Saturday, 16 May 2009

Halifax, Strand WC2

The Prudential was famous for projecting an image of probity and stability with statues of Prudentia erected on its branches round the country, but until I passed the Halifax building in the Strand I hadn't realised that they too had a 'house style' in sculpture.
The Halifax adopted the arms of their home town, which is a slightly gruesome image of the blood-dripping head of John the Baptist on a plate, with the chequerboard of the Norman overlord Earl Warenne in the background and the Lamb and Flag above. The inscription Halez-Fax perpetuates a bogus 19th century derivation of the town's name from the early English for 'Holy Face' (actually, the name probably comes from the Old English for 'area of coarse grass in a nook of land').
The Society added a pair of classically dressed supporters (or, in the case of the woman, classically partially-dressed).
The Strand building was designed in 1932 by Colonel George Val Myer & F.J. Watson-Hart, a firm of commercial architects whose big commission was Broadcasting House.
The Lamb and Flag is so badly worn it looks more like an elephant - compare the arms on the Kingston upon Thames branch.

1 comment:

Maurizio Morabito said...

Noticed that yesterday. Thanks for the research!