Marble Arch was originally designed as an entrance to Buckingham Palace by the architect John Nash in 1827 but was completed in 1833 by Edward Blore. A well known but untrue story is that it was moved to its present site at Hyde Park because it was too narrow for Queen Victoria’s state coach to pass through, however the coach passed through the arch in 1838 on the way to her coronation without any problems; more likely it was moved as Queen Victoria and her family needed more space and the fourth wing of the Palace was built where it once stood. It moved to its current location in 1850.
This striking looking building is Cheniston Lodge in Kensington, designed in the Queen Anne style and dating from 1885. During the Second World War it was used as an Air Raid precaution store and depot and then converted to a Register Office, and now appears to have returned to being a home. Interestingly the Lodge itself was built on the site of what had been the Catholic University College, set up by Thomas Capel in 1874 to provide higher education to Catholics who were banned at the time from attending Oxford and Cambridge. The site was sold off in 1879 as the University’s experiment ended in failure, mostly due to lack of funds.
There are many interesting sculptures in London’s Hyde Park and the two below are simply those that I took a quick detour to investigate while on my way from Marble Arch Tube to Tyburn Convent.
The Houses of Parliament, or more correctly the Palace of Westminster, doesn’t really need any introduction. It is thanks to a fire which destroyed much of the site of the palace in 1834 that we owe the present design of the building (the Jewel Tower was among the few buildings to survive intact).
These buildings on Courtfield Road in Kensington, now very nice looking flats, were built by J.R. and W.H. Roberts in May 1880 and designed by Walter Graves. The section pictured would have been the “lesser rooms” with the nicest section facing the gardens at the back (which I didn’t think to investigate at the time). You can find the original floor plans and more details here.
Here’s another post about some of the plaques to be found around London. The first is on the site of the Westminster office of the Penny Post, on Gerrard Street, the first building to operate as a post office in Westminster in 1794. The London Penny Post itself was established in 1680 to deliver mail around London for, you guessed it, one penny. The Two Penny Post was established in 1801.
Named after Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort, the Albert Pub in Victoria is a Grade II listed building noted for its exterior decor. It’s built on the site of an earlier pub called The Blue Coat Boy and was built in around 1862. Many of the features, including the wrought iron balconies, are original.
Parliament Square is just to the northwest of the Houses of Parliament, a patch of greenery notable for its statues. It was created in 1868 and redesigned again in 1950. There are eleven statues on the square, only a few of which I will showcase here. I wasn’t able to photograph them all due to the sizeable crowds of tourists taking their own photos.
In this occasional series on London plaques, the first remembers John Peake Knight, an engineer from Nottingham who was a railway manager and inventor of the world’s first traffic lights.