Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral stands on the south bank of the Thames, near London Bridge and I’ve walked past many times when I’ve been in London both for work and pleasure. After wandering around Borough market we decided to go and have a closer look.

There’s been a church on the site since Norman times, if not earlier. Between 1106 and 1538 it was the church of an Augustinian priory. Following the dissolution of the monasteries, it became a parish church. It only became a cathedral in 1905 when the diocese of Southwark was established.

This is an old drawing of the church  and the nearby old London Bridge from 1616 (source: Wikipedia)

London_Bridge_(1616)_by_Claes_Van_Visscher

The famous panorama of London in 1647 by the Czech artist Wenceslas Hollar was drawn from the top of the tower of the church, then known as Saint Saviour’s.

1647_Long_view_of_London_From_Bankside_-_Wenceslaus_Hollar.jpg

The present building is mainly Victorian Gothic following the reconstruction of the building, which was in a bad state of repair, in the 19th Century, although there are some remnants of the older structures, particularly in the retro-choir.

Looking down the Nave

DSC02561

The high alter screen. The original was installed in 1520 but the two rows of statues are in excellent condition and were only added in 1905.

IMG_2971

An older part of the building at the far end of the nave

DSC02581.JPG

Originally the building had a timber roof, but that was replaced during the Victorian restoration. However, a reproduction has been created in the crossing, underneath the tower

DSC02554

The original roof would have been held together by several hundred carved bosses. Some of the originals have been preserved and are displayed at the far end of the nave. Here’s some of them.

DSC02550

During Elizabethan times, the Bankside area, south of the Thames, where the church is located, was outside the jurisdiction of the City of London, and became something of a “pleasure garden”  occupied by the bear baiting pits and theatres including the Globe, Rose and Swan. The reconstructed Globe is a short walk away. So, not surprisingly, the cathedral ahs a close connection with the historic dramatists. William Shakespeare’s brother, Edmund, was buried there in 1607. His grave is unmarked, but there’s a commemorative stone in the paving of the choir.

DSC02556.JPG

There is a large stained glass window dedicated to William Shakespeare, depicting scenes from his plays, at the base of which is an alabaster statue of him reclining, holding a quill.

DSC02552.JPG

There’s also a memorial to Sam Wannamaker, the American actor who left the USA to avoid persecution during the McCarthy era and who inspired the reconstruction of the Globe Theatre. (Inspired isn’t the right word, really. He had to fight tooth and nail and put a lot of time, energy and sweat into getting it built)

DSC02553

John Harvard the founder of Harvard University in the USA was born in the parish, and baptised in the church on 29 November 1607. He is commemorated by the Harvard Chapel in the north transept, paid for by Harvard University alumni resident in England.

There’s an attractive Arts and Crafts style stained glass window in the chapel

DSC02568

There’s some other attractive stained glass in the church, though the bright autumn sunlight streaming through them made it difficult to take decent photographs.  I rather liked this modern design in the retro-chapel

DSC02565

Outside there’s a small but attractive garden. Overlooked by Borough Market it’s something of an oasis of peace in a rather hectic neighbourhood.

DSC02571DSC02586

There was a recreated Augustinian herb garden at the back of the church. The monks would have grown herbs for both culinary and healing purposes – in medieval times the monks would have tended to the sick which is why many older hospitals have their origins in churches, monasteries and nunneries.

DSC02582DSC02583

A view of the shard from the churchyard.

DSC02572

And a pleasant surprise. I spotted this sculpture in the churchyard. My immediate reaction was that it looked like a work by Peter Randall-Page.

DSC02576

Checking out the information board confirmed my suspicion

IMG_2974

 

Advertisements

Unusual Neo-Gothic Building in Glasgow

DSC02494

One of the buildings that took my eye while I was mooching around Glasgow Merchant City last Monday afternoon was what the British Listed Buildings website describes as a

Bizarrely detailed Gothic warehouse,

I think that just about sums it up! It’s relatively restrained in that there isn’t much decoration or embellishment and looks more like a later Art Nouveau or Glasgow School style building than a typical Victorian Gothic wedding cake.

I particularly liked this eyecatching

unusual semi-octagonal door head with heavily moulded octagonal oculus above.

DSC02495

I haven’t been able to find much information on it other than from the British Listed Buildings posting, but that does tell us that it was originally a warehouse, that it was built in 1859, and that the architect was R W Billings

The Hatrack

DSC02531

This distinctive tall, slender, Art Nouveau style listed building at 142 St Vincent St, Glasgow, is popularly known as the Hatrack

It was designed by James Salmon Jnr a contemporary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh Salmon, who was affectionately nicknamed “the Wee Troot”, a play on his name (Troot = Trout) and short stature. He was also one of the architects of the Anderston Savings Bank I stumbled upon during my last visit to the city.

The building was constructed between 1899 and 1902. Its name was inspired by the cupola, which has projecting finials that resemble the “pegs” of a hat rack. It was difficult to get a decent snap of it from street level so this is my best effort.

DSC02532 (2)

Above the entrance to the building is an attractive stained glass oriel window with the design of a sailing ship on top of a sculpture of what appears to be a mythical dragon.

DSC02534

The front of the building is a curtain wall supported on a concrete frame and is mainly glass with only a bare minimum of decorative sandstone. It does rather remind me of a more slender version of Oriel Chambers, built in Liverpool in 1874 and designed by the revolutionary architect, Peter Ellis. This resemblance and likely influence is also noted on the Scotcities website.

