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5. BUILDINGS CONNECTED WITH Art, Science, anD EDUCATION,
The new Reading Room at the British Museum, of which a full description, with a plan and section, appeared in the Companion' for 1856, was opened in May last, and secured public and professional admiration to a degree and with a unanimity rarely accorded to a public building. Much of its success, as regards its adaptation to its purpose, is due, no doubt, to the unreserved intercommunion of ideas during its erection between the architect and the principal librarian. As a piece of constructive art it does the greatest credit to Mr. S. Smirke; and the vast span of the noble dome makes the parade of enormous obstructive piers and columns, deemed so essential in even the smallest church, appear sufficiently ludicrous in the contrast. The decorations, too-especially since the books were arranged-have a very fine effect, though whether frescoes are introduced or not, we trust that the plinths will not be suffered to remain long without statues being placed on them, as originally proposed. We may add, that the arrangements for the readers answer extremely well, as do also the contrivances for warming and ventilation, as far as they have been tested. A new Museum has been erected in the Botanical Gardens at Kew, neat rather than ornamental in character, and having the rooms, as it seemed to us, too small for a public museum liable to be visited by large numbers of persons at the same time: else sufficiently convenient and well lighted. At the East India House Mr. M. D. Wyatt has constructed a new Indian Court, for the reception of Indian sculpture and antiquities, manufactured articles, &c., and has very appropriately given to the architecture an Indian character. The Museum at Oxford, by Sir T. Deane, spoken of in a previous volume, is making satisfactory progress. A portion of the Midland Institute at Birmingham, erecting from the designs of Mr. E. M. Barry, was formally opened at the recent meeting of the Association for the Promotion of Social Science. A new building for the Bristol Academy of the Fine Arts has been erected near the Victoria Rooms. Considerable architectural pretension is displayed both internally and externally; the interior, designed by Mr. Underwood, being adapted to the exterior of Mr. Hirst, with a view to greater completeness and effect. The façade, which is of the Corinthian order, is to be adorned with statues of Sir Christopher Wren, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Grinling Gibbons, and Flaxman, as the representatives of British art. The interior consists of a principal exhibition room 50 feet by 30, two others each 34 feet by 19, class rooms (two of them being of the same size as the large exhibition room), reception rooms, &c. Little progress has been made with the Free Library and Museum at Liverpool, so munificently provided for by Mr. Brown, and the first stone of which was laid with so great a flourish of trumpets; we regret to say that the course of the competition forbids us to expect much from it in an architectural point of view. At Norwich, a building by Mr. Benest of that city-said to be a very pleasing example of Italian-has been erected for a Free Library and Museum: the cost was about 6,0007.
The walls of Covent Garden Theatre are rising to a level with the street. Engravings have been published of the façade-of which the chief feature is a Corinthian portico, mounted on a rusticated basement-which cannot be regarded as of much promise: hopes are held out, however, that the design is to be reconsidered. Flaxman's relievi are to be preserved, but in the published design they are most unfortunately placed for effect. The architect is Mr. E. M. Barry. St. James's Hall is also rising, but somewhat slowly as compared with the original announcements. A theatre has been built at Wednesbury, described as Roman in style, by Mr. Davis of that town, at a cost of 1,5007.: the interior is 80 feet by 40, and 48 feet high.
A more than commonly picturesque building, for its size, has been erected at the corner of Lisson-grove, New-road, Marylebone, by Messrs. Habershon, for the Philological School. It is of red brick, with stone facings-a combination of the Tudor collegiate and domestic styles: the arrangements of the interior also appear to be very good; the cost is under 4,000l. The St. Thomas's Charterhouse Schools, Golden-lane, a structure of yellow, red, and black bricks, by Mr. Hesketh, has also some good points. The Royal Welsh School at Ashford has been opened, with some state, by the Prince Consort; it is from a design by Mr. H. Chetton, has accommodation for 200 children, and cost 15,000l. The building, with its extensive playground and offices, covers a spacious area. The façade, which is collegiate in character, is faced with Kentish rag, and has quoins of Whitby stone.
Turning to the provinces, the first place among the scholastic edifices completed within the year must perhaps be assigned to Spring Hill Independent College, Moseley Common, near Birmingham. The building, which is by Mr. J. James (the architect of the Independent church at Halifax already noticed), occupies three sides of a quadrangle, the front being 200, and the sides about 150 feet long. Its architectural character will be seen from the engraving. The tower in the centre is 78 feet to the battlements, the turret is 14 feet higher. The large room on the left of the tower is the library (46 feet by 24), that on the right the dining-room (35 by 24). The institution is for the training of ministers for the Congregational body, and at present affords accommodation for 36 students. The Lansdowne Proprietary College, Bath, is another extensive pile of buildings of a highly ornamental character, arranged in a quadrangle, with a lofty tower in the centre of the principal front the architect is Mr. J. Wilson, of Bath.-At Hull Ragged and Industrial Schools have been erected in the Tudor style by Mr. Botterill of that town; and Industrial, Parochial, Roman Catholic, and other schools have been erected, with more or less architectural pretensions, in various parts of the country.
