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.

Rose and Crown, SE1

Here is the Rose and Crown, just south of Blackfriars Bridge.

Rose and Crown, Blackfriars SE1, 20 November 2021, 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 11

This pub stands amongst modern blocks: linking past, present and future in a swirling area of change. Behind the pub, unexpectedly, is a beer garden, giving onto a wooded area around the nearby church, Christ Church.

Above the arched window of the pub, two dates are carved in the stone work: 1787 and 1887

Above the arched window: 1787 and 1887 (or 1881?)

The pub’s website says the building “is thought to date back to the late 1800s”. The marvellous “pubwiki” entry tells me that the pub “was established in 1787, re-built in its present form in 1887″. They trace the landlords’ names and dates through census and insurance records, and note a John” Clark, victualler at this location, in 1789.

1789/John Clark/victualler/../../Sun Fire Office records held at the London Metropolitan Archives” (data from Ewan of “pubwiki”)

Sketch map showing the Rose and Crown, SE1, and the viewpoint of my drawing, 20th November 2021

The roads round here have changed names. Colombo Street was “Collingwood Street” until 1937 (London Metropolitan Archives, notes on photos). Before that it was “Green Walk” in the 1789 insurance records quoted above. Paris Garden was previously “Brunswick Street”. The area in front of the pub, now the Colombo Centre and a Novotel, is a bombsite in a 1951 photo in the London Picture Archive.

The area continues to undergo change. North of the pub is a huge empty lot. Buildings were demolished in or around 2019, and construction has not yet started.

The planning application (2019) is for 4 levels of basement and 6 buildings from 5 to 53 floors.

Planning application 19/AP/0414 from “planning.southwark.gov.uk”

If you walk into my drawing and turn into the dark passage to the right of the pub, you find this notice, written in stone. Recently another notice has been added, asking patrons to leave quietly.

By my calculation MDCCCXIX is 1000(M) + 500(D) + 300(CCC) + 10(X) + 9 (IX) = 1819

The purpose of the watch house was to guard the adjacent burial ground from body snatchers, according to the note on the London Metropolitan Archive Picture Gallery. Here is the watchhouse in 1932. The pub would be immediatly to the left of this photo:

View of Christ Church Watchhouse, record number: 113829, Catalogue number: SC_PHL_01_366_A8882 Photo date: 1932 © London Metropolitan Archives (City of London) Used under licence.

London Picture Archive notes:

“The Parish Watchhouse was built in 1809 and stood in the Church Yard until demolished in 1932. The Watchhouse was used to guard new burials against body snatchers. The Rectory, a new building similar in style, stands on the same site. Colombo Street was previously known as Collingwood Street.”

Here is work in progress on the drawing. You see the current rectory, which replaced the watch-house, on the right.

Location:

The pub cat, sleeping.

Royal Courts of Justice from Bell Yard

It was morning. As I walked down Bell Yard the sun streamed into the alley.

Royal Courts of Justice from Bell Yard, 16th November 2021, 10:45

Later, I visited the Royal Courts of Justice. During the week, the Courts are open, and you can go in. I put my backpack on the conveyor belt. The friendly security guard asked me to drink from my water bottle: “The Sip Test” he called it, to check that my bottle did not contain a noxious substance. It didn’t. The equally friendly and welcoming person at the enquiry desk issued a photocopied information sheet setting out a self-guided walk around the building, which I followed.

It’s well worth a visit. It is an extraordinary example of Victorian architecture. And, of course, it contains working law courts. Photography is not allowed, and they were not enthusiastic when I suggested I might do a drawing inside, so I didn’t. People are at work, and court sessions are in progress, so respect is in order. The Café was not open, which was a pity.

My drawing shows the Eastern part of the building. I sketched it on location in about 40 minutes and did the colour later at my desk.

I sketched the Royal Courts of Justice from Carey Street earlier in the week, under an overcast sky:

Royal Courts of Justice from Carey Street

The Royal Courts of Justice are a huge campus of buildings of Victorian gothic style, between The Strand to the south to Carey Street to the north.

Here is a view from Carey Street.

