Thursday, 20 August 2009

Supreme Court, Parliament Square SW1

I'm ashamed to say I nearly missed these charming little chaps, rustling through the thistles above the throng of tourists in Parliament Square. I was looking at the major sculpture on the newly-revealed Supreme Court (formerly Middlesex County Court, formerly Middlesex Guildhall) and had passed over them with a mental shrug of 'floral fillers' when a small girl pointed up and cried to her family "Look - mice!"And so there were. And squirrels, adders, a bird, a salamander and a fox. What beauties.
The Middlesex Guildhall was built in 1912, an astonishingly late date for the Gothic style, but it was felt to be appropriate for the surroundings of the Abbey and Houses of Parliament. The architects were J.G.S. Skipworth.
The detail was designed by E.P. Skipworth and the main sculpture, including massive historical pageants on either side of the main entrance, were by Henry Fehr, but it is unclear if Fehr did all the carving or whether Skipworth designed the minor stuff including the little creatures and a firm of architectural sculptors did the work.
More on this remarkable building later.

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