Tuesday 13 April 2010

Garrick Street WC2

The Garrick Club is usually described as 'imposing', largely because one can't be rude about a building that has so many top lawyers as members. It was cheaply built in 1864 by the surveyor of the Metropolitan Board of Works, a greedy and possibly corrupt architect called Frederick Marrable, with a rendered facade that until recently was notable as the only building in London with its original Victorian layer of black soot.
Marrable also designed the symmetrical buildings on either side of the club, which feature arches with groups of putti.
Unfortunately, Marrable forgot that the cherubs would be only visible from the street and placed them behind the drip mouldings of the windows, so you can only see the poor loves from the knees up. He also economised by using three designs for 12 arches. Time has not been kind to them either - they are encrusted with at least twenty coats of thick exterior gloss that has filled most of the detail.


Hels said...

The surveyor of the Metropolitan Board of Works was greedy and possibly corrupt?? Good grief.. say it isn't true. Architecture was the queen of the arts!!!

Capability Bowes said...

Lawyers in the Garrick? Don't think so. The Garrick's mainly for those in the theatrical and arts professions. Laywers are far more likely to be members of the Reform Club or possibly the Athenaeum.

Chris Partridge said...

Hels - sad but true. I'm afraid there is a long history of architects being involved in dodgy dealings because they are hobnob with notoriously corrupt individuals such as developers and council officials so much. And he was both an architect AND a council official.
Russell - lawyers get everywhere and I am told the Garrick is wedged out with them, sadly. And journalists. Sigh.