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, whose leaseholder had kindly hosted me.

The line of red brick, and what looks like chimneys, in the foreground are the rooftops of a part of the Barbican, “The Postern”. Behind them is the Barber-Surgeons’ Hall on Monkwell Square, where I have been to give blood. The curved green building on the left is on the other side of London Wall. It is “One London Wall” near the Museum of London Rotunda: multi-use office space.

Bastion House is the huge monolith in the centre of the drawing. It reminds me of the monolith in the 1968 film “2001 – A Space Odyssey”, and indeed it dates from that period. It was proposed in 1955, and started in 1972, completed in 1976. The architect was Philip Powell of Powell and Moya. This practice also designed the Skylon for the 1951 South Bank Festival of Britain, and Churchill Gardens in Pimlico.

Here is drawing work in progress.

This drawing took me about 2 hours. This is my first drawing in a new sketchbook: the “Perfect Sketchbook” from Etchr. This will be Urban Sketching sketchbook number 6.

I have sketched Bastion House before:

St Giles and Bastion House

Today Urban Sketchers London held a “sketch crawl” in the Barbican. So I joined them. An astonishing number and diversity of people assembled inside the entrance of the Barbican Centre at the appointed time of 11am. I counted about 35 and then another dozen or so joined. All shapes and sizes of people, tall, short, … Continue reading “St Giles and Bastion House”

From “Barbie Green” London Wall

Here is a view from the Australian café, “Barbie Green” on London Wall. In this picture you see:

  • a vestige of the old roman London Wall, red-bricked. It has a modern fence on top of it because there is a 20ft drop on the other side. Built around 200-300AD.
  • Salters Hall, the white building on the left, and the square building in the middle. Built in 1976 to the designs of Sir Basil Spence, and extensively redeveloped in 2019.
  • Willoughby House in the Barbican Estate, behind Salters Hall, built 1965-76 to the designs of Chamberlain, Powell and Bon
  • CityPoint, in the middle background, built 1967 to the designs of F. Milton Cashmore and H. N. W. Grosvenor. It was refurbished in 2000 and that top structure added.
  • London Wall Place on the right of the picture, just finished in 2019 and now becoming occupied. The architects were “make architects”
  • the crane, high up to the right, is on the Crossrail site at Moorgate.

Barbie Green is a new cafe which has appeared as part of the new London Wall Place development. Its huge windows have great views out over St Alphege Church and the surrounding buildings. They have very friendly staff who don’t seem to mind atall that I used their table as a vantage point for sketching. I had great food and great coffee too. Thank you Barbie Green.

This drawing took about an hour and a half. It is almost all Prussian Blue and Perinone Orange, Daniel Smith Watercolours, over pen and ink. The ink is “De Atramentis Document Ink Black”, which is waterproof.

Here is work in progress. As you see, it was getting dark!

I have drawn in this location before:

St Alphege, from outside Barbie Green

Here’s another drawing on London Wall place. This is a view of the highwalk from underneath. I was standing by the new café, Barbie Green, sheltering from the rain.


The shelter was not very good, and there was a lot of wind, so raindrops arrived on the picture. I went to go in the café to finish the colouring, but no, there were “no tables”.

So I finished the drawing outdoors, sitting on a damp bench.

I very much enjoy this highwalk. It curves in all dimensions. The side walls undulate, the walkway becomes wider and narrower, and it tilts up and down. It’s made of some iron-like metal, so it has rusted and is now a deep brown. The shape of it respectfully frames the ruins of the old church.

I appreciated all this while observing, through the picture windows of the cafe, three empty tables, which remained empty for the whole time.

1hr10, drawn and coloured on location.

More drawing expeditions in this area:

St Alphege, Barbie Green and London Wall Place

On the way back from the Post Office, I paused to draw the view under the new Highwalk of London Wall Place. There is a new café called “Barbie Green”.


I drew this by the water pond and the plants. sheltered by the highwalk. Other people were there too, mostly smokers. Except that people don’t smoke anymore, but wander around leaving trails of mist with strange synthetic smells, nearly but not quite vanilla.

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Location of London Wall Place shown in yellow. View of drawing in red.

I have sketched in this area before. Here’s a similar view, drawn last year in the summer, just after the highwalk was constructed:

St Alphege

The drawing above is from this post:
St Alphege, London Wall

From the Barbican Lakeside Terrace

This is a drawing on one of those hot days last week.

I sat at one of the tables on the Barbican Lakeside Terrace and drew what I saw. The massive building is 125 London Wall, a multi-occupancy monolith. Behind, to the right is 88 Wood Street, designed by Richard Rogers (“Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners”). It’s a bit like the Lloyds Building, with transparent walls and lifts you can see going up and down. On the left is the new building at One London Wall Place.

In front of all that is the side of St Giles’ church, with its castellations. There was a celebration going on: Barbican@50.


