Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Look Up!

One thing I took time to do was look up at the many adornments found on London buildings.  The folks in the past who wished to show off their cash did so by lots of twiddly bits on the structure and a variety of carvings supposedly reflecting their business.  Time has passed and many of their places are now occupied by another but the residue cannot be taken away without harm to the look so they remain happily in place.
Salisbury House was opened in 1901 and runs from the side street into Finsbury Circus and along 'London Wall.'  The position on which it stands was occupied by the 'Bethlem Hospital' better known as 'Bedlam' from 1676 to 1815.  A variety of occupants now fill the offices.  

Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury,  KG, GCVO, PC, FRS, was, as you know, Prime Minister three times between 1885 and 1902.  He led the nation Tony Blair style into the Boer War amongst other things and led the Conservative Party from the House of Lords, not something that would go down too well today.  In 1902 he passed on the PM job to one Arthur Balfour, his nephew by the way.  Hmmm...  
He himself died a year later in his 70's.   I suspect the office block was named after he.                          

This 15 foot lighthouse stands high up on the corner of a building in Moorgate.  It was possibly while the occupiers were known as the 'Ocean Accident and Guarantee Corporation' that the Lighthouse appeared.  In times past it appears a light actually shone from the top!  The company has long since been swallowed up by one and that by another until today they are part of 'Aviva' and have long left the building.  

It is clear the ocean had an influence on the man asked to add flowery bits to the building.  Poseidon glowers magnificently at the buses shoveling fumes up his nose and he does not appear happy about this.

Why horses?  In Greek mythology Poseidon the god of the sea had a horse as his sign, go figure!  Interestingly and on a different subject, some say he was also god of earthquakes, remember 'Troy?  That was taken by a 'wooden horse' and some say the city thought to have been Troy was destroyed in an earthquake several times.  2 + 2 leads to speculation.
Today the building belongs to 'Habib Zurich' a bank based in Pakistan.  It was closed so I didn't ask for money.

I remain perplexed as to what the bare breasted lassie has to do with Lloyds building.  The Globe makes sense but the Owl or the Beehive must be obvious to someone, not me.  

Another large office block that I suspect but canny find evidence for was built about 1900 ish.  It shows the pretentious lust for Empire that lusted within the London heart before the Great War.  This doorway is full of it, the flagpole being one of the few remaining but I suspect at that time a great many more were able to fly their flag on important occasions.

This magnificent Phoenix rises from the fire above a building whose whereabouts I forget.  He manages to possess two flagpoles alongside him and must be an impressive sight when the flags fly.
While the buildings change the companies that use them it is good that such things can be seen still and these are fabulous creatures, even if a bit over the top somewhat.

The thing about 'looking up' is to look 'up' at buildings on the other side of the street otherwise you cannot see items properly and are better aware of the surroundings thus avoiding lampposts and other obstacles.   On the side wall of the Mansion House I saw this fading notice.  Clearly in times past poster posters and other miscreants did not consider this a building to respect.

'Popes Head Alley' intrigued me as I wondered if at one time the alley possessed one on a stick, an old London habit.  However it was the 'Popes head Tavern' that stood there, a place of refreshment that goes back into the mists of time, certainly the 1400s saw a tavern here.  Samuel Pepys stopped playing with Mrs Fitzimmons for a while and had his first "Dish of tea" alongside "Cakes and other fine things" at the tavern.  It of course suffered under the Great Fire but was rebuilt on the same spot.

It appears that at one time there were many 'Church Courts in London and much confusion was caused by their appearance.  So in the fullness of time these were renamed to stop people landing miles from where they ought to be.  This one does not appear on Google Maps and neither does St Margaret!  It's a funny old world innit?

When William the conqueror arrived in 1066 there were many Jews who arrived alongside him.  The main role given them was money lending as this was banned among 'Christians' at the time.  After Williams enthronement the commercial life of the nation was encouraged by Jewish money lending.  Times have not changed that much as this system, not just with Jewish money has continued and developed greatly in the last 35 years, note the economic collapse!  Jews were useful as money men but also the English fear and lack of understanding of those who are different soon raised its head.  Jealousy gives way to lies and bad propaganda and the Great Synagogue was closed because of the trouble brewing for the Jewish population.  The London area where they lived was called 'Old Jewery,' a magnificent coincidence!  The Pograms saw riots and mass murder in several places and Edward I, the barbaric thug of a King, threw them out of the land in 1290.   Jews remained banned until Oliver Cromwell allowed them to return in 1656.  Famously many arrived in the East Eng during the 19th century and were again objects of racist abuse.  Charles Dickens chose 'Fagin the Jew' as his leading bad character because he disliked Jews.  He would go down well in UKIP today.

Along Wood Street we find this huge concrete block that is the main police HQ.  Naturally the door was shut!  It appears that all police stations are closed or only work part time, just like criminals!  The idea being we are all on social media and able to contact the Rozzers any time we like.  Not if we are old constable, or sick, don't carry a phone or a hundred other reasons.
This concrete block of a building which towers above is a result of the Blitz.  The whole area bar one church tower was flattened and rebuilt in a white brutalist dull style.  Not a street to loiter in.
Just to the side of the PC home lies a small lane called 'Lovers Lane,' hmmm...

The Tower of Sta Alban is all that remains of a church that may have stood here since Offa King of Mercia, he of building a Dyke fame, began dedicating churches to Alban and some claim this was one of his.  Certainly a church was here in the days of King John and any building was destroyed during that Great Fire, so many buildings we see were burnt out over a great area.  During the Second World War the Luftwaffe took a dislike to the church and most of it was burnt out.  The shell was demolished in 1965 and the area renovated.  The Tower remained and I just read is a private dwelling, good luck to him mate!  I hope the bell has gone.



the fly in the web said...

Leo will be busy on this...working out whether he knows the various alleys, etc...
Many thanks for a quiet evening...

Lee said...

Another fascinating post, Adullamite, brimming with interesting history.

Wonderful adornments...true examples of the talents of humans when those talents are used correctly. I wonder if there is anyone these days who could craft such beauties.

Adullamite said...

Fly, One day I will return and take more narrow alleys. The vast number of towering blocks may have removed many.

Lee, History is always around you, even on that hill. Super craft in many of these items but too expensive for developers today.

carol in cairns said...

Another nice collection of themed photos Sir. Well done.

Lady Di Tn said...

Thanks for the historical tour with photos that I have enjoyed enlarging and studiding the details. Peace

Adullamite said...

Carol, Ta much.

Lady, Anytime missus.