Royal Courts of Justice from Carey Street, 12 November 2021, 1:45pm 10″ x 7″

The Royal Courts of Justice are the High Courts for England and Wales, and the Court of Appeal. The High Courts are for civil cases, such as breaches of contract, personal injury claims, libel and slander. There is also a family division for cases of matters such as marriage annulments and care of children. Criminal cases, such as murder, are tried in the Old Bailey, down the road. Criminal cases are appealed in the Royal Courts of Justice Appeal Court. I learned this from an entry in Chambers Student website.

The construction of this building started in 1873. It was opened by Queen Victoria on December 4th 1882. The architect was George Edmund Street. The main contractor was Messrs Bull and Sons of Southampton.

Drawn and coloured on location. I used Buff Titanium for the Portland stone, and the grey is a mix of Perylene Maroon and Prussian Blue. This drawing took about 1 hour 15 mins. I also did a preliminary sketch to explore the perspective.

Sketchbook made by Wyvern Bindery, Hoxton.

123 Cheapside, EC2

In “A London Inheritance” I read a fascinating article about this corner of Cheapside and Wood Street, near St Paul’s Cathedral. When I passed the corner last week I noticed that the shop had closed down. Fearing that this closure would presage demolition of this interesting building, and replacement with a 39-story office block, I rushed to draw the corner shop while I could. It was raining. But I could find a bit of shelter under the glass canopy of M&S in One New Change opposite.

123 Cheapside, from across the road. 2nd October 2021, 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 10

This is a very ancient row of shops. The shop on the corner was, from before 1908 and until at least 1986, L.R. Wooderson Shirtmakers. In recent years it has been “Cards Galore”, but is now closed and the windows are obscured with brown paper.

The corner shop is a wonderful little building. I especially admire the curved glass of the two windows either side of the door, which seem to invite you in. Curved glass windows are rare, especially at street level, so these deserve recognition and admiration. Even more amazing is the mirror on the ceiling! If you step between the curved glass windows and look up, you see that this entrance space is reflected in a mirror. Perhaps this was a device so that if needed, you could see your newly purchased shirt or hat from above?

L.R. Wooderson is shown in a London Metropolitan Archives photo from 1908 (below).
The author of “A London Inheritance” photographed it 78 years later, in 1986. In his 1986 photo, the notice on the side of the shop says “Est 1884”. He has further information about L.R. Wooderson and the Wooderson family on his blog entry, and there’s yet more information in the comments on his article.

Here’s the photo from 1908:

123 and 124 Cheapside, 1908
LCC Photograph Library image © London Metropolitan Archives (City of London)
Record number 38726 Catalogue number: SC_PHL_01_006_79_7728
Accession number: 0577c . Used with permission.

Here’s the same row of shops circa 1870, showing a predecessor of L.R. Wooderson.: Joseph Williams, seller of “pianofortes”, with a warehouse in Berners Street in the West End.

View of shops and figures on Cheapside, also shows the corner of Wood Street, c1870
by WH Prior image © London Metropolitan Archives (City of London)
Record Number: 1884 Catalogue number:q2824343. Used with permission.

You see that “F. Passmore Stationer and Printer”, describes itself as “under the tree” – see the notice high up on a hoarding. This huge plane tree is famous, and at that time clearly famous enough to help in locating the shop. The commentary on the 1908 photo (above) in the London Picture Archive says:

124 Cheapside, City of London, by Wood Street. Front and side elevations of a two-storey shop, L & R Wooderson hosiers. In view is a street lamp. Towering above the premises is a Plane tree. The tree sits in the churchyard of St Peter Cheap. It’s thought the tree could date from the 1760s and is currently protected so can’t be cut down. The church of St Peter Cheap perished in the 1666 Great Fire and missed out on being rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren.

There is much more about the tree in an article on the “London Walking Tours Website” on this link.

I was interested to note how the tree size changes. In the 1870 drawing it is already huge. 40 years later, in the 1908 photo, it seems smaller, and more compact. I wonder if it was pollarded? Today it is again enormous. Here are the photos above again, with a modern picture to compare.

It remains famous. It is no. 1 in the “Top Ten Trees” of the City of London according to the “Friends of City Gardens”.

I completed the pen and ink of my drawing outside M&S, and then retreated from the rain and added the colour at my desk.

