Thursday 4 October 2012

10 Trinity Square EC3

10 Trinity Square was old-fashioned when it was built in 1922 to the designs of the Imperial architect Sir Edwin Cooper.
It was the headquarters of the mighty Port of London Authority, which we now look back on as somehow eternal but was established as late as 1909 to bring order to the cut-throat competition between the privately-owned dock and wharf companies.
Like County Hall, where Cooper had been runner-up in the competition for the design, the First World War delayed construction and when completed it was an Edwardian building in the Art Deco age.
Cooper had commissioned his favourite sculptor, Albert Hodge, to create massive symbolic figures for the PLA building. He had created sketch models of three groups including this monumental figure of Father Thames when he suddenly died in 1917, at the age of just 42. His assistant Charles Doman executed Hodge's designs and added two of his own.
Father Thames has a truly memorable flowing beard and is something of a body-builder ('muscles like penny rolls' as R.L. Stevenson put it). He stands on an anchor and holds a trident, his free hand pointing downriver towards the sea.


The Duke of Waltham said...

Ooh, I love that building... I read about its history a few years ago; apparently the rotunda was destroyed in the Second World War and was replaced by a modern office extension that couldn't be more different from the rest of the building (I've seen pictures). It's supposed to be replaced in turn by a glass atrium of some sort, as part of the building's conversion into a luxury hotel.

As far as the "seemingly eternal yet actually new" quality is concerned, it's much more widespread than most people seem to believe. I've done some interesting reading recently; have you heard of the term "invention of tradition"?

simon said...

Great photos as always, thanks Chris. I thought RL Stevenson died in the 1890s though? Or do you not mean Robert Louis?