Guildhall North Wing

From the site of the former St Mary Aldermanbury, I looked across towards the Guildhall, the offices of the City of London.

Guildhall North Wing, 7″ x 10″, in Sketchbook 9. 19 March 2021

It is dark and green in the former Nave of the church, whose pillars you can see on the right. The stones are covered in moss, which is almost phosphorescent.

The North Wing of the Guildhall was designed by Giles Gilbert-Scott2 in the 1930s and built in the 1950s. He also designed the red telephone kiosks, Battersea Power Station and Cambridge University Library.

The North Wing, and the area to the North of it, were redeveloped in the period 2002 – 2016 at a total cost of £112.6M1 . The architects were TP Bennett. They comment on their website:

The street entrance was lowered to give step-free access from the lowered landscaped piazza, and the two confusing entry points were replaced by one entrance anchored by a lively reception area, now the main business hub for the City of London.
Internally, cellular offices and gloomy corridors – unchanged since the 1950s – were refitted to offer more open-plan accommodation and social space, as well as extra accommodation at rooftop level. The familiar front entrance façade was retained but the internal elevation facing the Great Hall was removed and the building extended, re-glazed and given scenic lifts, offering good views over a landscaped courtyard and the Great Hall itself. Enhancing the City’s new agenda of openness and accessibility, the North Wing’s refurbishment has invigorated the Guildhall campus.

The area North of the Guildhall is flat and has a variety of obstacles and inclines, which make it an ideal venue for skateboarders.

I have described the site of St Mary Aldermanbury in a previous post. Here are maps:

In the corner of the site, where Aldermanbury meets Love Lane, there is a drinking fountain. Miraculously, this one still has the drinking cup on a chain. There is, however, no water.

The inscription is worn and hard to decipher. I could make out this:

"November 1890
The Gift of Robert ROGERSESO(N?)
Deputy of the Ward of the Parish of 
S Mary Aldermanbury"

This drawing took about 45minutes on location and half an hour finishing off at my desk. The colours are Green Gold (DS), Green Apatite Genuine (DS) Burnt Umber (Jacksons), Prussian Blue (DS), Permanent Yellow Deep (DS) and Perylene Maroon (DS). Here are pictures of work in progress:

Here in another drawing in the area:

NOTES

1 Guildhall redevelopment 2002-2016

These dates and the cost of £112.6M are from a paper dated 21st April 2016, a concluding report of the Guildhall Improvement Committee. The paper was on this link: https://democracy.cityoflondon.gov.uk/documents/s63283/ITEM%2021%20-%20GIC%20-%20Closure.pdf

It can be downloaded from that link, or if not available there, try this link:

2 Giles Gilbert-Scott

Giles is the third in a line of architects. His son Richard followed him into the profession. 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

Giles Gilbert-Scott’s brother, Adrian Gilbert-Scott (1882-1963), was also an architect. He designed St Joseph’s Catholic Church in the Lansbury Estate in Poplar, East London.

The Shard from The Tower

From the Tower of London on the North bank of the Thames, you can see the Shard on the South Bank.

The Shard from The Tower, 3rd Jan 2021, 12″ x 10″

Pre-lockdown, I sketched this sitting on a stone bench on the slope to the West of the Tower of London. There were seagulls in the air. Children hurtled down the slope on bicycles, with parents jogging awkwardly behind. Young people threw their arms around each other and photographed themselves.

I worked on my drawing.

It started to rain. Then it really poured with rain. The children scuttled under the overhanging roof of the visitor centre. The young people laughed and rushed off. I had to pack up very quickly. The seagulls remained.

I had finished the pen and ink. I added the colour at home. I tried out some experimental techniques.

For the cobbles I used the wrapping of a pack of mandarin oranges.

To get the sharp edges of the Shard, I used masking tape.

I made this picture on a sheet of Jackson’s 300gsm cold-pressed watercolour paper, 12″ x 10″, using Daniel Smith and Winsor and Newton watercolours. The colours are Phthalo Turquoise (W&N), Fired Gold Ochre (DS), Perylene Maroon (DS) and Mars Yellow (DS). The cobblestones also have some Iridescent Moonstone (DS), which makes them sparkle. I made the tree with a marvellous new Tree Brush, also from Jackson’s.

