Wednesday 7 May 2008

Peek House, Eastcheap

The entire south side of Eastcheap was demolished in 1882 to allow the Metropolitan Line to be excavated, and in 1883 the firm of Peek Bros, Tea and Coffee Importers, built a grand new office at No 20 with a circular corner tower. To liven the tower up, they got William Theed the Younger to carve an alto relievo depiction of their coffee being brought across the sands of Araby on the backs of three camels led by a Bedouin in his flowing robes. It's straight out of Desert Song.
Theed loved exotic subjects, having done the Africa section on the Albert Memorial and a line of horses for Buckingham Palace.
Why is it so deadly serious but chuckle-out-loud funny at the same time? I think it is the way the driver is striding so purposefully with his robes flowing out behind, such is his determination to reach Eastcheap before the Peek brothers (Fred and Jim) get fed up with waiting and go to the pub.


Anonymous said...

I used to work in this building during the 1990's. I worked on the top floor for MEPC. We used the circular end piece as a meeting room. I remember in the basement my boss had a small room set aside as a wine cellar with lots of expensive bottles of champagne & brandy etc etc! Those were the days.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon, I also worked here too in the 1990's! You must be one of my old work colleagues? I remember the monthly meetings in the round meeting room and the alcohol in the basement. They definitely were the good old days. From Sara - Trevor's Secretary.