Lansdown Crescent, Bath


Lansdown Crescent, Bath
Postmarked 1905
Publisher: M.J. Ridley, Bournemouth

Lansdown Crescent is a well-known example of Georgian architecture in Bath, Somerset, England, designed by John Palmer and constructed by a variety of builders between 1789 and 1793. The buildings have a clear view over central Bath, being sited on Lansdown Hill near to, but higher than, other well-known Georgian buildings including the Royal Crescent, St James’s Square, Bath and The Circus, Bath. It forms the central part of a string of curved terraces, including Lansdown Place East and West, and Someset Place, which were the northernmost boundary of the development of Georgian Bath.

The crescent was laid out by John Palmer who ensured that the three-storey fronts of the buildings were of uniform height and had matching doors and windows. The attic rooms are under a parapet and slate mansard roof. Other builders were then able to construct the houses behind the facade. The commission was from Charles Spackman, leading to the original name of the terrace being Spackman’s Buildings. . . . The crescent, which is a grade I listed building, comprises 20 houses, each originally having four floors together with a basement and sub-basement levels below ground.
Wikipedia

Scott’s Cave, Rokeby, Barnard Castle


Scott’s Cave
Postmarked 1903
“Stoddart’s Series”, photographer Metcalfe

Artificial cave, cut into limestone cliff. C18 or early C19. Rectangular recess 2.5 metres wide and 2 metres deep, with stone bench and upright slabs at each corner supporting roof. Sir Walter Scott on his frequent visits to Rokeby used to sit and write in the cave.
Historic England

Rokeby has never had a formal or man-made garden. Instead it is blessed with a natural context of unrivalled beauty provided by the courses of the Greta and the Tees. The Tees runs from west to east half a mile to the north; the Greta from south to north a few hundred yards to the east. They converge at the Meeting of the Waters, a local beauty spot accessed along Mortham Lane. The last mile of the Greta runs through the Park. The walk along the Greta was described in 1769 as ‘romantic’ and in 1778 as ‘calculated for contemplation and religious rhapsody’. At all events, it provided the scenery for John Sell Cotman to paint on his visit in 1805 and for Sir Walter Scott to describe in his poetic history ‘Rokeby’ dedicated to J.B.S.Morritt and first published in 1813. The eagle-eyed will spot Scott’s Cave in the cliff face on the east bank. In Canto V he described the scene around him at eventide in words which describe it now:

“The stately oaks, whose sombre frown
Of noontide made a twilight brown,
Impervious now to fainter light,
Of twilight make an early night.
Hoarse into middle air arose
The vespers of the roosting crows,
And with congenial, murmurs seem
To wake the Genii of the stream;
For louder clamour’d Greta’s tide,
And Tees in deeper voice replied,
And fitful waked the evening wind,
Fitful in sighs its breath resign’d
Rokeby Park

Full poem

Bank of England, London


London. The Bank of England.
1900s
Publisher: F. Frankel & Co, London

Google Street view

27 July 1694: The Bank of England began as a private bank that would act as a banker to the Government. It was primarily founded to fund the war effort against France. The King and Queen of the time, William and Mary, were two of the original stockholders. The original Royal Charter of 1694, granted by King William and Queen Mary, explained that the Bank was founded to “promote the public Good and Benefit of our People”. In essence, this is still used today in our current mission statement: “Promoting the good of the people of the United Kingdom by maintaining monetary and financial stability”. The Bank of England opened for business on 1 August 1694 in temporary accommodation in the Mercers’ Hall in Cheapside. It had a staff of just 17 clerks and two gatekeepers.
. . .
In 1734, the Bank of England moved to the site on Threadneedle Street where it still stands today. Slowly, over the next 100 years or so, the Bank bought adjacent properties until it owned the entire 3.5-acre site in the heart of the City of London. Our first architect George Sampson created the first purpose-built bank in the UK on the site. It was said to be Palladian in style, identified by its symmetry and classic design. Payment by the Bank to contractors for the balance of the new building in 1734 was £268, 17 shillings, and two pence.
. . .
Between 1925 and 1939, Bank of England architect Sir Herbert Baker demolished what had become known as ‘the old Bank’ or ‘Soane’s Bank’. The old Bank, designed by architect Sir John Soane, was regarded as one of London’s architectural gems. Sir Herbert built a new headquarters for the Bank of England on the same 3.5-acre Threadneedle Street site. The old Bank of England had mostly been no more than three storeys high. The new building stood seven storeys above ground, and dropped three below to fit in the extra staff needed to tackle the Bank’s rapidly increasing amount of work and responsibility.
Bank of England

