Thursday, 11 March 2010

5 Portland Place W1

There are still some things worth looking at in Portland Place despite the vandalism of the Adam streetscape. Number 5, for example, is a 1911 building of not much merit by an architect called Percival W. Hawkins whose only other building, as far as I can tell, is a Baptist church in Shepherds Bush.
Number 5 is a block of serviced offices clearly designed to add as much floor space as possible, but right at the top there is a series of nice carved panels depicting the seasons. From the left, a man ploughs and sows. Next, a girl holds a swag of flowers, and in the centre an earth-mother figure plays a double flute while her little boy plays with his bow and arrow. That dove he's holding looks rather alarmed as well she might.
Further on, a man carries a scythe and a sheaf of corn. The sequence is completed by a heavily-hooded woman gathering firewood under leafless winter trees.


Anonymous said...

I went to Portland Place myself last month. I went in fear and trembling for reasons discussed here.

I was slightly disappointed with the street which I had imagined to be far grander. I didn't see the figures you show but will look out for them should I need to return.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Chris --

GREAT blog! just the little elements I love to photograph when abroad.

Just had to post a comment here, as I've been looking for information specifically on No. 5 (and No. 6) PORTLAND PLACE, LONDON. I research the two families living at these addresses in the early decades of the 19th century. No. 5 Portland Place was the home of William Gosling, of the Fleet Street banking firm Goslings & Sharpe.

This end of the street has long seemed "developed" - yet I've never really been certain where Nos. 5 and 6 stood. Or why they were replaced.

William's daughter Mary Gosling married Sir Charles Joshua Smith, bart., the eldest son of the owner of No. 6 in July 1826. The wedding took place at All Soul's, Langham Place.

Thank you for the images of and text about the present-day No. 5.