DSC02532 (3)

The Martyr’s School

DSC02542 (2)

 

I’d spotted that the hotel where I was staying in Glasgow was about a 20 minute walk away from one of the earliest buildings associated with Charles Rennie Mackintosh, so I decided to wander over and take a look.

The red sandstone Martyrs’ School on Parson Street in Townhead, to the north of Glasgow city centre, in the same street where Mackintosh was born. It was designed in 1895, around the same time as the Glasgow Herald Building (today known as the Lighthouse). The architects were Honeyman and Keppie, Mackintosh’s employers, who were commissioned by the Glasgow School Board. At the time, Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a senior assistant in the practice and his influence can be seen in the building, especially in the details.

When it was built it was surrounded by working class tenement buildings but today they have been demolished.

Interestingly the last of his Glasgow buildings was another school – the Scotland Street School to the south of the Clyde.

Apparently, the inside of the building has a number of features designed by Mackintosh, but it isn’t open to the public so I couldn’t get inside so had to be content with looking around the outside. The late afternoon light wasn’t brilliant and my photos aren’t so great, unfortunately.

The front and rear entrances certainly bear the hallmarks of Mackintosh

DSC02544

DSC02547

as well as the upper floor on the west side of the building

DSC02546

 

Street haunting in Glasgow

I was up in Glasgow on Monday and Tuesday for some meetings. I took a train up late morning and when I arrived had a few hours before my first commitment so decided to have a mooch around the city centre. It’s a city with plenty of character and interesting architecture. Here’s a few snaps I took during the short time I had street haunting, mainly round the Merchant City area.

NGI Renovated and Renewed

IMG_2663

During my visit to the National Galley of Ireland I was able to take a look at the older parts of the building that only reopened on June 15th. They’ve been closed for the past six years for extensive renovation works including building repairs, fire upgrading, environmental controls and improving accessibility.

First impressions were that the architects in charge of the project, Heneghan Peng, who were also responsible for the Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre, had done a good job. All the services have been well hidden and the older rooms, which I remember looking tired when I last visited them, have been refreshed and brightened up. Windows in the Shaw room, that were previously covered over to facilitate the hanging of paintings, have been uncovered making it a much brighter space lit with natural light.

IMG_2665

They’ve also created an airy, bright covered courtyard in the space between the between the Dargan Wing and the 1901 Milltown Wing

IMG_2725

At one end of the courtyard there’s a rather beautiful sinuous wooden sculpture, Magnus Modus, by Joseph Walsh, made of olive ash with a Kilkenny limestone base. It was commissioned by the Office of Public Works on behalf of the National Gallery of Ireland.

IMG_2727

Shrewsbury Abbey

IMG_2388.jpg

Shrewsbury Abbey is a large Medieval church standing on the opposite side of the English Bridge from the old city centre. As with many old churches it’s been altered and adapted over time and, consequently, displays a mixture of styles – Romanesque, Gothic (the later, Perpendicular style) and Victorian Neo-Gothic.

IMG_2347

It was founded as a Benedictine Monastery by Roger de Montgomery in 1083 although there had been a Saxon church on site before the Conquest.

IMG_2341

The church which survives today was originally part of a complex of buildings which, other than a few remnants, are long gone – some demolished following the dissolution of the monasteries in the reign of King Henry VIII and others by Thomas Telford when he built the main road that runs alongside the Abbey.

After the dissolution of the monasteries there were plans for the church to be designated a Cathedral, but that never came to fruition. It continued to serve as a place of worship, though, as a rather grand Parish Church.

IMG_2344

The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, written by Ellis Peters, are inspired by medieval Shrewsbury. Cadfael is a Welsh Benedictine monk at the Abbey in the first half of the 12th century. He was played by Dereck Jacobi in the TV series of the stories, although it was filmed in Hungary rather than Shrewsbury.

The Abbey used to have a shrine to St Winifride, a 7th Century Welsh saint. In the 12th Century Monastaries wanted to have relics which would attract Pilgrims and earn them ncome so the Abbot had the remains of Winifride brought from her place of burial in Gwytherin in North Wales. The shrine was destroyed and the relics can now be found in Shrewsbury’s Roman Catholic cathedral and Holywell in North Wales. However, there’s a window devoted to the saint in the Abbey, installed in 1992, designed by stained glass artist Jane Gray.

IMG_2336

 

There’s also a window by the same artist celebrating the fictional monk, Cadfael.

IMG_2338

The Abbey was built in the Romanesque (Norman) style with substantial round pillars supporting rounded arches and a substantial part of the original building still stands in the central section of the Nave.

IMG_2329

IMG_2328

It was remodelled in the 14th Century when the tower was built. This required replacing the Romanesque arches at the west end of the nave with bays with stronger pointed Gothic arches supported by slender columns.

IMG_2333

After the dissolution the west end of the Abbey was closed off and fell into ruin. There was a wall at the end of the Romanesque nave. The west end was rebuilt in a Neo- Gothic style during the Victorian era, designed by John Loughborough Pearson.

IMG_2330

IMG_2331A new clerestorey was also created above the Romanesque and Gothic nave.

 

A war memorial tablets close to the west entry of the church includes the name of the First World War  poet Wilfred Owen.

IMG_2339

IMG_2339 (2)

Outside the Abbey, there are still some remnants of the monastery

IMG_2351

IMG_2348