Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Whitechapel Road (Londonopoly #8)

This is number eight in our occasional series of Londonopoly, an exploration of public clocks in the real-life locations on the standard UK Monopoly board. Last time we looked at Old Kent Road, square number one, so lets keep moving round the board - hence we arrive at Whitechapel Road.

This is the Albion Brewery of Mann, Crossman and Paulin brewers, although subsequently amalgamated into a series of larger companies.

The brewery was built in the 1860's, and closed in 1979.

The brewery is at the non-city end of the road. Moving towards the city, we come to where some of those who overindulged in the brewery's products might have ended up - the Royal London Hospital.

The hospital was founded as the London Infirmary in 1740, becoming the London Hospital in 1748. It moved to its current site in 1757, and was granted the Royal prefix in 1990 to mark its 250th anniversary.

A major new extension to the hospital (the big blue glass building) has been opened in recent years.

The statue is on a drinking fountain on the other side of the road.

Th original building is now behind hoardings, as the medical functions have been moved to the new building. The site has been purchased by Tower Hamlets council for possible conversion into a civic centre.

Our third clock is a much more recent addition at the western end of the road.

The clock is mounted on a lighting column on the pavement side of Altab Ali Park.

This was originally St Mary's Park, named after the 14th century church of St Mary Matfelon which was subsequently destroyed during the Blitz in 1940. The park was re-named in 1998 in memory of Altab Ali, a Bangladeshi worker who was murdered locally in 1978.

If we are going around the board, our next stop in this series should be Kings Cross station, but no promises.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Open House London 2016

This weekend has been the annual Open House London time, with 750 buildings open to the public.

As usual, a big thanks goes to the overall organisers (see www.openhouselondon.org.uk), all the building owners, the staff and the volunteers for making this such a great event.

This is my record of the clocks that I saw at or from the buildings I visited.

Also, I thought that I knew the City of London pretty well in terms of its clocks, but on my wanderings between buildings I spotted five clocks which I hadn't previously recorded. These will be shown in later postings - in fact I feel that the time has come to have a post for every single public clock in the City of London, so watch this space. And judging by this weekend's experience, I will need your help in finding the ones that I don't know about. Any guesses yet for how many clocks there are in the City?

My buildings this year were St Paul's, St Lawrence Jewry, a talk at the Guildhall City Centre, St George's Bloomsbury, St Botolph's  Building, Holland House, St Botolph's church, Bevis Marks Synagogue and Drapers Hall.

So, we start with St Paul's Cathedral. I don't I need to say anything about the building, but here is its clock:

St Lawrence Jewry sits by the Guildhall, and is a 17th century building by Sir Christopher Wren (and hence linked to St Paul's) - although the interior is a more modern refurbishment following extensive damage in World War II.

And thank you to the volunteer who informed me that the ornate gilded ironwork in front of the Lord Mayor's pew was of course a sword rest.

Taking an excursion outside of the City, my next stop is St George's Bloomsbury in Bloomsbury Way.


This is one of Nicholas Hawksmoor's 18th century masterpieces.

And in typical Hawksmoor style is fantastically bonkers. The tower has a steeple based on the design of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, topped with a statue of George I...

...and a lion and a unicorn thrown in for good measure.

The St Botolph Building is at 138 Houndsditch (always great road names in the City), and is a 52,000 square metre floorspace office building completed in 2010.

No clocks on this building, but you can spot a few out of the windows of the thirteenth floor:

Christchurch, Spitalfields (another Hawksmoor theatrical creation)-

St Botolph, Bishopgate -

and Liverpool Street station -

And all credit to Clyde & Co LLP for opening up their office floor, and for displaying a collection of artwork from students from London arts colleges (www.artawards.clydeco.com).

The colour of the building was supposedly chosen to match the centre of the clock on nearby St Botolph Aldgate:

St Botolph Aldgate is by George Dance the Elder, and dates from the 1740s.

Next up is another place of worship, Bevis Marks Synagogue, dating from 1701 and the oldest synagogue in Britain.

And finally on to Drapers Hall in Throgmorton Street. This is one of the City's livery halls, and originally dates back to the 1530s, although with subsequent rebuilding. The magnificent interior is mostly Victorian.
This is the Livery Hall...

...with a clock on the right hand side of the end wall..

..and a wind direction gauge on the left hand side.

The Drawing Room has this clock in the fireplace:

I now wait for Open House London 2017.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Colchester Town Hall

I was down in Colchester on my way to the Clacton airshow. It is now in its 25th year, but unfortunately low cloud on Thursday severely curtailed the flying display. Even the Red Arrows had to do a shortened programme, but still spectacular never-the-less.

Wandering along the High Street in Colchester, you can't help noticing the scaffolding around the town hall's clock tower.

The town hall was built 1898 - 1902, and was opened in May 1902 by the Prime Minister the Earl of Rosebery. It has been a Grade I listed building since 1968.

Clearly work is now required to repair the clock, including the replacement of glass with Perspex. the following photos show work in progress, with the clock faces (three in total) removed but still up on the scaffolding.

The tower, incidentally, is 162 feet tall. It also houses Colchester's oldest bell (cast somewhere between 1380 and 1405), although not used to ring the hours.