MUCH cannot, perhaps, be said of the actual progress of architectural art as evinced by works completed during the past year. Yet, looking at these and at the buildings designed or in course of erection; at the growing interest taken in architecture as an art by the public generally; the attention paid to it by the press; the earnestness with which architectural principles are discussed, as well by amateurs as by architects-many among the former, indeed, taking the lead in investigating the constructive as well as the artistic principles, the details as well as the general forms and historic claims of buildingswe see unmistakeable evidence of progress. In the chief provincial towns, as well as in the metropolis, architectural associations are in active existence. In London, the architects have formed themselves into a Union, with a view to obtain a spacious edifice for architectural purposes; and an Architectural Photographic Society has been formed in order to procure large-sized photographs of the principal buildings of Europe and Asia. Not public buildings merely, but houses of business and private residences, are now almost invariably being constructed with at least some regard to architectural character, and in solid and often costly materials; and reality, combined with ornament, is being demanded as much in provincial towns as in the metropolis. Everything, in fact, seems to show that architects are becoming fully alive to the necessity of a more thorough and searching study of their art, and that a public opinion is forming which shall be competent to appreciate excellence and to detect charlatanism.

The chief event of the year, in connexion with the general progress of English architecture, was the competition for the Government Offices. The Government, as we stated in last year's 'Companion,' offered premiums to the amount of 5,000.-with, of course, the prospect, though not the promise, of the successful competitors being employed to carry their designs into execution-and threw the competition open to architects of all countries, and without restriction as to style or cost. The premiums were for a Block Plan which should exhibit the best "scheme for the concentration of the principal Government Offices, on a site lying between Whitehall and the New Palace at Westminster [and extending from the Park to the River]; and also Designs for two buildings which Her Majesty's Government have determined to erect forthwith, as parts of such general scheme,-one for the Department of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the other for the Secretary of State for War.” But not only was it required that the spacious area above indicated should be laid out, suggestions were also requested as to improving the approaches, and as to the desirableness of removing or retaining Westminster Bridge, &c. Six months were allowed for the preparation of designs for this magnificent project. At the time fixed 218 designs were sent in-embracing, in all, nearly 2,000 drawings, some of the competitors having sent above 40, others 30, separate draw

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ings; several sent models. The whole of these were arranged in Westminster Hall, and thrown open to public inspection in May 1857. Whatever anticipations had been formed, the exhibition justified the most hopeful. It was seen that English architects, though still hampered by precedent, possessed original invention, and an eye for that grandeur of mass and picturesqueness of outline which formed the especial distinction, among the modern architects of Europe, of the founder of the present English school, Sir Christopher Wren; but which his successors, in their abject humility of imitation-whether of classic or gothic models- seemed almost wholly to.have lost. Of course among so many designs there were some hopelessly inapplicable, and many very inadequately studied: but there were far more than the premiums could reach which exhibited, as a whole or in parts, very striking excellences. Foreign architects did not respond to the invitation very numerously; but several sent, and some of their contributions were well considered, and of much merit: those of native origin, however, stood the test well. As will be seen, two French architects carried off prizes. The most striking thing in the exhibition was the almost entire absence of those "classic" forms in which all our public edifices were a few years back inevitably erected. For the present, at any rate, the Greek and Roman orders are at a discount. The next most noticeable circumstance was the prevalence of Italian and Renaissance designs. Gothic was ably represented, but it was no longer the English Gothic merely: Italian and French forms were there in some instances in their purity, in others modifying the indigenous variety.

The judges selected to award the premiums were the Duke of Buccleugh, Earl Stanhope, Lord Eversley, W. Stirling, M.P., David Roberts, R.A., Mr. Burn, the Scottish architect, and Mr. Brunel, the celebrated railway engineer; and Messrs. Angell and Pownall, architects, were appointed assessors to assist the judges: the Duke of Buccleugh and Lord-Eversley, however, were unable to take part in the adjudication. We append the award :—the names are arranged in the order of merit as decided by the judges, with the amount of premium, to which we add the style of each design, or that to which it made the nearest approximation.


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1. Mr. H. B. Garling, London 2. Mr. B. D'Hazeville, Paris

3. Mr. J. T. Rochead, Glasgow


4. Messrs. Prichard and Seddon, Llandaff 200

5. Mr. Cuthbert Brodrick, Leeds

6. Messrs. W. G. and E. Habershon,


7. Mr. John Dwyer, London

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800 Renaissance (French).


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Gothic (Italian).

100 Italian.


It was scarcely to be expected that the award of the judges would be generally satisfactory; but in this instance there were reasons which almost of necessity lessened its value. One arose from the evidently insufficient consideration given to the original proposition. To obtain suitable designs for the buildings, it would seem, on the most cursory consideration of the matter, to be necessary to have the "scheme of concentration " first prepared, and the approved ground plan placed in the hands of the competing architects: and the consequence which was found to ensue-that the buildings and the block plan could not be made to fit to each other-might safely have been predicted when, as in this case, the block plan and the designs for the buildings were required at the same time, and from architects who could have no communication with each other. For, to increase the error in the original proposition, the judges decided not to award a prize in more than one class to the same competitor, so that block plan, war office, and foreign office, was each to be the product of a different mind, and yet, when brought together, by some magic process to form a complete and harmonious whole. In this case the mischief is not, happily, so great as if there had been a prospect of the works being speedily executed The block plan-a very ingenious one-is far too magnifique in its conceptions for the English mind. It almost makes a clean sweep of everything between the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar-square, and thence into Pall Mall on one side and Hungerford-market on the other; removes Westminster Bridge, and in its place gives us three new ones, and adds extensive river embankments, a grand "Place du Gouvernement," and numerous new streets, with an imposing array of buildings and statuary. The design-there being no restrictions laid down-deserved a prize (whether the prize or not is another question); but it would require millions to carry it out in its integrity, and it is needless to say that in the present or any imaginable state of the public exchequer its execution is not to be looked for. Nor do we think it desirable. The plan is a splendid one, but we have no hesitation in saying that it is one quite unsuitable to the locality. But it contains, as do several of the other plans, many valuable suggestions, some of which we may hope to see realised. It is only fair to add that several of the other block plans, with little of the real merit of that of M. Crepinet, were far more extravagant.

