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put forward for covering it with buildings, Mr. Tite has felt himself justified in asserting lately his belief that the view of the cathedral will not be sacrificed. In Cornhill, an opening has been made to St. Michael's Church, by which the whole height of the tower is seen. The effect is hardly equal to what might have been supposed by admirers of Wren's works. The appearance of the lower portion of the tower from a distance, could hardly have been calculated upon by the architect. The narrow thoroughfare-Chancery-lane—has been somewhat amended by setting back a few of the houses at the south end, and by the erection of new buildings of very improved character. The old Mitre Tavern, formerly on the site adjoining the new tavern, was said to have been once the residence of Izaak Walton, Fetter-lane is still unfinished. Any such alterations, however, would be minor instalments of that improvement of the metropolitan thoroughfares, which is becoming hourly more and more imperative. The countless throng of persons every day brought to the small area of the City proper; the passing to and from railways, warehouses, and docks, of all kinds of vehicles; the narrowness of some of the chief thoroughfares, and the badly-planned lines of many of them, with the crowded state of the few bridges available, are beginning to be matters of serious moment. A Committee was appointed in the last session of Parliament, to investigate the subject of metropolitan communications; and a report has lately appeared, illustrated with plans of many different schemes,—the improvement of the riverside, so much connected with the diversion of the sewage--being amongst objects in view. Amongst the schemes, some attention has been excited by one emanating from Sir Joseph Paxton. It comprises a girdle railway, so to speak—passing over 104 miles of ground, with bridges across the Thames--and a line intersecting the centre of the metropolis, of 14 miles in length, running generally east and west, but crossing the river near Hungerford-bridge. The construction was proposed to be that of a building resembling the transept of the Exhibition Building of 1851; and this was to include carriage-way, foot-ways, and lines of railway. Houses were to open on to the line. The total expense was estimated at 34,000,0001., and it was urged, that if other means failed, the Government ought to guarantee a rate of interest,--the belief being, that through the want of some such guarantee, capital which often might be employed advantageously in English works, was driven to seek investment in other countries where such guarantee was offered, and with no loss therefrom to the governments.
The market is now removed from Smithfield, and it remains a question what would be the best means of disposing of this valuable space. The old prison of the Compter, hard by, has been taken down during the course of the year. Considerable activity in building operations prevails in the City; and every step indicates progress as to design, and greater regard paid to the advantage of materials durable and truthful, and auxiliary to real art. There is, perhaps, as to the appearance of breadth of base in buildings, a tendency to overstep certain limits—arising from the constant problem as to the admission of a large amount of light in a confined situation. But,
the manner in which the problem is solved is often the occasion for imparting the very qualities of original art, which are the highest ; and the result is, that there is much in the recent architecture of the City, which deserves the attention of architects practising in other parts of the metropolis.
But, in all circumstances as to the great demand made of late in the architecture of places of business, and in the manner in which it has been supplied both in the metropolis and the leading towns of the north, there is that evidence of advancement at which we have felt so much gratified; and the increase of public companies, from the direction which legislation is taking, will probably continue favourable to architecture. Private speculations, however, are made opportunities for similar display of taste. In Manchester, the progress still observable in architecture, as applied to the large emporiums of manufactures, which the works of Mr. Walters continue to illustrate, is surprising to those who may recollect the appearance of the town fifteen or twenty years ago. Liverpool, if we may judge from a report of an address lately made by the President of the local Architectural Society, is advancing, but hardly to the same extent. “Piles of offices,” we read, “ are springing up;" but, “ although in an architectural point of view they are an advance upon those of former years,” he says,
66 I must confess we are in the rear of that architectural expression given to similar places of business in the metropolis and other mercantile cities. Our warehouses present the same disregard to the beauty of form and common-sense construction as they have hitherto done, excepting those erected under the able directions and superintendence of our dock surveyor.". This, however, we have reason to think, would convey an idea of the architecture of Liverpool not equal to the merits. — There is a marked local character in later works in the town—an impress from the Greek school upon the general Italian-doubtless due, in great part, to the example of St. George's Hall. Professor Cockerell, also, who some years since executed one of the principal buildings, adopts usually a similar manner. At Newcastle, the new buildings have been in progress which were rendered necessary by the disastrous calamity in the latter part of 1854.
