Monday, July 21, 2008

Paddington Street, London

This is a former Church Institute and Club just off Marylebone High Street. The inscription above the entrance is a bit ambiguous – did the building accommodate the Church of the Good Shepherd as well as the club? The Good Shepherd himself is certainly there above the door.

The inscription gives the building’s date as 1898. and the slightly mixed-up Tudorish style is typical of the time. On either side of the panel containing the inscription are little attached columns with Ionic capitals and restless shafts that change width every few inches (if you click on the picture you can see these these more clearly). This is the kind of bizarre detail the Tudors loved (before English architecture became more chastely Classical under the influence of Palladianism) and that the late-Victorians loved to imitate. The Victorian builders added their own touches too, varying the glowing red brick with bands of paler terracotta.

But for all the weirdness of the detailing, buildings like this are eminently practical. Big windows and generous interior spaces mean a structure like this is unlikely to be short of users, ensuring its survival in all its red and stripy glory.


Peter Ashley said...

I want to do a rubbing of that lettering below the Good Shepherd. It's like an Art Nouveau magazine title page.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Yes, nice lettering, isn't it? It reminded me of the old, early-1900s Everyman's Library books that one still often sees in secondhand bookshops. I hope to have something to say some time on this blog about Art Nouveau and its English forms. People think of Art Nouveau as something French (or Belgian), and I often run into it in Prague, but it has its English versions too.

Peter Ashley said...

My favourite items of Art Nouveau were two brass candle sconces in the form of a lily leaf, complete with a frog on each. They were on the wall of the hall of my Aunty Ruthie's bungalow in the Chilterns. Her father was the station master at Marylebone. Marylebone, Chilterns, Art Nouveau, it all starts to add up.