Esoteric London

No. 472: Portland Place, W1

Posted in Architectural, Transport by esotericlondon on December 20, 2011

Royal Institute of British Architects, Portland Place, London, W1. Photo © Roger Dean 2011

Tempted London: Young Men – Anon., c.1889:

Chapter III, The Life of City Clerks

Law-copying clerks lead a precarious existence. They are paid a certain sum per folio of seventy-two words – usually about 4d., but competition has reduced this in many cases to as little as 1d. Yet even at this very fair wages could be earned if the men could get plenty of work. The long vacation is a terrible time for them, and many travel down into Kent to make a little money at hopping whilst it lasts. Here is an incident from life: There is a public-house restaurant in Chancery Lane which is much frequented by law-writers. Two clerks, who were habitués, announced their intention of walking down to a well-known hopping centre, as they were quite out of funds, and could not expect to earn anything at their business until the end of the then present month. They arrived at their destination, but could not get taken on. Walking being a novel experience to them, and much too arduous for their ill-nourished constitutions, they found it quite impossible to walk back. Their slender funds were exhausted, so they wrote a letter (the postage of which they could not even pay) to the barmaid of this public-house, and she made a “whip-round” amongst the frequenters of the place, and collected enough money to enable them to return to London by train.

[ The photograph above shows a detail of one of the magnificent bronze doors to the Royal Institute of British Architects in Portland Place.  They were designed by James Woodford and date from 1934 when RIBA’s headquarters at 66 Portland Place was completed. Each of the doors is 12 feet high by 6 feet wide and weighs 1.5 tons. The exterior surface has a relief depicting the Thames weaving its way around a selection of London’s architectural landmarks including St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Zoo and a tower block. Coat of arms, people, wildlife and transport also feature.

More about Tempted London can be read at http://www.victorianlondon.org by clicking hereR.D.]

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  1. […] Something Creative Every DayEsoteric London […]

  2. […] more on the door at the RIBA see post No. 472 by clicking here. R.D. Share this:StumbleUponDiggRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Tagged with: […]


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