Following images are from “Monumental classic architecture in Great Britain and Ireland during the eighteenth & nineteenth centuries”, Albert Edward Richardson, 1914, between pages 38 & 39, and 42 & 43.

Ground Floor Plan
Entrance from Lothbury courtyard
View in Governor’s Courtyard
Entry Vestible, from Princes Street
Treasury Corridor
Consol’s Office
The Court Room
Private Drawing Office
Public Drawing Office
Public Drawing Office

General Post Office, London


General Post Office
Postmarked 1908

Google Street View (approximate)

Originally known as the General Letter Office, the headquarters for the General Post Office (GPO) was built on the eastern side of St. Martin’s Le Grand in the City of London between 1825 and 1829, to designs by Robert Smirke. . . . It was built in the Grecian style with Ionic porticoes, and was 400 feet (120 m) long and 80 feet (24 m) deep. The building’s main facade had a central hexastyle Greek Ionic portico with pediment, and two tetrastyle porticoes without pediments at each end. The main interior was the large letter-carriers’ room, with its elegant iron gallery and spiral staircase.

While externally attractive, however, the building suffered from internal shortcomings. Poor layout meant that work requiring bright light was conducted in poorly illuminated areas; odours spread from the lavatories to the kitchens, while the combination of gas lighting and poor ventilation meant that workers often felt nauseous. The expansion of the work of the Post Office also meant that by the later 19th century it was occupied well beyond its intended capacity; The Times reported in 1860 that “rooms have been overcrowded, closets turned into offices, extra rooms hung by tie rods to the girders of the ceiling”. . . The original Smirke building was closed in 1910 and demolished in 1912.
Wikipedia

The story goes back to the era before Rowland Hill’s Penny Post and had its opening chapter during the glory days of the mail coach. The Post Office had been established in the City since the mid-17th century but it was in 1829 that the Post Office moved from cramped premises in Lombard St to a new home in an imposing neoclassical building nearer St Paul’s. Situated on the east side of St Martin’s-Le-Grand it was Grand by address, grand in design and become known fondly as ‘The Grand’ by its occupants. The new building housed the Postmaster General, The Secretary and his administrative staff together with the main sorting offices for mail for London, the provinces and overseas. The building, designed by Robert Smirke, was the best known public face of the Post Office in London throughout the Victorian period. After much internal alteration to cope with the enormous growth in business, it was eventually – and controversially – demolished in 1912-13.
The Postal Museum

Watch Tower, Eston Nab, North Yorkshire


Watch Tower, Eston Nab.
Postmarked 1906
Publisher: Brittain & Wright, Stockton-on-Tees

Google Street View (approximate).

In the south-eastern section of the hillfort, where a modern monument marks its position there are the remains of a square, stone beacon. This is situated within a small quadrangular enclosure and is believed to have been erected in the early 19th century when it served as a beacon or lookout post during the Napoleonic wars.
Historic England

With the advent of ironstone mining in Eston Hills, the beacon was used as a house and survived until 1956. It was then demolished and later rebuilt into its present form. A plaque on the side of the monument reads:

This monument is placed here to mark the
site of the beacon tower which was erected
by Thomas Jackson of Lackenby about 1800 as
a look-out post against invasion during the
Napoleonic wars and which again served the same
purpose in the second world war of 1939–1945.
It stands within a Bronze Age fortified
camp whose outer defences can be seen.
Erected in 1956.
Wikipedia.

