On Wednesday 29th May, Beth Hollis and I attended another insightful architectural walking tour with New London Architecture, guided by the highly knowledgeable Caroline Dale.
Starting off at St James’s Park Station (formerly 55 Broadway Shopping Mall) and ending at Victoria Station, we were able to appreciate how much London Victoria has been redeveloped over recent years.
Historically, Victoria was an industrial area known for its marshy land, foul smells and being home to The Stag Brewery. Now it is an established and sought-after area, providing locals with places to live, work, shop and eat, and has great transport links.
The most notable part of the walking tour was the contrast of old and new. Known for its regency architecture, Caxton Street is home to historical buildings such as Caxton Hall, Blewcoat School and St Ermin’s Hotel. Just a stone’s throw away, the area now boasts modern architecture including Buckingham Green by Fletcher Priest Architects and Cardinal Place by EPR Architects.
Our highlight of the tour was seeing and hearing about the history of the Blewcoat School for boys. The building was erected in 1709 at the expense of a local brewer William Green, with the aim of providing an education for the poor. It was built with a combination of yellow and red brick, with an exterior that is embellished with neoclassical details and Doric pillars in each corner.
Above the plaque reading “The Blewcoat School, built in the year 1709” stands a large statue of a Blewcoat boy wearing the school’s traditional uniform of a long blue coat and bright yellow stockings.
Their stockings were dyed with Saffron to achieve their bright yellow colouring, and this also acted as a deterrent for rats, which was a huge problem for Victoria in the 1700s.
Now it is occupied by Ian Stuart, who uses the building to showcase his tailor-made bridal gowns.
We thoroughly enjoyed learning all about the history and redevelopment of Victoria and would highly recommend booking a walking tour with New London Architecture. We will see you again soon.
(Kirsty Sibbald’s account of the tour.)