Uncovering the finest architecture in London

With the Notre Dam fire still fresh in our minds we thought it would be appropriate to dedicate a piece championing some of the finest, perhaps lesser known architecture in London.

Uncovering the finest architecture in London – Finsbury Town Hall, Islington

Set in Central London’s artistic Clerkenwell district, The Old Finsbury Town Hall is a stunning Grade II listed building, registered with English Heritage as a building of great historical significance.

Uncovering the finest architecture in London - Finsbury Town Hall, Islington

Designed by Charles Evans-Vaughan, the hall was built in two stages. The first, completed in 1895, faced the newly formed Rosebery Avenue. The second, beneath an elaborate pediment carved with figures of Peace and Plenty, followed on five years later in a more florid baroque style. Evans-Vaughan designed the interior, the highlight being the ‘Clerkenwell Angels’, draped, winged female figures adorning the pillars bearing foliage with light bulbs as flowers.

Uncovering the finest architecture in London –
2 Temple Place, Victoria Embankment

Two Temple Place is one of London’s hidden architectural gems. Completed in 1895, this stunning neo-Gothic mansion was built for William Waldorf Astor.

Uncovering the finest architecture in London 2 Temple Place, Victoria Embankment

The late Viscount’s residence sits in a prime location on the banks of the river Thames. Upon the death of his father in 1890 he became the richest man in America and moved to London a year later. The only specifications he gave to architect John Loughborough were that the building should personify and celebrate literature and liberal arts. The result was one of the most opulent Victorian houses in London.

Uncovering the finest architecture in London 2 Temple Place
Photograph: Derek Kendall

Uncovering the finest architecture in London – The Blackfriar, Queen Victoria Street

Erected on the site of a former medieval Dominican friary (established in 1279), which gave the Blackfriars area its name, the pub was once a conventional affair built in 1875.

In 1905 the interior was remodelled in high Arts and Crafts style for a publican by the name of “Petite”. Sculptors Henry Poole and Frederick Callcott created a riotous medieval fantasy of “Merrie England”.

Uncovering the finest architecture in London - The Blackfriar Queen Victoria Street
Photograph: Courtesy of English Heritage

The building was nearly demolished during a phase of redevelopment in the 1960’s, until it was saved by a campaign spearheaded by poet Sir John Betjeman.

Uncovering the finest architecture in London – Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey

Dealing with major criminal cases from within Greater London and in exceptional cases, from other parts of England and Wales, the Old Bailey is ‘home’ for many experienced criminal defence lawyers in London and is one of London’s landmark buildings.

Uncovering the finest architecture in London - Central Criminal Court Old Bailey

Crowning its distinctive dome, the gilt-bronze sculpture of Lady Justice by FW Pomeroy has become a London icon – yet because of restricted public access the interior is relatively little known. Inside is a huge tripartite hall with double-aisled spaces framing an Imperial staircase in cream, green and white marble. The Grand Hall on the first floor with huge domed centrepieces echoes St Paul’s and friezes inscribed with elevated references run around the space, including: “The law of the wise is a fountain of life” and “London shall have its ancient rights”

Uncovering the finest architecture in London – Geometrical staircase and Library, St Paul’s Cathedral

Away from the gaze of the public in the south-west tower of St Paul’s Cathedral is one of London’s most awe-inspiring spaces, the Geometrical Staircase which serves the Cathedral Library.

Uncovering the finest architecture in London - Geometrical staircase St Paul's Cathedral

Built by the master mason William Kempster with delicate wrought-ironwork by Jean Tijou. Spiralling to the heavens, it swirls in two great revolutions up to the Cathedral Library, which is a veritable time capsule, untouched since its completion more than 300 years ago.

Uncovering the finest architecture in London - Geometrical staircase St Paul's Cathedral

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