A modest little exhibition has opened in the British Museum that displays a number of prints of London under varying states of construction.
Mostly drawings of bridges and roads, there are some good views of Docklands, and a side profile of St Paul’s Cathedral that explains how the great dome is supported.
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A number of the prints will be familiar to London history fans as they were printed in mainstream books and periodicals, but about two-thirds would be new to most people. As such, it’s worth a wander in to have a look if in the area, if less so for a specific visit — and a good way to top-up a sometimes flagging London history geek.
There is also a Canaletto.
Although not architecturally detailed, one of the most atmospheric images is this one by Muirhead Bone of the Great Gantry in Charing Cross Station.
It shows the repairs to the arch following a catastrophic collapse in 1905 that killed six people. What is shown is the massive mobile scaffold under the railway station rood, with two men sitting precariously close to the edge high up repairing the glass panels.
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Piccadily looking towards the city – 1842
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Construction of New London Bridge – 1826
The drawing shows the cofferdams that were erected as temporary supports as they construct the piers, of which just three are in place at the time the drawing was made.
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The exhibition is in Room 90 — at the top of the rear staircase of the British Museum.
(Oh, and I am experimenting with a new way of displaying images in blog posts that doesn’t send you to Flickr when you want to see a larger version — let me know if it screws up… or is loved)