Friday, 23 March 2012

107 Cheapside EC2

This is the sort of thing that brightens my day every time I find it. It is the keystone of the arch through the Sun Life Assurance building in Cheapside, leading to Honey Lane. And it features a bee buzzing up to a basket of flowers and fruit.
The building was designed by Antony Lloyd and built in 1955. The main entrance is surrounded by signs of the zodiac carved by John Skeaping, but the keystone isn't mentioned in any of the reference books. It looks a bit formal and traditional for Skeaping so perhaps it was commissioned from a mason rather than a sculptor.
Honey Lane was the place where bee keepers lived in medieval London, but they seems to have departed by the 17th century when William Leybourn's survey showed 105 butcher's stalls in the market despite the fact that it was the smallest market in the capital. Was the city already too crowded and polluted for bees to live and work? This stone bee is certainly the only one you see round Honey Lane these days.

1 comment:

Mandy Southgate said...

That is really beautiful! I love the detail on the bee's legs.