A London Reverie: Fifty-Six Drawings

A London Reverie: Fifty-Six Drawings

A London Reverie: Fifty-Six Drawings

A London Reverie: Fifty-Six Drawings

Excerpt

In these drawings of the late Mr. Joseph Pennell's we see the London, or part of the London, of twenty years ago.

That London, structurally, has in large measure disappeared. No doubt the majority of the buildings then standing are still standing. But many of the most central and significant edifices have been pulled down, and very few of the most central and significant thoroughfares have remained unaltered. Regent's Park is still intact, and Kensington Palace Green. Bedford Row, blessed legacy, is unchanged; so, for all I know (or care), is Victoria Street, except for the recent alterations to the Army and Navy Stores. I see no change in Northumberland Avenue; two vile and soulless ranges suitably introduced by the dull Grand Hotel, which stands where Northumberland House once flaunted its lion. But Regent Street, Piccadilly, the Strand, Fleet Street, Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, have all been substantially modified, some for the worse, some for the better. Waterloo Bridge, centre of the finest vista in London, is on crutches and possibly doomed. Devonshire House, not externally a beautiful building, but quiet, homely, surrounded by gravelled space, and guarded by the finest pieces of weathered Portland stone extant, fell yesterday. It gave place to a building which might have been the legitimate glory of Dayton, Ohio, or Memphis, Tennessee. Yesterday, also, fell Grosvenor House, a rather ugly building, apart from its screen on the side street, but one not dwarfing the lovely little balconied and bow-fronted Regency rows which made Park Lane (the rich in smallish houses, aristocracy temperately putting on a show of domesticity over the trees and the . . .

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