Leeds Castle, Kent


Leeds Castle | near Maidstone
1900s

Google Street View.

The Royal Manor was originally built in 857AD and owned by a Saxon royal family. After the Norman Conquest, work began on building the first stone castle on the site. In 1278 the Castle became a royal palace for Edward I and his Queen, Eleanor of Castile. Major improvements were made to the castle during the reign of Edward I. The Barbican, constructed during this time, is unique in that it is made up of three parts, each having its own entrance, drawbridge, gateway and portcullis. The medieval Keep, incorporating the Great Hall, is called the Gloriette, in honour of Queen Eleanor.

In 1321, King Edward II gave the castle to his Royal Steward. When Edwards’ Queen Isabella arrived at the Castle seeking shelter however, she was refused admission and even fired upon by archers. Edward II was not amused and successfully lay siege to the castle. Six years later Edward was murdered but Queen Isabella kept the castle until she died in 1358.
Historic UK

Her grandson was King Henry VII, the first of the Tudor dynasty, and it was his son, King Henry VIII who ordered major alteration to the castle between 1517 and 1523. The castle was hereby transformed from a fortified stronghold to a magnificent royal palace. In 1552, after nearly 30 years of Royal ownership, Leeds Castle was granted to Sir Anthony St Leger for a yearly rental of £10, in recompense for his services to King Henry VIII in subjugating the uprising in Ireland. During the next two centuries, the castle changed its ownership numerous times. Unlike many other castles, Leeds was left relatively undamaged during the Civil War. It suffered however, major damages during the 1660s, as it was used as a place of detention for French and Dutch prisoners of war, who at one point set fire to the Gloriette, causing destruction which was only repaired in 1822.
Castles Today

After the 7th Lord Fairfax’s death in 1793, the castle was passed onto various distant relatives until in 1821 Fiennes Wykeham Martin inherited and commissioned architect William Baskett to survey the castle. The report was devastating. The mill and barbican were in ruins, the gatehouse and inner gatehouse in disrepair, the Maiden’s Tower was in imminent danger of collapse, the main Jacobean house was decaying and the Gloriette was more or less a ruin. Wykeham Martin decided to demolish the main house and replace it with one in the Tudor style. The resulting New Castle, externally changed little today, was finished by 1823, an extraordinarily swift process. The gaping hole that had disfigured the Gloriette since 1665 was repaired and the internal walls rebuilt in stone and the moat was cleared and cleaned. Unfortunately the cost of the rebuild caused Wykeham Martin financial difficulties and he was forced to sell the contents of the Castle at auction.
Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle is a very peculiar structure. It stands upon three rocky knolls, of which two are islands in a lake of 15 acres, and the third occupies the central part of the artificial bank by which, as at Kenilworth and Caerphilly, and in some degree at Framlingham and Ragland, the waters are or were retained. . . . The domestic buildings occupied the north end of the two wards, and are replaced by a modern house, excepting only a vaulted cellar, which may be late Norman, and is certainly the oldest known masonry in the place, and a bracket which supported the ancient oven, and is placed near what is described as “Una coquina juxta pedem pontis de la Gloriet,” which kitchen was not long since removed. In this ward also, or rather partly in this and partly in the outer ward, near a building of the age of Henry VIII., is a very remarkable bath,—“balnea domini regis apud Ledes,” as it is designated, which was constructed for the use of Edward I. in 1291–2. This is now used as a boathouse.
Mediæval Military Architecture in England, Vol. II, George Thomas Clark, 1884


The Castles of England: their story and structure, James Dixon Mackenzie, 1896-7, pp.24

The Leeds Castle which Horace Walpole visited in 1752 is not altogether the place we see now, with its towers and walls rising so splendidly from the lake, which water Walpole, in his misleading way, calls “the only handsom object;” for in 1822, in place of the sixteenth century mansion erected on the central island by Sir Richard Smith, the existing buildings were constructed in the Tudor style, a great part of the inner bailey and of the keep having been the work of Henry YIII. The Len stream flowing through the property afforded the one great element of defence on which our ancestors chiefly relied ; here some twenty acres surrounding the castle might by means of sluices be turned into a lake if occasion required.