The colours are:

  • Perylene Maroon and Prussian Blue for the greys, with a bit of Transparent Brown Oxide in the the road,
  • Buff Titanium for the white of the shop with some Mars Yellow,
  • Green Apatite Genuine and Green Gold for the tree, and
  • a tiny bit of Transparent Pyrrol Orange for the City of London bollard tops and refections.

The Palm Tree, E3

Here is “The Palm Tree” pub, seen from the south.

“The Palm Tree” 127 Grove Road, Mile End, London E3, 28th September 2021, 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 10

I have often puzzled about this pub. I pass it as I’m cycling or running on the Regent’s Canal towpath. It stands alone, in a field of green, strangely isolated. Has it always been like that?

The Palm Tree stands isolated by the Regents Canal.

The answer to that question is no. It was not always isolated. It used to be surrounded by houses.

Its Historic England entry (1427142) tells me that when this pub was built, in 1935, it was surrounded by terraces of houses, Palm Street, Lessada Street and Totty Street, which have since vanished. The entry says: “the pub is the final remnant of a once built-up, industrial part of London, destroyed in the Blitz and in subsequent clearances”

Usually, an elderly resident will gesture to dense terraced housing and inform you that “this used to be all fields”. But in this area of Mile End, the reverse is true: this open green area used to be all houses!

Here are a selection of maps. You see the dense housing and close-packed streets in the late 19th century, damaged by bombs in 1944, and then replaced by pre-fabricated housing in the 1970s. The post-war prefabricated housing was demolished in 1977. In the 1979-85 OS Map, the streets are still there, but the housing has gone. By 1995 it was “all fields”, and the Palm Tree pub stands alone, as it does today.

The reason the pub has an entry in the Historic England listings is that it is Grade II listed. Amongst the many architectural delights described in the listing is the saloon bar:

The saloon bar, accessed from the furthest door along the north-east elevation, appears to remain almost entirely unchanged since construction. The higher class of the bar is apparent in the fielded dado panelling on the walls and on the curved bar counter; otherwise the internal decoration is similar to the other bars, retaining its bar back, chequered counter edge tiling and chimneypiece[……]A dartboard cabinet, possibly from the original pub, was reinstalled in the late C20. Unlike the public bar, which originally had only gentlemen’s toilets, the saloon was served by male and female toilets (set either side of the fireplace); both of these remain largely unaltered, with original doors and door furniture, tilework and, in the gents’, a Royal Doulton urinal.” [Historic England Listing number 1427142]

Reason enough to visit the pub when it is open!

Part way through this sketch it started raining, then the rain became heavy.
I finished the sketch at my desk.

The main colours are: Mars Yellow for the brickwork and plants, Fired Gold Ochre for the reddish brickwork, Perylene Maroon and Prussian Blue, plus some Mars Yellow, to make the greys, and Green Apatite Genuine for the darker greens of the trees, with highlights of Green Gold. There’s a bit of Buff Titanium for the whitish tiled part on the ground floor. All colours are Daniel Smith watercolours.

Thanks to the staff and curators at London Picture Archive, I can add this marvellous photograph of The Palm Tree in 1971:

Palm Tree Public House 1971, LCC Photograph Library, image © London Metropolitan Archives (City of London), record no. 344336, catalogue number: SC_PHL_02_0976_71_35_340A_14A, used with permission, under licence.

Note the street sign: “Lessada Street” on the right which has vanished, and the brick block at the back on the left which has completely gone, as has the wonderful lamp-post.

Apart from that, it’s not very different. All around it has changed.

“The Palm Tree” from the North, 2nd Oct 2021

Clifton House 75-77 Worship Street EC2

This is the building on the corner of Worship Street and Clifton Street, on the northern edge of the City of London.

Clifton House, 75-77 Worship Street, EC2, 13 September 2021, 7″ x 10″ in Sketchbook 10
Location of the drawing

Holywell Street is to the left of the drawing. I sketched this from a bench in the little pedestrian square that now exists where Clifton Street meets Worship Street.