Of the successful designs for the buildings the major part were, it will be seen, either Italian or Renaissance in style; but certainly, the

premiated Gothic designs did not suffer in comparison either as to splendour, picturesqueness, or, as far as we could judge, adaptability. The first prize for both the War and the Foreign Office was given to a Renaissance design of an exceedingly ornate character; and the two would, with some modifications, have consorted very well together-though scarcely, perhaps, either in style or character, what we should desire to see in that particular neighbourhood. We suppose, however, from what was said in the House of Commons on the subject, that it is not likely that steps will be soon taken towards embodying the judges' awards: perhaps we shall be able to report some further progress next year.

The competition for the Wellington Monument was less satisfactory, as an illustration of the state of English art, than that for the public offices. Several of the models exhibited at Westminster Hall displayed much knowledge of the human form and skilful modelling, but there was a general poverty of invention, an absence of imaginative power, and an adherence to conventionalism absolutely depressing. There was of course there were exceptions-a decided predominance of what may be called the twelfth-cake style, and an utter forgetfulness of the place and purpose of the monument. But in this last view of the matter the judges most strangely coincided. In their award they say, "We have not considered ourselves bound to take into exclusive consideration the peculiar fitness and adaptation to that spot in St. Paul's Cathedral which appears to be in contemplation for the erection of the proposed monument, which consideration might possibly have led to some difference in the selection." Yet a plan, sections, and view of the site were furnished to each competitor, and he was specifically directed to prepare his models with reference to it! Mr. Cockerell, R.A., one of the judges, very properly refused to take part in an adjudication conducted on such a principle, and published his reasons for refusing. The premiums were thus awarded:-first premium, 7007., W. C. Marshall, R.A.; second, 500l., W. F. Woodington; third, 3007., E. G. Papworth; fourth, 2007., G. Dupré (of Florence); and five premiums of 1007. each to M. Folcini and U. Cambi (of Florence), A. Stevens, M. Noble, E. J. Häunel (of Dresden), and T. Thorneycroft.

The results of these and other recent competitions, provincial as well as metropolitan, have rather strongly directed the attention of artists to the selection of judges, the principles upon which their awards should be made, and the subject of competitions generally— but we are by no means sanguine as to the probability of any speedy improvement.


The Metropolitan Board of Works has not actually commenced the formation of any of the new lines of street on which it seemed to have decided last year; but it continues to discuss the subject, and occasionally appears about to begin to work; meanwhile it has apparently decided on additional new lines, and is considering others; it is also understood to have determined on the removal of some

old obstructions, including Middle-row, Holborn. In this matter, also, we hope to be really able to report progress next year. Nothing, we regret to say, has been done towards occupying the vacant spaces along the new street leading from Farringdon-street to Clerkenwell, or that from Whitechapel to Spitalfields; and Victoriastreet, Westminster, remains in its former state.


In the Companion' of last year we noticed that the plan arrived at by the Metropolitan Board of Works for the drainage of the metropolis, the chief feature of which was that the outfall for the sewage should be at Half-way Reach, had been laid before Sir Benjamin Hall. Instead of at once adopting or rejecting this plan, Sir Benjamin determined to submit the subject to a thorough reconsideration. For this purpose he called in the assistance of Mr. Simpson, President of the Institute of Civil Engineers, and who, besides his experience as engineer to the Chelsea Water-works, and as one of the highest authorities in hydraulic engineering in the country, had the special one of being actually engaged in draining the city of Stockholm; Mr. Blackwell, another eminent hydraulic engineer, the associate of Rendel in the drainage of the lower level, Gloucestershire, &c.; and Captain Galton, a distinguished military engineer. These gentlemen Sir Benjamin directed not merely to examine the scheme of the Metropolitan Board, but all others that offered any feasible advantages, and to make such further investigations and experiments as they might deem advisable. Their report was presented to Parliament in August last, but was not published in a complete form, with the evidence, subsidiary reports, appendices, maps, sections, &c. till the end of September. It is a huge volume, and contains, in the enormous amount of information collected, and the statements of the elaborate experiments and investigations undertaken by the referees and gentlemen whom they called in to their assistance, proof that the time had been diligently spent. On the whole the referees adopt, as the basis of theirs, the plan of Mr. Bazalgette, the engineer to the Metropolitan Board, but with very important modifications. The distinguishing features of their plan are that they propose to operate on a wider area (about 81 and 38 square miles); to carry the sewage of the extreme western district across the Thames to Battersea, whence it should be pumped into the southern intercepting sewers; and that the sewage should be carried, by wide and, for the most part, open channels, to a point much lower down the river than that proposed by the Metropolitan Board. On this last point they express their opinion-after pointing out the sanitary and other objections to the suggested outfalls" that the best outfall on the north side is a place between Mucking Lighthouse and Thames Haven, in Sea Reach; and that the best outfall on the south side is Higham Creek, in the Lower Hope." To these outfalls the sewage would be conveyed by channels, into which it would flow at a point in the Woolwich marshes on the south, and in the marshes below Barking on the north side of the Thames. The referees further say that "A channel capable of conveying the total amount of sewage and rainfall to be removed on the north side, at a velocity of 2 feet 6 inches per second, would be 39 feet broad and 16 feet 6 inches deep... the channel on

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