Bradshaw, St George’s Church, & the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

Mr Bradshaw introduced me to St George’s, Bloomsbury, ‘..the church with the peculiar steeple built by Nicholas Hawksmoor in 1730..’.

St George's Church, Bloomsbury (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/old-new-london/vol4/pp535-545)
St George’s Church, Bloomsbury (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/old-new-london/vol4/pp535-545)

St George's, Bloomsbury

St George's, Bloomsbury

The steeple is apparently ‘..inspired by Pliny’s description of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus..’, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Pliny apparently said ‘..the monument was almost square, with a total periphery of 411 feet (125 m). It was bounded by 36 columns, and the top formed a 24-step pyramid surmounted by a four-horse marble chariot..’. (More detailed description here.) The Mausoleum was built c.370 BC and stood until the Middle Ages when it was severely damaged by an earthquake. There are many images of reconstructions on the internet:

The Mausoleum, Halicarnassus (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tombeau_de_Mausole_(Barclay)_crop.jpg)
The Mausoleum, Halicarnassus (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tombeau_de_Mausole_(Barclay)_crop.jpg)

The church of St George’s fell into disuse and disrepair in the 20C, until in 2001 it became a World Monuments Fund Heritage Site, supported with major funding for restoration.

St George's, Bloomsbury (http://www.wmf.org.uk/projects/view/st_georges_bloomsbury/overview)
St George’s, Bloomsbury (http://www.wmf.org.uk/projects/view/st_georges_bloomsbury/overview)

The ‘Beasts of Bloomsbury’ were recreated by Tim Crawley.

The mausoleum has inspired other buildings, such as the Masonic Temple in Washington; the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne; 14 Wall Street, New York, built in 1931-32 (the cone shape became the logo for Bankers Trust, do you remember?); and even the Campanile in San Marco, Venice.

You may also be interested in
Photographs & brief information
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

3 comments

    • Ah, then the post, and Mr Bradshaw have done their work! We all hurry past, on the way to work, until we have the time to stop and look. At first glance this church is still a rather dirty Greek Temple; you need a zoom lens and a word like ‘peculiar’ before you really see the steeple!

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      • Indeed. There is an interesting little book called ‘London’s lost rivers’ by Paul Talling, and quite a lot on the internet as well. Perhaps this is another series…

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