What are called “improvements” lead to the destruction of interesting old buildings more frequently than necessary. A house at Greenwich, sometimes called the Old Palace, or Crowley House, well known from illustrations, has been taken down; and the picturesque Town-hall at Leominster, a half-timbered structure, has been sold by auction, preparatory to removal ; it may, however, be rebuilt at Hampton Court.
The public statues erected during the last few years have been as numerous in England, perhaps, as on the Continent; and it has been out of our power to allude to each instance. The Manchester Wellington Monument, by Mr. Noble, is one of the last completed. The hero is represented in ordinary costume, on a tall pedestal, at the base of which are grouped accessory figures. At the same town, the bronze statue of Dalton, by W. Theed, has been completed and fixed. It is placed on an angle pedestal, in the parapet wall sepa
rating the public esplanade from the grounds of the Infirmary, and is a copy, on a somewhat larger scale, of a marble statue by Chantrey in the Royal Institution at the same town. This principle, in works of sculpture-here carried out on the instructions of the Committee -is not a judicious.one,-and not merely because the value of a new
a work is comparatively little, if it cannot be viewed as a work of mind (which surely every public monument should be), but because it is by no means clear that the rules of art as to properties of materials—referred to some pages back-do not apply as much to sculpture as to architecture and decorative art. The antique sculpture in bronze is always very different in treatment to the sculpture in marble. Proportions and details can be fashioned in the one case, which would be beyond the limits of a friable material ; and these opportunities, according to all sound principles of art, are to be accepted, not passed by. Moreover, a comparative lightness of character affords the justification that is really required, for the use of a material the colour of which has some heaviness, and we believe it is to mistakes of the kind referred to, as much as the ungainliness of modern costume, that the somewhat unfortunate result in recent works such as the statue of Sir Robert Peel, lately placed at the west end of Cheapside—is due. We are therefore disposed to suggest to the authorities at Manchester, that they should hesitate before carrying out an intention, lately expressed, of makingļa statue of Wait (proposed to be placed in a corresponding position to that of the Dalton statue) a copy of the marble statue in Westminster Abbey. The statue of Sir Robert Peel just mentioned fails in another important particular. It is no exception to the common error in our public statues, of caring little about the accessories and the pedestal. There should in all cases be a proper area of platform slightly raised above the general ground ; and if the latter ascend to the statue, it is better. Then, with subordinate objects at the angles, and some degree of design and decoration in the pedestal itself, not only does the whole become a satisfactory public monument, but the work of the sculptor culminates to its due effect; whereas, a common system is to taķe no thought about the pedestal,-to set it down where the ground is perhaps lower than that around, and to finish with an ugly railing and four street-lamps. Just where the puddle lies thickest in what is best known as Pigtail-place, there is such a monument; and whilst many a West-end passenger has cracked his joke at the figure on horseback, it does not seem to have occurred to any one, that much of the dissatisfaction felt, was traceable to our habitual' manner of turning out in the streets what we mean for public monuments. The statue in Cheapside is just now disfigured by lamps of special ugliness, and the obstruction of a railing is spoken of.—Before leaving the streets, we may mention that a number of what are called “pillar letter-boxes” have been set up, but they have little to recommend them in design. They are oblong “on the plan,” being set so as to take up little width on the footway. On the sides are painted particulars of postal arrangements, and at the top is a large round ball.
The line of embankment of the upper part of the river towards Chelsea is now very far advanced. It will take off a considerable
portion of the bend of the river, wear the Chelsea Water-works, and will quite alter the arrangement of the end of the grounds of Chelsea Hospital. The street in continuation of Sloane-street is also advanced. In a Report presented to the House of Commons during the last session, it was stated that the new bridge was likely to be finished by the end of 1855; but at this time of writing, we can discover no great change in the appearance of the works as compared with the corresponding time when we noticed them in the previous year. The suspension-rods, of “excellent iron," manufactured by the patent process of Howard, Ravenhill, and Co., are said to be quite ready, and have “borne a tensile strain of 13} tons to the square inch, under the specified conditions."