Brushes: Jackson’s “Badger” tree brush series 602, and Jackson’s “Raven” brush series 528.

Crossrail site, Moor Lane EC2

Here is the view from the Barbican Podium of the construction site on Moor Lane.

Bridge over Moor Lane, and the Crossrail construction site.

These huge triangular structures look immensely strong. This structure is above the Crossrail station at Moorgate. Below this is a huge shaft, down into Crossrail. Above will be offices and shops. I think it must be constructed this way, with so many struts, because it spans the vast station hall, like a bridge.

This construction site is in operation, and has been, for much of the lockdown. There are workers there. I could not see them but I could certainly hear them.

On the left you see a truncated pedestrian bridge, which used to be the route to Moorgate Station. I hope they reconnect it. At the moment it is sealed off, and there are plants on there, in pots. While I was drawing, a woman came and tended the plants. You can see some of the plants coming through the railings in my drawing.

Here is work in progress. I was standing on the Barbican Podium, by Willoughby House.

Here are some sketches I made in 2016, in the same area. You can see the bridge across Moor Lane. Click to enlarge.

Here is a a post from 2017, with a sketch done from the other side of the site, the Moorgate side.

Crossrail site from Moorgate

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 … Continue reading “Crossrail site from Moorgate”

Principal Tower and The Stage

If I look East, along a narrow angle, I can see two new tall buildings in Shoreditch: the “Principal Tower”, and “The Stage”. They are on adjacent sites, about a mile away.

Looking East: The Stage and Principal Tower

The Stage is the tall building on the left, under construction. Their website tells me this will be a “dynamic 37 level landmark for luxury living”. The reason it’s called The Stage is because the remains of the Curtain Theatre were discovered on the site. This theatre was a location for the staging of Shakespeare’s plays, and dates back to 1577. The tower is provides luxurious accommodation. The planning report says:

The scheme does not include any affordable housing, and the viability appraisal confirms that it is not possible to deliver any due to the financial burdens of excavation and archaeological work to the remains of Curtain Theatre in order to create a cultural facility.

planning report D&P/2975/02 18 December 2013, Mayor’s decision*

The architects are Perkins+Will. The developer cited on the planning application was Plough Yard Developments Ltd. That company was dissolved on 23rd Aug 2019. The current owner/developer is “The Stage Shoreditch Development Limited” according to the website “New London Development”.

The building with the truncated spire in front of The Stage is “Triton Court”, which is on the North side of Finsbury Square. The little dome is part of the same building. This dome in on the older, western, part, which was built in 1904-5. The taller part with the spire was later, 1929-30. It was the headquarters of the Royal London Mutual Assurance Society. The building interior was redeveloped in 2013-15 and is now an office development called “Alphabeta”

The tall block on the skyline to the right of picture is “Principal Tower”. This is a residential tower which, according to the website:

“..offers the opportunity to own an architectural masterpiece, equivalent to a priceless piece of art that will give constant pleasure and lasting value.”

from the sales website: PrincipalTower.com, copied on 2nd April 2020

The architect is Foster+Partners. The developer is Brookfield Property Partners. Alongside and beneath the residential tower are offices and shops, in a space called “Principal Place”. One tenant of the office space is Amazon.

Here are some pictures from the sales website:

Here are some maps:

My sketch map showing the locations of the towers in the picture
Map downloaded from the Principal Tower website. The brown dots are “cultural locations”. The red arrow shows the sightline in the picture.

The drawing took just over 2 hours. The colours are: Phthalo Turquoise (W&N), Mars Yellow(DS), Perylene Maroon (DS) and a bit of Perinone Orange (DS).

*The document is on the http://www.london.gov.uk site at this link: (downloaded 2nd April 2020) Planning Application 2012/3871

Click to access the_stage_curtain_road_report.pdf

You can download the document here:

HYLO Building under construction

Here is the “HYLO” Building on Bunhill Row.

HYLO, on the site of the Finsbury Tower.