The situation of this fortress was a most suitable one in the days of water defence : it occupies two natural rock islands in the lake, a third artificial one being formed at the land end by the bank and sluices which controlled the water, and on which were placed the barbicans and the castle mill. The whole of the centre island was reveted with an outer or curtain wall, 15 feet high, rising from the waters, liaving four rounded bastion towers, and drawbridges at each end, admitting at the S. end from the barbican island, and giving passage at the N. point to the furthermost island, called the Old Castle or ” Gloriette,” which was the keep of the fortress. . . . The domestic buildings, which occupied the N. end of this island, are now replaced by a fine modern mansion, having vaulted Norman cellarage. On the E. side is the Maidens’ Tower of Henry VIII., before alluded to, and also the interesting bathhouse built by Edward I. in 1292, and now used as a boathouse. Baths were an innovation at the close of the thirteenth century, which Edward may have brought in from the East.

Entering the citadel from the modern mansion, one passes by the entrance through the Curfew Tower, which contains an ancient bell, that has sounded the eight o’clock curfew for four and a hall centuries and does so still . . . The bridge had formeiy two openings, with lifting bridges operated on by a central tower of two storeys ; it was called the Pons Glorietta. On the left, in entering the keep, is the chapel, built by Edward I. in 1380, having good Early English windows. The walls of these buildings rise out of the water to a considerable height, and are placed round a small central court. Much of the work is of the fourteenth century. This part was severely injured by a fire during its occupation by Evelyn’s Dutch sailors, so that a good deal is modern. There is, however, the great dining-hall of Henry VlII.’s castle, now converted into the kitchen, while the ancient kitchen has become a larder. Overhead is the Queen’s bed-chamber, with a line mantel- piece and an immense bed.
The Castles of England: their story and structure, James Dixon Mackenzie, 1896-7, pp.27-8

Pagoda, Kew Gardens, London


Pagoda, Kew Gardens
Postmarked 1906
Publisher: Millar & Lang, Glasgow

Google Street View.

Kew’s Pagoda was completed in 1762 as a gift for Princess Augusta, the founder of the Gardens. It was one of several Chinese buildings designed for Kew by Sir William Chambers, who had spent time travelling and studying the architecture of East Asia. A popular ‘folly’ of the age, it offered one of the earliest and finest bird’s eye views of London
Royal Botatanic Gardens, Kew

The Great Pagoda was completed in only six months. The speed of completion and the quality of construction were points of pride for Chambers; “the walls of the building are composed of very hard bricks…neatly laid, and with such care, that there is not the least crack or fracture in the whole structure, notwithstanding its great height, and the expedition with which it was built”. 80 gilded dragons decorated the roofs of its ten storeys although these had been removed by 1784. The height of the building impressed contemporaries; in 1762, Horace Walpole wrote to a friend, “the Pagoda at Kew begins to rise above the trees and soon you will see it from Yorkshire”.
Wikipedia.

At the time of its construction it was considered so unusual that people were unconvinced it would remain standing. Chambers studied oriental architecture in China, but when he designed Kew’s pagoda he ignored the rules. Pagodas should have an odd number of floors, traditionally seven (rather than ten), believed to represent seven steps to heaven. The Great Pagoda was the most accurate reconstruction of a Chinese building in Europe at the time. It was originally flanked by a Moorish Alhambra and a Turkish Mosque, follies that were all the rage in the great gardens of the time.
Wordl Heritage Journeys

The dragons are back at Kew after more than two centuries, tails curled, wings neatly furled to make them less of a wind catcher, gazing down with glittering eyes on the acres of gardens and thousands of visitors far below. . . . Legends insisted they were made of gem-studded enamelled bronze or even solid gold, and that they were stripped off the pagoda to settle the Prince of Wales’s gambling debts, or to decorate his extraordinary oriental-styled in Brighton. The truth was more boring. Chambers took them off when he restored the building in 1784, because although they looked magnificent, they were made of cheap pine and after a spell of atrocious weather – the Thames froze over in 1783 – they were rotten.