What is this building? Well, now it is inhabited by an organisation called “NEL NHS” according to the notice on the door. From what I can discover online, NEL stands for “North East London” and the organisation is an in-house consulting organisation for the NHS (the UK National Health Service). They are a “Commissioning Support Unit (CSU)” which means they supply services to, for example, GP practices, and area administrators of parts of the NHS. Computing projects and change programmes amongst the service offerings listed on their website. NEL is quite a big organisation. LinkedIn records it as having 967 employees of whom 457 work in London.

Clifton House circa 1920, from the website of the Tony and Sheelagh Williams Charitable Foundation.

That’s who’s there now. But the building has a history. It was built in 1900, for the printers Williams Lea. Williams Lea printed stamps, newspapers, and foreign language material. In the 1939-45 conflict, they printed UK government propaganda in German, which was dropped into Germany. They also printed the first copy of the Radio Times, in 1923, probably in this very building. Williams Lea has itself undergone various transformations, and is now called Perivan. The Perivan website has a history section which helpfully provided me with this information. (Note 1)

In 1978 Tony Williams took over the family business of Williams Lea. Under his leadership the business flourished. He took the decision

“to establish Williams Lea as a Financial Printer serving the City community with its specialist printing needs. This move coincided with the privatisations of many state-owned industries and utilities and in 1990 Williams Lea was awarded the printing for the privatisation of the electricity industry, one of the largest and most complex jobs of its type.” [https://www.tandswilliams.org/]

It did well. He sold the business in 2006, and with the money established a charitable foundation which exists today.

My drawing took 90 mins on location, with colour added later at my desk.

I spent a long time looking at this building. There are the large windows, which are also doors, so that large items can be lifted out from the different floors. Some of the windows have louvres for extraction fans.

There are many textures in the brickwork. Some cobwebs have been there a while.

Here is a 1945 map showing the location:

Map from “www.maps-of-london.com”

I sketched this location as a “microsketch” earlier this year:

Note 1: History of the building: references.

Pevsner LONDON 4: NORTH, page 525 refers to “Clifton House, at the corner of Clifton Street and Worship Street, another printers, (WIlliams Lea & Co) built 1900, five storeys, with handsome red brick arched windows.”

Perivan website: https://www.perivan.com/about-us/our-history/ Perivan say:

A Mr J E Lea became a partner of the business in 1864, and it was promptly renamed to Wertheimer Lea & Co. When John Wertheimer passed away in 1883, Mr J H Williams purchased his share (great grandfather of Philip Williams, who works within Perivan today). Over the years, J H Williams acquired the rest of the company and in 1899, Wertheimer Lea built a new factory in Worship Street, London, to consolidate 5 production sites. Now central London, at the time the new factory was built, it was possible to see fields from the top floor. The biggest USP was that all the machines were powered by electricity. The business was renamed in 1914 to Williams Lea to reflect the existing founders. A fun fact – Williams Lea printed the first edition of the Radio Times in 1923!……Throughout the wartime years, Williams Lea survived the blitz where many other printers did not. With its specialism in foreign language printing, this was understandably in very high demand at this point in history, and Williams Lea was heavily involved in the printing of propaganda materials in German which bombers distributed by throwing them out of aeroplanes over Germany – containing messages encouraging the enemy to give up. Williams Lee also printed newspapers for governments in exile in London, including Poland and Norway, and stamps for the Post Office.”

On a specialist postage stamp collectors site http://www.bermudastamps.co.uk/info/stamp-printers/ there is a reference to Williams Lea printing stamps:

“Williams Lea & Co
Contractor to De La Rue after their premises were bombed on 29th December 1940. William Lea & Co printed the Bermuda high value stamps during 1941.

Other historical information came from the website of the Tony and Sheelagh Williams Charitable Foundation.

A House in West London

I sketched these lovely houses in West London:

Houses in West London, 12″ x 9″ on Arches Aquarelle CP, [sold]

I enjoyed the television aerials, which look like runes or calligraphy, above the formal lines of the terrace of houses. The street was not as empty as I have drawn it. There were delivery vans coming and going, building work in progress, children being led to school, all manner of arrivals and departures.

I made a preliminary sketch, to make sure I’d understood the perspective. Here are photos of work in progress:

Guildhall Yard, London EC2

Here is the North West corner of the Guildhall Yard. The modern part is designed by Richard Gilbert Scott (note 1). What we are looking at, in pale concrete, is the Guildhall Library, and offices of the City of London Corporation. Behind it, you see the tops of the buildings on Wood Street.

