Friday, April 30, 2010

0.31 Buildings about Trafalgar Square

Is there anything so boring as talking about a bunch of old stone buildings. But the content, mixed with an appreciation of art architecture and history of these places offers some extraordinary things. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did, and I hope my remarks do them some justice.

Trafalgar Square is the heart of London, mostly because the city as grown along the roads that cross here. The Square itself has become an attraction. But it is the buildings around Trafalgar that offer the classic Regency vista, and elevate it to the rank of renowned World Square.

Here is a quick introduction to these buildings. Starting on the north side, and moving clockwise, the most prominent is the National Gallery. The National Portrait Gallery is just around the corner, on St Martin’s Place, at Charing Cross Road. The recently expanded St Martin’s-in-the-Fields Church on the northeast corner, and South Africa House on the East side offer wonderful contrast. There are some less remarkable buildings on the four corners between the Strand, Northumberland Avenue, Whitehall, The Mall, and Cockspur Street, that fan out from the south end of the square. From east to west, these commercial buildings were designed to complement the Regency concepts of Nash and Barry. Hidden around the corner in the southwest quadrant is the interesting edifice known universally as Admiralty Arch, part of the Admiralty complex, and built as part of a concept to memorialize Queen Victoria which stretches from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace, and is known primarily as The Mall.

The last significant structure, Canada House, stands on the west side of the Square.

Here is some detail;

The National Gallery, ( ), is the keystone to the surrounding vista, perched above the North Terrace. It has been arguably, a disappointment, said to be “disproportionate to the grand vistas found across London”. Built of Portland Stone, with a Portico featuring columns salvaged from Carlton House, (which stood nearby and was replaced by Carlton House Terrace as part of Nash’s Regency development ). Carlton House was demolished in 1829 as the National Gallery was being designed

Primarily criticisms site its long low profile across the North Terrace, crowned by an oddly proportioned drum supporting the central dome, framed by small pepper-pot turrets. Summerson refered to this skyline as 'like the clock and vases on a mantelpiece, only less useful'.

The important thing to remember is that this building offers work from most of the great artists of all time.

National Portrait Gallery (celebrating 150 years) -

Actually, just around the corner, facing St Martins in the Fields, new plaza entrance.

St Martins Place (see chapter 4).

St Martin’s-in-the-Fields Church -

St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, The Crypt, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 4JJ

A famous attraction, in its own right, (recently ranked # 30 in London, on a list that has hundreds of great considerations)

Start with the fact that it is very much an important church with ongoing spiritual efforts for the Community. AS such, it has an amazing history, dating back to Roman times, with an import boost from Henry VIII who supported the creation of a new church at this location, (in an effort to divert Traffic away from Whitehall), and continuing through popular culture today,.

There is now a modern and comprehensive visitor centre. My favorite consideration is the great music that continues, both with rehearsals, and scheduled events,.

Also worthy of generous consideration is The Café in the Crypt which may be the best value for a meal in the neighbourhood..

Also of note is the brass rubbing centre, a great activity for all ages, rain or shine.

The wesite above, has an extentive array of information and is well worth exploring.

also, and

The London Brass Rubbing Centre is rated as the # 47 attraction in London.

Tel: +44 [0]207 437 6023 Open : Mon-Sat 1000-1800, Sun 1200-1800. Closed Good Fri, 25-26 Dec and 1Jan Knights, unicorns, and kings are traditional brass rubbings for visitors to buy or.. make themselves. Also unusual Celtic designs and historical gifts. Materials and help provided

Just south of the church, across Duncannon Street is South Africa House -

Then there are the four buildings that arch across the southern perimeter of the square. Including one known as the Drummond Bank Building. They continue to serve as typical commercials enterprises. I hope to update this info sometime soon.

- the building at the corner of Strand & Northumberland Avenue,

- the building at the corner of Northumberland Avenue & Whitehall,

- the building at the corner of Northumberland Avenue & Whitehall,

Admiralty Arch

The Admiralty Arch stands across the southwestern corner of the Sq., not visible unless you are standing next to the Equestrian statue of King Charles I. The Arch gives a striking view down the triumphal avenue of the Mall with the Victoria Memorial and Buckingham Palace closing the vista.

- the buildings along Cockspur Street.

Finally, there is Canada House – ,

Originally finished in 1827, with the design from Sir Robert Smirke, as a joint venture with the Royal College of Physicians and the Union Club, the building was acquired by the Canadian Government nearly one hundred years later, just after World War One.

This concludes my thoughts about the centre of London.

From here I hope you will join me in the exploration of the London the stretches out from here.

Cheers, Bobby T.

No comments:

Post a Comment