Whilst up in London recently, I took the opportunity to visit an exhibition and an exhibit, both related to London’s past:
Relics of old London: Photography and the spirit of the city at the Royal Academy of Arts
Prompted by the imminent demolition of an old London inn near St Paul’s, the Society for the Photographing of Relics of Old London set about using photography as a means of documenting buildings that represented old London threatened with destruction. This exhibition presents a selection of these photographs from the 1870s and 1880s by A. & J. Bool and, later, Henry Dixon & Son which capture some of the buildings and streets, which were the legacies of earlier centuries.
The exhibition offers fascinating insights into photography’s historic, and ongoing, role in documenting the texture of the urban environment.
The exhibition includes modern photographs to demonstrate how London has changed since the original photographs were taken.
The façade of Sir Paul Pindar’s house, originally in Bishopsgate, London and now in the new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries at the V&A, is an outstanding survival of a London timber-framed house built before the Great Fire of 1666.
In 1890 the property was demolished to make room for the expansion of Liverpool Street Station, but fortunately, the façade was recognised to be an architectural rarity and presented to the V&A.