6. STREET ARCHITECTURE.
In London street architecture the city has taken a decided lead. A stroll about the neighbourhood of the Royal Exchange would
rather surprise one who fancies that London is making little architectural progress. On every hand, in the narrow streets, the courts, and the alleys, as well as in the main thoroughfares, buildings of a substantial and costly character, if not always in the purest architectural taste, are seen of recent erection or in course of construction. On the north side of Cornhill the Union Life Assurance, a solidlooking stone structure, by Mr. Lewis, has just been finished; and a little eastward of it is the Australian Chartered Bank, by Mr. H. Baker, in which, as in several of the newest offices and shops in the city, shafts of polished granite have been employed with some effect. On the opposite side of the way, the shop of Messrs. Sarl, silversmiths, is the most noticeable new building, and probably is the most costly specimen of shop architecture in London. The building, though not more than 40 feet wide, rises to a height of about 100 feet. The whole of the front above the shop, which is 26 feet high, is of Bath stone, and is carried on a wrought-iron tubular girder, which is borne by polished red granite pilasters having Corinthian capitals of Bath stone. The upper part, of four stories, has attached Corinthian pillars of polished granite, with a balcony at the fourth story, and is crowned by a very bold cornice. The style is Venetian, and a great deal of ornamentation is everywhere introduced. In the spandrils of the windows of the second story are emblematic figures. The space between the arch of the shop-windows and the cornice above is of statuary marble, carved in a bold and florid style, by Trentanova. On the whole, the façade has a rich and striking character, with an allowable excess of ornament, the chief defect being the appearance of weakness, arising from the want of sufficient apparent support in the ground story for the enormous mass above. The disagreeable appearance which a building so narrow, as compared with its height, would have, is removed by the houses on either side being built of a somewhat lower, but uniform height and style, and evidently forming a part of the design. The interior of the building is still more ornate than the exterior. The ground-floor is open to the room above, around which runs a broad gallery, supported by coupled Doric columns, over which are coupled composite columns with shafts of coloured marble; the ceiling, like the gallery, has deep and richly-ornamented coffers, the beams being supported by coupled figures. From the centre hangs a very large chandelier. Everywhere is a profusion of coloured marbles, carvings, lookingglasses, and decorations, rather, it must be confessed, with the glittering stock, wearying than satisfying the eye. The architect is Mr. J. Barnett.-A little to the east of it, at the corner of Birchinlane, another silversmith's shop is being erected, but of much less ambitious character, though not without some attempt at effect. Between the two is a large open space where the offices of the National Discount Company are being erected.-Farther east in Cornhill is the new porch of St. Michael's, of which we have already spoken.In Birchin-lane an extension of Glyn's bank has been lately completed. In Lombard-street is the new Royal Insurance Office-a fair specimen of Renaissance, by Mr. Belcher: it is built of Portland stone, with a granite plinth.-Crossing over to Lothbury, we come
upon the bank of Jones Loyd & Co., a far less ornate, but more stately structure; in its way a capital type of the quiet, solid, firstclass business establishment. The style is Roman Doric, the ground
Jones Loyd & Co.'s Bank, Lombard Street.
story being of Portland stone, the upper stories of white brick with stone quoins and dressings, and the whole crowned with a bold stone cornice. The architect is Mr. P. C. Hardwick.-We may also notice, whilst in this part, two novelties-though in their application not entirely successful-in shop-fronts: one, the free use of encaustic tiles in a Renaissance front to the premises of Messrs. Lloyd, the print-sellers, in Gracechurch-street; the other, that of polished granite pedestals, pilasters, frieze, and cornice, to the shop (the house being left unornamented) of a silversmith in Fenchurch-street.
Along Cannon-street a few of those huge piles of warehouses have been added on the north to those which during the last few years have lined its south side. Of these the most extensive is one adjoining Friday-street, of which Mr. Belcher is the architect; but more remarkable architecturally, and on account of its great altitude, is that constructed at the corner of Friday-street, from the designs of Mr. R. Roberts, for Messrs. Nicholson & Co., which consists of no less than seven lofty floors above the basement: it is Italian in style;