Thursday, 30 August 2012

74 Leadenhall street

This building which stood on 74 Leadenhall street is an quite an enigma as there is very little record of its existence and its destruction. The building dated from sometime in the seventeenth century and was one of the many timber framed buildings built at this time. One of the few records we have is by architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner who described  it briefly only in his introduction as one of the few timber framed seventeenth century buildings left in London. There is surprising little information about this building despite areas of interest, its age and also some distinguishing features such as the bay window and some interesting interior work.  

From various sources it appears that the building survived the Second World War and early post-war redevelopment. It is recorded in Pevsner's book which was published in 1957 and also in the image above dating to 1967. Intriguingly the brief description of the building is not altered in Pevsner's 1973 revised edition perhaps suggesting it was still surviving,  however this is uncertain. I would have thought such a building would have been conserved as late as the 1970's (although much demolition in Britain still continued at this time), however land value in the city was increasingly rapidly and it would have been fairly low density compared to a large office building its in place. 

From street level the building is quite unnoticeable and admittedly isn't too handsome. The facade  must have been substantially altered in the nineteenth century when the brick work around the bay was perhaps constructed to its appearance in the image above ©. The bay looks original and is probably part of a older facade. Also the roof is slightly usual being hipped which may also indicate that the building is older than parts of the front facade. The interior of the building was noted for having a interesting ceiling of on the first floor, as a handful of images exist highlighting its interior, although they say little else about the building. Now in its place is a group of modern office buildings perhaps dating to the 1980's which may give an insight to when the building was lost. 

left is an image of the interior showing part of the ceiling work. Source: The guildhall art gallery archives ©

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