the Barbican Association and this site: https://www.londonwallbest.com/

Philip Powell and Geoffry Powell

The architecture practice which designed The Barbican is “Chamberlain, Powell and Bon”. This “Powell” is Geoffrey Powell and not the Philip Powell of the Museum of London. The architects involved in designing the Barbican were: Geoffry Powell, Peter “Joe” Chamberlin, Christoph Bon, and Charles Greenberg.

The architects who designed the Museum of London and Bastion House are Philip Powell and Hidalgo Moya of the architecture practice “Powell and Moya”.

Thank you to the reader who clarified this for me.

London Television Centre – monoprint

Here’s another “packaging” monoprint. This was made using an empty box of tissues.

London Television Centre, monoprint from packaging, image size 14″ x 10″ [Available]

This is a tower block on the South bank of the river Thames, seen from the North bank. That’s the river in the foreground.

Here is the “plate”, before printing:

I have sketched this tower block here:

It’s due for demolition. So using discarded packaging to make an image of this building seemed to be appropriate. The building, though made of concrete and steel, is yet ephemeral, like my fragile plate.

I made the print on “Gampi smooth” paper from Shepherds of London. This handmade paper is thin, translucent, and has small inclusions and imperfections as you see on this detail photo:

The sky in this part of London is never empty. There are always seagulls, falling leaves, windswept paper, aeroplanes, police helicopters. And rain.

The ink for this print is Charbonnel F66 Black traditional etching ink from Intaglio Printmakers. I made the print at East London Printmakers on the Henderson etching press.

London Weekend Television, London South Bank. Paper is a bit over A3 size.

Here are some other prints made using the same technique:

Packaging monoprints

Windmill Walk, SE1

Here is a view of the tower of former London Television Centre building, seen from Windmill Walk, off Roupell Street near Waterloo Station.

LWT Building from Windmill Walk, 7th Feb 2022, in sketchbook 11
Bollard with stars.

I enjoyed all the wires and aerials! The swooping wire from the top right is a telephone wire or electrical cable. It’s unusual to see them above ground in London. Note also the marvellous bollards, which are mentioned in the Conservation Area Statement (Note 1).

Here you see layers of London development. In the foreground is Windmill Walk, part of the Roupell Street residential area built around 1824, and still residential. The paler building in the mid-distance is on Theed Street. It is a converted factory. It now contains some residential properties which I found listed on a holiday lettings site, and some offices listed on an estate agents’ site. Different accounts list it as a Violin Factory and/or a “Komptulicon Works”. Komptulicon was a sort of floor covering made of cork and rubber.

On the skyline is the London Television Centre, 1972, which I have drawn previously:

London Television Centre SE1

Here is a view of the London Television Centre, 60-72 Upper Ground, SE1. It is on the South Bank of the river Thames, a little to the East of the National Theatre and the Royal Festival Hall. It was completed in 1972 to the design of…

Click to read more

Here are some maps and work in progress on the drawing:

A London Inheritance article provides a carefully researched and fascinating history of the area:

[Roupell] street was laid out and construction started around 1824….. Roupell had built the street for what were described as “artisan workers” and the 1841 census provides a view of the professions of what must have been some of the first people living in the street. This included; painters, labourers, clerks, printers, bakers, carpenters, bricklayers, compositors, paper hanger, hatter, an excise officer, lighterman, warehouseman – all the typical jobs that you expect to find in such a street in 1840s London.(A London Inheritance)

Note 1: Conservation Area Statement

“Roupell Street Conservation Area” statement by Lambeth Council, 2007, describes the streets and details what can and cannot be done in modifications to the houses. It also mentions the “Komptulicon Works”, north of Windmill Walk.

Christchurch Blackfriars Bridge SE1

On the South side of Blackfriars Bridge there is a church amongst trees. This is Christchurch Blackfriars Bridge.

Christchurch Blackfriars Bridge, 14th January 2022, 2pm 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 11
A window showing construction workers

This is the south side of the church, showing its open door. I went in. This is a very welcoming church. I passed three separate notices telling me I was welcome. Inside it is calm, warm and light. There are benches to sit on. There are marvellous stained glass windows. They show not saints and Bible stories, but Londoners. They show builders and printers, river workers, and engineers. There is a power station worker looking at a bank of rotary dial telephones, and a queue of people waiting for a red London bus. All these are beautifully done in stained glass.

This church accepts the idea that people might be “spiritual not religious”. Between 12noon and 2pm: they offer a “lunch time silent space”, and there are other events that include meditation and silence.

A detailed history of the church is in British History Survey of London: ‘Christ Church’, in Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside (The Parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark), ed. Howard Roberts and Walter H Godfrey (London, 1950), pp. 101-107. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol22/pp101-107 [accessed 16 January 2022].

Here is how it looked before 1941.

‘Plate 67: Christ Church. Exterior and watchhouse’, in Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside (The Parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark), ed. Howard Roberts and Walter H Godfrey (London, 1950), p. 67. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol22/plate-67 [accessed 16 January 2022].

It was completely gutted by incendiary bombing in April 1941. The 1950 “Survey of London” cited above describes it as a “shell”. The present church was completed in 1960, according to Pevsner (The Buildings of England, London 2: South, by Nicolaus Pevsner and Bridget Cherry, page 275). The architects were R Paxton Watson & B Costin.

The church is now surrounded by buildings and trees and is very much alive. Here is the view from the North:

Christchurch Blackfriars Bridge, 13th January 2022, 12:30pm 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 11

The outside air temperature was 3 degrees C and the paint wasn’t drying. Also I was very cold. I went for lunch in “Greensmiths”in Lower Marsh, and finished the painting there.

“Greensmiths” in Lower Marsh Waterloo.

