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Corporation of London city planning, 1800-1808 (7)

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Soane's friend and mentor George Dance (1741-1825) was Clerk of the City Works (architect and surveyor) from 1768 to 1825. In 1801 he designed a scheme for the reconstruction of streets from the Bank north to Finsbury Square. The design was revised in 1802. The plans for the intended improvements are shown with Soane's notes, indicating that the City's improvements influenced Soane's design for the Bank's north-west corner. In Dance's design, a large 'London Amphitheatre' replaces Bethlehem Hospital just north of the London Wall and two broad streets extend south of the square towards the Bank of England, showcasing the Bank's north-east and north-west corners.

Dance's designs were only partly carried out and at a much later date than intended: the 'London Amphitheatre' on the site of Bethlehem Hospital was built as Finsbury Circus in c.1812 and one of the broad streets was built as Moorgate Street in the 1830s. Nevertheless, Soane designed Tivoli Corner in expectation of the proposed street improvements. The Bank's north-west corner was designed as a focal point of the new cityscape.

Literature. D.Stroud, George Dance, architect, 1741-1825, 1971, chapter 7, 'The Development of the Finsbury Estate', pp.124-140



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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 Corporation of London city planning, 1800-1808 (7)