It will be “premium office and retail space over 29 floors”. The developer is “CIT”:

Steve Riddell, Managing Director Developments, CIT, says [on the CIT website]: “As the line between corporate and creative becomes more integrated, our aim is to provide a workplace solution that offers flexible spaces that embrace collaboration and connectivity at the same time. We are excited for HYLO to become the defining destination in the Old Street district.”

The drawing also shows buildings associated with St Joseph’s Catholic Church, these are in front of HYLO, and dwarfed by it. The cube behind HYLO on the left is “White Collar Factory” and mixed-use office space on Old Street Roundabout. Offices on Lambs Passage are on the right. In the front, at the bottom of the drawing, are the extensive air conditioning ducts and roof apparatus on a building of Lloyds Bank. On the lower left is a YMCA, being rebuilt as accommodation for young homeless people. Here’s a map and an annotated drawing.

HYLO is on the site of the former Finsbury Tower. Here is what it looked like before:

Finsbury Tower 3rd August 2016
Finsbury Tower on Bunhill Row above Peabody Estate buildings. Finsbury Tower was a 1960s office building now undergoing extensive renovation. According to the planning application, the renovation will add 12 storeys to the existing 16, doubling the building’s height. 

Here are some other drawings in this area:

Lamb’s Buildings EC1

St Joseph’s Bunhill Row on right. From the church notice board: “A small chapel in the basement of a former school 1901”. Contains windows from St Mary Moorfields 1820. Remodelled 1993 by Anthony Delarue “in a vaguely Florentine Renaissance manner”. The crib is there until Feb 2nd, and the church is open Fridays 12noon to … Continue reading “Lamb’s Buildings EC1”

YMCA site, Errol St EC1

This site is a few minutes walk from where I live. There will be a “new home for young homeless Londoners”. “146 beds, 10 000 lives, 60 years”, says the text on the hoarding. There will be 146 en-suite rooms, an “affordable gym for the whole community” and a “social enterprise unit”. You can see … Continue reading “YMCA site, Errol St EC1”

Scalpel from Bank

Here is the Scalpel Building, seen from Bank Junction.

The statue in the centre of the bottom of the picture is neither a statesman, nor a warrior, nor a monarch. It celebrates an engineer: J.H. Greathead, “inventor of the travelling shield that made possible the cutting of the tunnels of London’s deep level tube system”. There is a picture of his invention on the plinth.

The “travelling shield” depicted on the plinth of Greathead’s statue in Cornhill.

Greathead’s idea was to make the shield cylindrical, rather than rectangular as it had been previously. He also invented ways to spray concrete and grouting on the walls, and also to pressurise the tunnel, so as to make the workers a bit safer from cave-ins. His later shields were equipped with cutting jaws or teeth, to excavate the earth ahead.

“Most tunnelling shields are still loosely based on Greathead’s Shields design” says Wikipedia, including the “Tunnel Boring Machines” which are used, for example, for Crossrail.

The statue was created in 1994, and stands, appropriately enough, on a ventilation shaft for the Waterloo and City Line.

J.H. Greathead on his plinth/ventilation shaft.

I drew this picture standing at One Poultry. Here are maps:

Here is work in progress:

Work in progress, the scene from One Poultry.

About 45 minutes. The sky is Prussian Blue, very dilute. The other colours used are Mars Yellow, and Perylene Maroon, all Daniel Smith watercolours. The grey is Perylene Maroon and Prussian Blue. The traffic lights are Pyrrol Red.

Coal Drops Yard N1C from the Skip Garden

Here is the view from high up in the marvellous Skip Garden at Kings Cross. Coal Drops Yard roofs are in the background, behind the crane.

IMG_2061

I did this picture with just three colours: cobalt blue, yellow ochre, and alizarin crimson. The yellow ochre and cobalt blue refused to make green. They made grey.

Here is the picture under construction.

IMG_2060On the way to Kings Cross I passed through Duncan Terrace Gardens, in Islington, where there is an extraordinary “bird hotel” in one of the gigantic trees. It was made by “London Field Works” and consists of 300 specially made bird boxes, all different sizes, fitted round the tree.

A nearby notice assured me: “The method of installation has been designed in close consultation with the Forestry Commission and the borough’s ecology dept to enable the tree to continue to grow and expand.”