For the new park, a considerable amount of work in the formation of roads and esplanade has doubtless been done; but we had better revert to the Report itself for definite information. The works, which it appears were commenced in February, 1854, have been continued as rapidly as earth could be obtained and funds would permit. The works preparatory to forming the park and planting were :-- 1, An esplanade, the whole length by the river, about 120 feet in breadth, and 4 feet above high-water mark; 2, The “ Albert Road,” east of the park, to the Lower Wandsworth Road; and, 3, Entrances to the park at the south-west and south-east angles. Little short of 100,000 cubic yards of earth had to be brought from a distance, to fill up the docks and low ground, and 25,000 yards had to be excavated and moved. The principal work in hand during the year was the road of ascent to the bridge, 60 feet in width. For this, exclusive of the slopes, 150,000 cubic yards of earth had been required to be brought by the river. There was an enclosure all round, excepting on the east side. At our last visit, the place had still a very dreary appearance.
The Brompton and Kensington estate--that in which was invested the surplus from the Exhibition of 1851- has been taking its intended configuration, several broad roads having been formed. On the Brompton side, the narrow road which continued past the temporary church and the college of the Oratoriaus, is now widened considerably. During the last session of Parliament, a vote of 15,0001. was given towards the crection of a temporary corrugated iron building, for the reception of a number of valuable objects of art and industry, now inconveniently placed elsewhere. No formal decision has been announced as to the pursuance of the original scheme of the Industrial Museum, nor as to the removal of the National Gallery; but we believe that certain plans have been for some time in preparation. We trust the subject will be fairly discussed; since, if the locality be decided on, it must involve a denial of the hoped-for advantages of the Institution the bulk of London, inclusive of the very class of inhabitants, those at the cast, whom it is perhaps most important to consider. The ground is said to be any time good for what it has cost; and if an adequate site be positively not procurable in the most desirable spot, possibly even the Surrey side of the water might afford a central situation. Since we wrote our last year`s notice, the gates which were exhibited in 1851, by the Coal
brook Dale Company, have been erected as an entrance to Kensington Gardens on the south side, at the end of the New Walk. The parts are however arranged in a right line, instead of baving the sides curved on the plan. The effect would have been better with the original arrangement. A new entrance to the gardens has also been made on the north side; but as in many instances in the public parks, the opportunity has not been taken advantage of. An octagonal building, of timber construction, has been erected in the Gardens, as a refreshment room. The necessity for free communication between opposite sides of St. James's Park has been occupying much attention, and the proposal to afford it, by a road and bridge intersecting the gardens and water, has caused a great outcry. The Chief Commissioner is now pledged to defer the matter till it has been brought before parliament. Some previous measures of a like character have justified the suspicion so readily called forth. At the east end of the town, there is now a similar outcry about the intention to take up a portion of the ground round Victoria Park, for building purposes. It has been stated, on the other side, that this portion was never intended to form part of the park, but was reserved to indemnify the outlay.
The alteration of the roadway near Buckingham Gate has been partly effected. At present a very awkward corner is formed at the junction of the new line with Stafford Row; but this arrangement, according to explanation in Parliament, is only temporary. Gates have been placed, enclosing a considerable area, before the Equerries' Entrance of the Palace; the piers, although having somewhat an imposing effect from their number, have little certainly in character with the palatial in their extreme plainness. The entrance to the park, and that to Birdcage-walk, have been modified in arrangement, the lodge having been removed and rebuilt.
4.-CHURCHES AND CHAPELS. The Reports of the Incorporated Church Building Society and of the Church Commissioners, as our readers are aware, are made up to a period of the year which is not very convenient for the purposes of our publication, as well as that they can give no particulars of many buildings which do not come under official cognizance. The Society has been induced by what we said, to print a tabular statement of the churches completed with their aid during twelve months ending the 31st March, 1855. The list includes several churches which we have already mentioned; but we may state that it gives particulars of 20 churches " rebuilt” (many of them however, we think from new designs), and of 40 " additional churches.” Amongst the forty, the Decorated style, under various modifications of name, is still most in favour,—the “Early English” being named in only 8 instances; whilst the Perpendicular style is named in one case, and the Norman style in two cases. The amounts of estimates vary from 5701. up to 7,0691. The last Annual Report of the Church Commissioners, the 35th, is dated 24th July, 1855. It states that the churches completed by the aid of the Commissioners were 27 in number. These were (naming places or districts, parishes and counties) at Shippon,