Here is work in progress on the sketches, and some maps to show where this church is.

There were some spectacular shadows that day:

Christchurch Blackfriars Bridge, from the South, 14th January 2022 about 2pm.

The church community hold some of their events in the adjacent pub, the Rose and Crown:

London Television Centre SE1

Here is a view of the London Television Centre, 60-72 Upper Ground, SE1. It is on the South Bank of the river Thames, a little to the East of the National Theatre and the Royal Festival Hall. It was completed in 1972 to the design of Elsom Pack & Roberts.1

London Television Centre, 30 November 2021, 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 11

Appreciate this building while you can – it is bring demolished. Admire the variety of the sloping roofs, the unexpected angles, the terraces overlooking the river. Appreciate the unexpected finish: it is covered in tiny, white, glistening tiles.

The history of this and two other buildings due for demolition is documented in the excellent “London Inheritance” post: Three Future Demolitions. (May 16th 2021).

The planning application reference is “21/02668/EIAFUL” submitted to Lambeth Council on 5th July 2021. It says:

Demolition of all existing buildings and structures for a mixed-use redevelopment comprising offices, cultural spaces and retail uses with associated public realm and landscaping, servicing areas, parking and mechanical plant.

Interestingly the status, as of today, is “awaiting decision”, which is strange because when I was sketching the site earlier this week, demolition was definitely in progress: both visible and audible.

For the record, here are some pictures of the current building (click to enlarge):

The proposed new building will be taller than the current tower, and the current low-level buildings are to be replaced by a wide block.

The proposed new building will be wider and taller than the existing buildings.
It seems as though we will be able to walk through the new development. And there will be cafés and restaurants on the river side. (Picture ref: see Note 2)

Here are some maps to show where this is:

I drew the picture from the inclined plane leading up to Queens Walk by the river. There must be a splendid view from the adjacent IBM building. If you work there and you’d be prepared to host me so I could draw from the balcony, then do please get in touch.

Here are some photos of my work in progress on the picture. It was cold, wet and windy, and there were a lot of seagulls. I put the seagulls in the picture, to the right of the tower. I finished the colour at my desk.

I have also drawn Colechurch House, another 20th Century building in the area due for demolition:

Note 1: Date of construction and architects are cited in: https://manchesterhistory.net/architecture/1970/itvHQ.html

“When London Weekend Television decided to build its own modern studios, it chose a site on the South Bank close to the National Theatre. The architectural practice of Elsom Pack and Roberts were commissioned to design the building. Originally known as Kent House, their building involved a 21 storey tower rising above a podium that houses the television studios. Construction started in 1970 and the first transmission was in 1972. It became known as The South Bank Television Centre and it was considered to be the most advanced television centre in Europe at that time.”

Note 2: Picture of the new building and plan from the Statement of Community Involvement, downloaded 2 Dec 2021.

https://planning.lambeth.gov.uk/online-applications/files/DD59C145D57526C2CF9B434416D1C04A/pdf/21_02668_EIAFUL-STATEMENT_OF_COMMUNITY_INVOLVEMENT-2709954.pdf

For comparison, here are the two views – the proposed development and the current view from Victoria Embankment. The visual of the proposed development shows various tall buildings which do not yet exist. The “Doon St Tower” is a proposed 43 storey tower on the inland side of Upper Ground from the National Theatre. It has planning permission (2010) but has not been built. Another tall building shown on the view of the proposed development is “Elizabeth House” a.k.a “One Waterloo”. This is set of buildings, 15 to 31 floors, next to Waterloo Station. It also has planning permission (19/01477/EIAFUL Feb 2021) but has not been built.

Guinness Court, Lever Street, EC1

Guinness Court is a group of low-rise blocks between Gambier House and Galway House, in Finsbury. A resident writes that it is a lovely place to live, with an “inner communal garden with trees and squirrels”.

Here is Guinness Court from Lever Street:

Guinness Court, Lever Street, EC1 24th November 2021, 10:45am.

You see Grayson House just peeping over the roof.

Guinness Court is owned and managed by Guinness Partnership Limited1.

“Guinness was founded in 1890 to improve people’s lives. And that’s still what we’re about today.
In 1890, philanthropist Sir Edward Cecil Guinness donated £200,000 to set up the Guinness Trust in London, with an additional £50,000 for the Dublin Fund, which later became the Iveagh Trust.
He wanted to help improve the lives of ordinary people, many of whom couldn’t afford decent homes. He wanted to improve people’s lives and create possibilities for them. We’re proud that thousands of families have benefited from this vision.” [https://www.guinnesspartnership.com/about-us/what-we-do/our-history/]

Sir Edward Cecil Guinness was the grandson of the founder of the Guinness brewery.

The original Guinness Court on Lever Street was built in 1890. Here is what it looked like in 1950:

“Lever Street, Finsbury, 1950” from: https://history.guinnesspartnership.com/the-origins/

The current building was constructed in 1976, according to “Streets with a Story – The Book of Islington” by Eric A Willats FLA. I cannot discover anything about the architect or the plans – or why the Victorian building was demolished. If anyone has access to the current building and can spot a foundation stone or information plaque, please let me know?

I made the sketch from a bench dedicated to the memory of Betty Brunker, “a good friend and neighbour”, 1930-2005.

Note 1: The Guinness Partnership Limited is a charitable Community Benefit Society No. 31693R registered in England and is a Registered Provider of Social Housing No. 4729. [https://www.guinnesspartnership.com]

Note 2: There are a number of buildings called “Guinness Court” in London. For example there is Guinness Court in Mansell Street E1, not far away, and Guinness Court, Snowsfields, Southwark SE1, on the other side of the river.

I have done a number of sketches in the Finsbury area:

Sketches in Finsbury:

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