Thursday, 8 October 2009

Victoria Station, Buckingham Palace Road SW1

I don't often do heraldic carving but this one over a side door to Victoria Station is very unusual as it is signed, by Gilbert Seale of the sculpting dynasty. It is one of a pair on the curtain wall of the train shed of 1905, said to have been designed by Vincent Harris of the LCC Architects Department, with input by the engineer Sir Charles Morgan.
The arms comprise (clockwise from top left) the St George's cross and sword of the City of London; the dolphins and martlets of Brighton; the star and crescent of Portsmouth; and the rather curious lionships of the Cinque Ports - 'three lions passant guardant conjoined with as many ships' hulls,' as the heralds put it.
Many years ago I went round Portsmouth Dockyard with David Lloyd, editor of the Hampshire Pevsner, and he bemoaned the fact that the City of Portsmouth was putting its new coat of arms on all its letterheads. "Just as every other council is junking their Victorian coats of arms and replacing them with trendy logos, Portsmouth, which has a genuinely medieval logo in the star and crescent, is replacing it with a Victorian coat of arms," he said.

No comments: