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Lothbury and Bartholomew Lane screen walls, 1794-1797 (66)

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After purchasing the Haines estate and surrounding properties to the north-east, Soane built a screen wall around the vacant site. He presented a design to the Building Committee in October 1794, for which he was given approval. Soane continued to refine the design until mid-1796. A house at the corner of Bartholomew Lane and Lothbury was not acquired until July 1796, and building works probably did not begin until after that date. Extending around Princes Street, Lothbury Street and Bartholomew Lane, the screen wall was completed by mid-1797. The new wall joined with Rober Taylor's screen wall on Bartholomew Lane. Taylor's back entrance gate on Bartholomew Lane was removed in September 1797.

The screen wall was a wrapping enclosure, appearing thin and simple while at the same time evoking its role as a fortification. A rampart walk ran behind the parapet at the top of the wall, with a door from the Porter's Lodge at the Lothbury gate. . The rusticated screen wall was raised on an eight foot high socle. The curving corners were both modelled on the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli, displaying the temple's ornamentation and columniation. A bucranium and festoon frieze was omitted in the final design. Vitruvian windows were built on the existing wall when it was extended in 1805-1807.

Literature: W. Marston Acres, The Bank of England from within, Oxford, 1931, p.395; D. Abramson, Money's architecture: the building of the Bank of England, 1731-1833, Doctoral thesis for the Department of Fine Arts, Harvard University, 1993, p.354-355.

Madeleine Helmer, 2010



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Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

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Contents of Lothbury and Bartholomew Lane screen walls, 1794-1797 (66)