In yellow stone, on the right of the drawing, is the old Guildhall, built in 1411 (note 2).

In the foreground you see the chairs, generously provided in the Guildhall Yard by the City of London, for public use. I commandeered a chair and a table and set myself up in a nice shady position next to the South East wall of the yard, between two gigantic plant pots.

Guildhall Yard, North West corner. 7th Sept 2021, 7″x10″ in Sketchbook 10

While I was drawing, someone took up residence the other side of the gigantic plant pot, and started a long and fascinating conversation on their phone. They were a recruitment agent, and embarked on a forceful sales pitch to a potential recruit. They were recruiting on behalf of a large bank in the City. They described the proposed future restructuring of said bank, and the nature of the forthcoming vacancy that was to be filled. They named the bank, which I will not do here. They aired details of the potential salary and work locations. After completing this gripping conversation, they immediately called a work colleague and gave an alarmingly candid opinion on the potential recruit they’d just been talking to. If you are thinking of having a conversation of this nature, the Guildhall Yard is perhaps not the most discrete place to choose!

At 3:45pm precisely, workers arrived and removed the chairs. I completed my drawing sitting on the flagstones.

This drawing took about 1½ hours, sketched and coloured on location. The main colours are Mars Yellow, Phthalo Blue Turquoise, and Transparent Brown Oxide, with some Perylene Maroon to make the greys. The chairs are Transparent Pyrrol Orange.

The screens, shown white in my drawing, advertise a performance of dance entitled “Black Victorians”, which is part of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival.

Note 1: The obituary of Richard Gilbert Scott refers to his work on the Guildhall Art Gallery and the Guildhall West Wing. It is here: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/jul/12/richard-gilbert-scott-obituary

Note 2: The original Guildhall building has a long history, and has been rebuilt and enhanced several times, most recently after bomb damage in the 1939-45 conflict. Its original completion date of 1411 is quoted in this article from 1848: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/old-new-london/vol1/pp383-396

I’ve sketched around the Guildhall often. Also I’ve sketched 65 Basinghall Street, which is another design by Richard Giles Scott.

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. It is dark and green in the former Nave of the church, whose pillars you can see on the right.…

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Guildhall from St Mary Aldermanbury EC2

At the junction of Love Lane and Aldermanbury in the City of London, there is a small park. If you are in the area, it’s well worth a visit. The parklet is on the site of St Mary Aldermanbury. A large marble…

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Gaslight in Guildhall Yard

The winter evening settles down With smell of steaks in passageways. Six o’clock. The burnt-out ends of smoky days. And now a gusty shower wraps The grimy scraps Of withered leaves about your feet And newspapers from vacant lots; The showers beat…

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65 Basinghall St EC2 from the plaza

In a previous post I presented a drawing of 65 Basinghall Street done from the bridge which is on the North side of the building. Here is the south side. 65 Basinghall Street is the building in front, with the scalloped arches.…

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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. 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…

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67 Redchurch Street E2, “Jolene” bakery

Jolene bakery is on the corner of Redchurch Street and Club Row.

Jolene, 67 Redchurch Street, from across the road. 19th August 2021. 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 10

This is a lively corner in a street on various edges: on the edge of the City, at the boundary between a new London and an old one, at the intersection of 21st century entrepreneurial culture and 19th century housing projects.

Redchurch Street is just North and West of Brick Lane. There are restaurants, independent clothes designers, hairdressers, and various 21st century businesses I couldn’t identify but categorised in my mind as broadly “creative”. It’s a good place to walk around, and Jolene is a great place to pause for coffee. They close at 3pm, though, so best be quick.

I arrived there at about 1pm today, and sat outside on one of their benches. Here’s the view looking up Club Row.

Looking North up Club Row, from “Jolene” Redchurch St. 9 September 2021, 2:45pm 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 10

Further North up Club Row, to the left of my drawing, is Arnold Circus. This is the centre point of the Boundary Estate which was the London County Council’s first social housing project, completed on 1900. I have drawn there and written about it here:

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