A Victorian marvel beneath the streets: Crystal Palace subway – Flickering Lamps

Part of the A212 road runs along one side of Crystal Palace Park, carrying traffic between the suburbs of south-east London.  However, beneath a section of the road – unbeknownst to those pas…

Source: A Victorian marvel beneath the streets: Crystal Palace subway – Flickering Lamps

The last ruins of Dunwich, Suffolk’s lost medieval town | Flickering Lamps

The tiny village of Dunwich clings to the edge of the Suffolk coast and is in many ways a pretty but unremarkable place, a sleepy settlement a long way from any large towns.  There’s a beach,…

Source: The last ruins of Dunwich, Suffolk’s lost medieval town | Flickering Lamps

“The Anatomizer’s Ground” – Uncovering the history of St Olave’s, Silver Street | Flickering Lamps

The City of London is home to many curious little green spaces, gardens that today are often teeming with office workers enjoying their lunch on a sunny day. The little garden pictured below is just one of them, a small space nestled between office blocks and the busy thoroughfare of London Wall.  In the introduction to his 1901 book The Churches and Chapels of Old London, J G White notes that “the sites of old churches are very plainly indicated in most instances by little green spots, formerly church-yards, now changed into pleasant gardens and resting places.”  The subject of today’s post is the “green spot” on the site of the church of St Olave, Silver Street.

Many of the City’s churches were closed and demolished as the area’s population began to decrease in the 19th Century, and more were destroyed in the Blitz and never rebuilt.  St Olave’s was situated in a part of the Square Mile that was particularly heavily hit by aerial bombardment during the Second World War – it lies just south of London Wall and the Barbican complex, an area devastated by the Luftwaffe.  Silver Street, where William Shakespeare once lived, is no longer on London’s maps, utterly wiped out by the devastation of…

Source: “The Anatomizer’s Ground” – Uncovering the history of St Olave’s, Silver Street | Flickering Lamps

The London Flood of 1928

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On a recent visit to the Tate Britain gallery, on the north side of the Thames, we saw the excellent Ruin Lust exhibition, which charts artistic reactions to ruins, and the idea of ruins, through time. One of the show’s most striking pieces is Joseph Gandy’s Destruction of the Bank of England, a mammoth pen and ink drawing of 1830 which imagines Sir John Soane’s bank fallen into desuetude at some future point in time. Fascinatingly, Sir John commissioned the work himself, in what is usually considered an assertion of his own greatness as an architect. It is thought to have been a way to tell the world that he was worthy of consideration alongside the greatest designers of classical antiquity.

Joseph Michael Gandy, Destruction of the Bank of England, 1830. Joseph Michael Gandy, Destruction of the Bank of England, 1830.

After the exhibition, we visited the Tate’s fine subterranean restaurant, which boasts a famous four-wall mural by Rex WhistlerThe Expedition in Pursuit of Rare Meats. The mural, which dates from 1927, is a light-hearted celebration of…

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