The Buildings of London: Horseferry Road to the British Museum

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View across Parliament Square with some fine buldings and statues

Whenever I’m in London for business or pleasure, I try where possible to make some of my journeys on foot rather than by Tube or taxi; when weather and scheduling allow, I also try and photograph anything along the way that looks interesting, generally with the intention of learning more about what I’ve spotted at a later date. The first few days of February 2018 were suitable in all respects, and I’ve even found time to look up some of the buildings’ histories to share with you this month.

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Plaque on the wall of Belgravia House

My first walk started at Belgravia House, 62-64 Horseferry Road, Westminster: home to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons since 1995 – and also to the RCVS Knowledge Library and Archive; a plaque on the corner of the building, however, tells us something of the building’s earlier history:

“Mr Fegan’s Homes” (incorporated) to the glory of God and the welfare of orphan, needy and erring boys, here and hereafter, the foundation stone of this House of Mercy was laid by the Right Honourable Lord Kinnaird on 20th May 1912. His compassions fail not Lam. III 22.

Some investigation online led me to discover James William Condell Fegan (1852 – 1925), who founded his first home offering education, accommodation and training to poor and homeless boys in 1872. The building on Horseferry Road was built to replace its predecessor in Southwark, which was no longer fit for purpose, and replaced a slum building o the Belgravia site: hard to imagine knowing modern property prices for the area.

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Westminster Coroner’s Court

Heading towards the British Museum, I next passed the Westminster Coroner’s Court: a very pretty brick building, which apparently dates from 1893, and is a great contrast to my own house, which dates from almost the same year, but appears far more functional on the outside. Sadly, I was unable to discover which is the more decorative on the inside (I suspect my house wins by virtue of its eccentric décor alone).

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Channel 4 Headquarters

A more modern building that also caught my eye was the Channel 4 Headquarters at 124 Horseferry Road. Constructed between 1990 and 1994, the building houses offices and staff facilities, but only one television studio, since most of the broadcaster’s programmes are produced by external, independent companies.

I continued my walk past Westminster Abbey then across Parliament Square and down Whitehall to the Monument to the Women of World War II. Sculpted by John W. Mills, and unveiled in 2005, the monument depicts 17 sets of clothing and uniforms to represent the different roles and jobs performed by women during the Second World War, including the Land Army, the WRNS, nursing and welding.

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Memorial to the Women of World War II

At the end of Whitehall, I passed through Trafalgar Square and took note of the various crossing lights put up there prior to Pride 2015, and apparently responsible for some degree of consternation amongst the chattering classes. Personally, I think they’re rather cute.

Finally, I wandered through Bloomsbury until I reached the British Museum, where I paid a visit to the Living With Gods exhibition, which is well worth a visit if you can get there before the 8th of April 2018.

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The British Museum: we have reached our destination
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8 comments

  1. one of my most memorable and favourite trips was spent walking all over London checking out all the amazing architecture – more than 40 years ago – thanks for sharing your more recent walk 🙂

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  2. I enjoyed reading your blog, Stevie, just as I’ve enjoyed visiting various places in London during previous trips there. I think it could take more than a year to see all of London’s architecturally fascinating buildings, historical sites, museums, and places of cultural interest.
    It’s brilliant that you’re sharing these tidbits of the U.K.

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  3. I love London everything is historic and still being used. I live in the Desert were the historic things are the ancient natives cliff dwellings. They are awesome, but but many of them are falling apart, because no one is around them any more. They are very old, but because they aren’t being protected they are being destroyed faster by people stealing items from the places or or covering it in graffiti. It is sad. Some people tried saving Bears ears, but the governor and president took it back so the rich white folks could mine uranium and coal. Not many of these elements are being used as much , but the state won’t invest in other more environmental safe things.

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    • I just checked, and the court was moved in 2011, and replaced with a new block of flats. You’re right about the bridge/ferry, though. Bestest Drinking Buddy has promised to take me on a river crossing next time I’m in town for long enough.

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