The Shard from Borough Market

fullsizeoutput_3317

Walking back from Intaglio Printmaker in Southwark, I thought it would be a good idea to walk through Borough Market. It was not. The crowds were so closely pressed together, and walking and stopping, that I could make no headway through the main part of the market. So I went round the edge, and glimpsed the Shard, high above the roofs.

The roofs, and the lights, look old but they are not really old. The lights, the nearest ones, are gas lights, with real gas flames. They are recent. The market was re-created and enlarged in the late 1990s. It’s now easy to believe that it’s always been a thriving London market.  But it hasn’t. The “Blueprint” website from developers CBRE says:

In the 1980s, the surrounding area of Borough Market had undergone severe decline. The market’s days as a wholesale hub were threatened by the growth of supermarket retailers and the nearby development of the New Covent Garden market in Vauxhall in the 1970s. By 1994, the market had as few as nine traders and an income of less than £400k per year…..

The first “green shoot” for the market emerged … in 1996. The market had hit rock bottom with little left but a few traders and a mobile barber’s stall operating from a caravan. Neil’s Yard Dairy approached the market seeking additional space in damp conditions for the preservation of their expanding cheese business. Damp space, according to [George] Nicholson [market chairman], “was something we had lots of.”

 

fullsizeoutput_331bI drew this picture standing up in Stoney Street. There was a strong wind. Papers, mostly takeaway food wrappers, rushed along in the air as if they had somewhere to go.

There were huge crowds outside Monmouth coffee. The whole of Stoney Street, to the right of my picture,  was occupied by people.

Astonishingly, cars appeared. This picture took about 45 minutes and in that time I must have seen about 10 cars, one every few minutes. They arrived and stopped, seeing the crowds. Then, no doubt consulting a GPS which said this was indeed a street, they pushed on.

People walked past me, eating food from wrappers or drinking beer from cans. One drinker rolled over to me. “Are you drawing a picture?” he leered, ready to make fun.

“No,” I replied, “I’m riding a bicycle.” In his drink-fuddled haze, he had a problem to process that.

He turned to his fellow drinkers. “She says she’s riding a bicycle,” he announced. His wise companions hurried him on.

 

The Atlas Building – prints

This week I made prints of an etching of the Atlas Building. The etchings are based on a sketch I made.

I made 12 prints. Here they are.

They are all for sale! Please let me know if you would like to buy one. All are printed on etching paper “Fabriano Unica”. They are intended to be used as greetings cards. So the print is to the side like this:

Version 2

They fold in half to make a greeting card which fits in a C5 envelope.

Equally they can be folded in half or cut, and put in a frame size A5.

If you’d like to buy one, please contact me, and say which one you’d like. They are numbered – click the images in the gallery above. £5 each + postage. These are handmade items by me, an amateur printer. Thumb marks, imperfections, ink smudges and other defects reflect the handmade nature of the items and, as they say, “should not be regarded as defects”.

This is all preparation for my “Towers” exhibition in February 2019.

The process I use is “chine collé”. Here are some photos of work in progress:

To see more detail on the process,  look at this page, which explains all the stages.

The photos above are in “East London Printmakers” in Stepney, where I do my work.

Here is the original sketch on which the prints are based.

fullsizeoutput_1b98
Atlas Building

The Atlas Building – print

Today I worked on a print of the Atlas Building. This is based on a watercolour I did in March this year in a peregrination around City Road.

Here the hard ground print:

IMG_4349

Then aquatint:

 

IMG_4354 (1)This was an aquatint with 6 tones, which is about the maximum I can achieve. On the 4th and 5th dip it’s difficult to see what I’m doing.

These pictures are postcard-size, with the intention of making cards.

IMG_4355 (1)Here’s the test plate print.

I’m in the question about whether the aquatint needs more work. I thought it did when I first saw it, but now I’m not so sure. It isn’t as dark as the photo looks. Comments welcome.

Aquatint and test plate on Khadi handmade paper. Hard ground print on handmade paper from Paperchase. Printing done at East London Printmakers. Ink is Intaglio Printmaker “Shop Mix Bone Black” from a tube. Etching on 10cm x 15cm copper plate using Edinburgh Etch.

Here are the copper plates:

IMG_4357