Astute followers of the Archistory Blog may have noticed a distinct lack of blogging lately, this all down to the fact that the whole of November and December was non-stop with work. Christmas always brings a flurry of commissions for us and the houses we have drawn and researched have been very interesting. Only now, after the presents have been unwrapped, can I tell you a little about what’s been going on.
We completed several lovely mid-Victorian houses in London, including ones in Peckham, Camberwell, Dulwich and Kensington. One house, just off the Kings Road on the Chelsea and Fulham borders, was home since the 1890s to a succession of upholsterers, salesmen, chefs and butlers. The area was described by the philanthropist Charles Booth as “much used by poor children in the summer, the better off don’t go there: & a bad place at night, largely frequented by low prostitutes… & its bad repute has prevented a better class from continuing in the streets to its western side.” The area has rather come up in the world since then!
Another very interesting project was a neo-gothic mansion on the south coast built by a pupil of Decimus Burton for the Shadwell family who made their fortune in constructing the Martello Towers during the Napoleonic Wars. The Shadwells were tee-totalers and devout Christians and the interior of the house was decorated with Biblical quotations, oak leaves and Tudor roses, deeply incised into the plasterwork.
Over the years some major alterations to the interior meant that a few of the original inscriptions in the walls had been lost. The present owner decided not to attempt to reinstate the missing lettering. This gives the words on the walls an ethereal quality, disjointed and floating like half remembered sayings. It was great to be able to replicate the style of lettering and decoration in our drawing.