Seven Wonders of London: Part II – an architectural Smörgåsbord

Having already blogged about the Neasden Temple, yesterday I visited another five of the Seven Wonders of London according to TimeOut…

St Pancras Station / St Pancras Renaissance (formerly Midland) Hotel

St Pancras

I am fully in agreement that this really is a Wonder of the capital, it is one of my favourite buildings. George Gilbert Scott’s neo-gothic masterpiece in the hotel and William Henry Barlow’s adjoining station is surely one of the most beautiful railway stations in the world (let me know if you think you know of a superior rival).

At the time of construction (1860’s), the single-span roof was the largest in the world…

St Pancras interior

Old Royal Naval College / Greenwich Hospital

IMG_7761

Built on the site of an old Royal palace (birth place of both Tudor queens), Queen Mary II ordered a hospital to be built to serve sailors as the Chelsea Hospital served soldiers. Sir Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor, and – after Wren’s death – Sir John Vanbrugh, gave their time and services free of charge to design the amazing campus.

Greenwich

National Theatre

National Theatre

I doubt many would disagree that St Pancras or Greenwich Hospital are beautiful buildings. I imagine many might hesitate to call the National Theatre beautiful (I intend to explore 60’s brutalist architecture further in future blog posts). Indeed, Denys Lasdun’s creation has simultaneously appeared in the top ten most loved and most hated buildings in the UK – How about that for dividing opinion!

Personally, I find the balance of geometric concrete shapes fascinating from the outside, but confusing on the inside – I regularly get lost inside when trying to find the loo or a bar during an interval.

Imagine my annoyance when, arriving to photograph one of the most famous ‘carbuncles’ in London, I find it partially obscured by another carbuncle – some red wooden monstrosity that looks like it belongs in a children’s playground…

National Theatre from Waterloo Bridge

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Designed by Francis Fowke and Alfred Waterhouse, the museum opened in 1881 and is a marvel of Victorian Romanesque architecture.

Although not visible in my photograph, the building has large numbers of carvings and statues of wild animals – extant on the West and extinct on the East wings. They are separated in this way as a snub to Charles Darwin as the curator thought his ideas of evolution were a load of old cobblers!

The Hoover Building

Hoover Building

Way out to the West of London, in Perivale and facing the busy A40, is the Art Deco edifice of the old Hoover vacuum cleaners factory. Now, bizarrely, a Tesco shopping centre (at the back), the building – designed by Wallis, Gilbert and Partners in 1932 is one of the best examples of Art Deco architecture in the capital (I also intend to blog further about Art Deco architecture).

The seventh Wonder is Kew Gardens, but I shall leave that for another day.

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3 thoughts on “Seven Wonders of London: Part II – an architectural Smörgåsbord

  1. Jamie Mitchell

    Hello
    I am a journalist with a design and architecture website called DesignCurial. I am looking for a picture of the Hoover Building in West London and wondered if we could use yours. Please contact me to let me know if this is OK.
    Many thanks,
    Jamie.

    Reply

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