Their replacements, blazing in green, blue, red and gold, guard a secret. The eight at ground level were hand carved from cedar wood, but the 72 dragons on the higher floors were produced on a 3D printer. “The biggest engineering problem we had was attaching the dragons to the roofs,” Putnam said. “They didn’t worry much about health and safety in the 18th century, but the biggest of the printed ones weigh less than 10 kilos, and the wooden ones weigh a quarter tonne – to make them all in wood we’d have had to punch the original structure through and through with steel-reinforcing rods to hold them.”
The Guardian

Stone Castle, Stone, Kent


Stone Castle
c.1910
“Snowden’s Series”

Google Street View (approximate).

Mediaeval and circa 1825. In the south-east corner of the building is a mediaeval, probably late C12, square tower of 3 storeys faced with knapped flints with some stone quoins. Parapet over it. Two arrow slit windows in the north wall and a circular stair turret. The other windows are modern. To the north-west of this is a house of circa 1825 which was altered by Henry Hakewill (died 1830).
Historic England

Stone Castle is located in the village of Stone, 10 km away from Gravesend. Dating from the mid 11th century, the castle was thought to have been built without licence during the reign of King Stephen, but later allowed to remain by Henry II on his accession to the throne. In 1165 Thomas A Becket stopped at Stone Castle on his way to Canterbury. It is believed that the castle fell into disrepair and was rebuilt in the 13th century. . . . In 1660 the Stone Castle changed owners again when it became the property of Dr Thomas Plume, Arch Deacon of Rochester. The existing house was built onto the old tower in 1825 and further extended 13 years later.
Castles and Palaces of the World

Bridge of Don, Aberdeen


New Bridge of Don, Aberdeen
Postmarked & dated 1917
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View (approximate).

The Bridge of Don is a five-arch bridge of granite crossing the River Don just above its mouth in Aberdeen, Scotland. In 1605 Alexander Hay executed a Charter of Mortification for the maintenance of the 13th century Brig o’ Balgownie further upstream, which later became the Bridge of Don Fund, which financed several bridges in the north-east of Scotland. This fund having accumulated a value of over GB£20,000, the patrons of the fund, the town council, sought an Act of Parliament to permit construction of a new bridge in 1825. The original design by John Gibb and John Smith was modified by Thomas Telford, and construction work started in 1827. Problems with the foundations meant it had to be partly taken down and have additional piles sunk. It was opened free to the public with no toll in 1830 and later gave its name to the suburb of the city on the north bank.
Wikipedia.

Marble Arch, London


The Marble Arch, London
Postmarked 1908
“The Auto Photo Series”

Marble Arch is a 19th-century white marble-faced triumphal arch in London, England. The structure was designed by John Nash in 1827 to be the state entrance to the cour d’honneur of Buckingham Palace; it stood near the site of what is today the three-bayed, central projection of the palace containing the well-known balcony. In 1851, on the initiative of architect and urban planner Decimus Burton, a one-time pupil of John Nash, it was relocated and following the widening of Park Lane in the early 1960s to where it is now sited, incongruently isolated, on a large traffic island at the junction of Oxford Street, Park Lane and Edgware Road. . . . Nash’s three-arch design is based on that of the Arch of Constantine in Rome and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in Paris. The triumphal arch is faced with Carrara marble with embellishments of marble extracted from quarries near Seravezza. . . . Construction began in 1827, but was cut short in 1830, following the death of the spendthrift King George IV—the rising costs were unacceptable to the new king, William IV, who later tried to offload the uncompleted palace onto Parliament as a substitute for the recently destroyed Palace of Westminster. Work restarted in 1832, this time under the supervision of Edward Blore, who greatly reduced Nash’s planned attic stage and omitted its sculpture, including the statue of George IV. The arch was completed in 1833.
Wikipedia.

Street View