Sir John Soane’s 175th anniversary
Sunday 22nd January is the 175th anniversary of one of the great architects of London – Sir John Soane. His buildings, in which applied classical styles to the needs of the modern city, are not only important in themselves, but they also are a great boost to the confidence of London. During Soanes lifetime London starts to see itself as a city at the heart of empire, a worthy successor to Rome and Athens. The artist Joseph Gandy painted Soane’s Bank of England as a classical ruin http://www.georgianlondon.com/
the-bank-of-england-in-ruins , imagining London’s greatness being remembered longer than the city itself. Soane was more than just an imitator, he used space in an innovative way, like his famous breakfast room which made use of natural light within the classical form. Sadly Soanes work fell out of favour in the later Victorian period, but his influence was felt in the 20th Century with the design for the red telephone box being inspired by Soane’s memorial in St Pancras Churchyard.
Theres lots of Soanes work to explore. Starting at his home and museum in Lincolns Inn Fields always a good place to start, http://www.soane.org/ sadly the Bank of England has been much mutilated by later architects, but you can hear about it on Footprints of London’s walk Dickens in the City. You’ll have to be lucky to get to see Soane’s interiors at 10 and 11 Downing Street, but anyone can enjoy his St John Bethnal Green. Then a trip to Dulwich Picture Gallery is a must, where Soane designed on of the first purpose built art galleries. We are hoping to include the former Holy Trinity church in Marylebone Road in a future Regents Park walk, but you might get invited to a party at this venue in the mean time! Then why not end your tour at Soane’s memorial in Old St Pancras churchyard. Our walk All Change at Kings Cross visits this tranquil place, just yards from the Eurostar terminal.