This amazing Tudor image of the Abbey and the Old Palace of Westminster brings to life the descriptions of an island site and its buildings. (It can be difficult to imagine the past – try this blog.)
The Old Palace of Westminster (interesting blog and photos). On 16 October 1834 the Palace burned down, apart from Westminster Hall, the undercroft of St Stephen’s Chapel, and the Jewel Tower.
‘..The construction of the new Palace began in 1840. While Barry estimated a construction time of six years, at an estimated cost of £724,986, the project in fact took more than 30 years, at a cost of over £2 million. The first stone of the building was laid by Barry’s wife on 27 August 1840. The site was extended into the river by reclaiming land, to a total of about eight acres..’.
Mr Bradshaw finishes his description of the buildings by saying: ‘..let us hope [the stately Palace of the Parliament] will never forfeit its highest claim to our admiration as the classical sanctuary of Britain’s intellectual greatness, the chosen palladium of her proudest attributes – freedom, eloquence, and power..’.
Walking along Lord North Street to St John’s, I found these signs for air raid shelters. (General facts here.)
The Church of St John the Evangelist was built in 1728 by Thomas Archer, and usually referred to as ‘Queen Anne’s Footstool’, in reference to the towers at the four corners of the building! In 1710 Parliament set up The Commission for Building Fifty New Churches. This was in response to the rapid expansion of the capital. The target was not achieved, but St John’s was one of the churches, which became collectively known as Queen Anne Churches. The building was bombed during WWII, restored, and reopened as a concert venue in 1969 – St John’s, Smith Square.
The burial ground for St John’s is a block away, across Horseferry Road.
And on one side is this memorial to Christopher Cass, 1678-1734. He was a ‘..conspicuously successful master mason whose team worked in London, Cambridge and at a number of large country houses..’. He worked on St John’s and other churches as a result of the ‘Fifty Churches’ Act, but also worked outside London, at Blenheim and Chevening, amongst others. The article is a fascinating insight into a craftsman’s life – do read it.
Horseferry Road is named, literally, after the river crossing, and marks the beginning of a long walk along Millbank.
I would love to hear from you!