The banner you can see fastened to the railings says “”. It is placed by objectors to the proposed extension of the Girls School.

1 hour 20.

Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Here is the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, seen from across the Barbican Lake. I drew this sitting on a ventilator grille in an alcove of the residential flats in Andrewes House.


The Tower in the distance is Cromwell Tower. The sloping glass roof is the Barbican Conservatory. Gilbert House is the residential block on the left. In the foreground is the magical sunken garden, a planted area whose walkways are below the level of the lake.

IMG_3621As I drew, I was watched with interest by mallard ducks. One settled at my feet, in a proprietorial way.

I had not noticed before that the Guildhall School is built as a series of blocks, rather like a container park. The top row and the bottom row don’t quite match. The second row has a series of upright concrete beams, which I’ve shown, between the blocks.

I saw that the windows are angled. The inhabitants of one block must be able to see, in a sideways sort of way, into the next block. I’ve never been inside the School, so I don’t know how this works out in practice. But after all, this is a school of performing arts, so it’s rather good if you can see your fellow students through a window: every window a stage.

However the angling of the windows meant that from outside I couldn’t see inside.  I have to wait until the performers are ready to present their pieces on a public stage. Still, from time to time I heard a flight of notes on a saxophone. Perhaps they had opened the window of one of the practice rooms.

About 2 hours, including a chat to a fellow resident who stopped by.

Predominantly just two colours: Perinone Orange and Prussian Blue, with a tiny bit of Mars Yellow in the rushes.



Barbican Lakeside Terrace from St Giles’

Here is a picture of someone looking across the Barbican Lake. Their mobile phone is telling them that the Barbican Arts Centre, the Lakeside Restaurant, the Art Gallery and the Cinemas are all over there in the sunlight. Such delights! But how do I get there? In between here and there is some murky water, and a big drop down.
What they need to do is to turn their back on where they want to go, walk, go up an obscure staircase that looks private, and then proceed across Gilbert Bridge which is high up to their right and invisible from where they are standing. I would have told them all this, but they obviously worked it all out for themselves before I could put my paintbrush down and descend from the tiled stone monument where I was sitting. Perhaps the mobile phone app is, by now, educated on the Barbican geography.


The tower in the picture is Cromwell Tower, and the glass building is part of the Barbican Conservatory.

“” banner on Mountjoy House

Today there are banners outside some of the flats in Mountjoy House in the Barbican. They are there to draw attention to the proposal by the City of London School for Girls to build an extension, including kitchens, right underneath these flats. I have drawn pictures to illustrate the proposal, and to show why many of us object. See this link: Under Mountjoy House, Barbican

Information about the campaign is here: Objection  to CLSG expansion. If you appreciate the Barbican architecture, please consider signing the petition.

Here is a map:

Map showing the direction of the view in the picture, and the location of the banners.

A quick sketch of St Giles Church

Here is St Giles Church from the Lakeside Terrace of the Barbican. While I drew this, three men were shovelling mud from the bottom of the lake. The mud is black and viscous and the men were remarkably cheerful in their task. They would have made good subjects for a drawing too. But for now, here’s the church:


The church features in some of my “Tower” sketches:

St Giles’ and Cromwell Tower

St Giles’ Church and Shakespeare Tower
From Lauderdale Place: Eastern Cluster

From the Rooftop at Morelands

This was an event organised by RIBA* and Phil Dean a.k.a “Shoreditch Sketcher”.  Morelands is a modern office block on Old St.

I looked south, and drew Cromwell Tower and Great Arthur House. This sketch took about 45 minutes, as darkness fell.


The “brise soleil” on top of Great Arthur House must be one of the most difficult things to draw. That, and the dome of St Pauls. Because it’s curved, and the curve needs to be right.

Earlier, I did a sketch of the “brise soleil” on its own. I had not noticed before that there is a sort of balcony.


I’ve sketched Great Arthur House before:

Great Arthur House from the Barbican Podium

Welsh Church and Great Arthur House

Eglwys Jewin from Fortune Park

Update: Later, the Shoreditch Sketcher posted on Instagram. I think that might be me in the middle…..

*Royal Institute of British Architects

More views of Mountjoy House

Today I found another view of the view under Mountjoy. This is from the high walk that goes north from the Museum of London, looking East.IMG_3087

Under the Mountjoy Highwalk there are a number of “framed” pictures. The old London Wall fortification is visible. The sun reflected from the lake and threw patterns onto the old stone. I couldn’t get all that in the picture so you have to take my word for it.

A group of tourists stopped on the “Wallside” highwalk. You can see them in the centre right of the picture.

IMG_3087 copy

These “windows” will all be obliterated by the proposed City of London School for Girls expansion.

Effect of CLSG extension (view from West)

This view is from the place where the north bound highwalk turns abruptly left (click map to expand it).

This picture took about an hour. I tried hard not to overdo it.

At the top of the picture are the flats of Mountjoy House, with their impressive window boxes.