Esoteric London

No. 648: Holborn, EC1

Posted in Architectural, Pubs by esotericlondon on August 22, 2012

Holborn, London, EC1. Photo © Roger Dean 2012

Municipal Journal, established as London – January 19th, 1900:

Within the past twelve months the north side of Holborn has suffered a complete change; and now the last of its once famous coaching inns is about to be pulled down. A site for a further extension of the Prudential Assurance Company’s offices was cleared by the demolition of Furnival’s Inn and ‘Woods’s’ Hotel, both built about eight [y?] years ago, the former standing on the site of the block erected in [the reign of] Charles I […], the latter on the site of the Hall of the Inn. The demolition for the company’s offices has embraced ‘Ridler’s Hotel’ which in the days of its chiefest fame as a coaching house was known as the ‘Bell and Crown,’ and had retained its pristine aspect of old-fashioned comfort, together with ye two quaint houses, with three shallow bayed fronts at the corner of Leather-lane. At the lane’s opposite corner have just been erected new premises for a well-known company of outfitters. Next eastwards, a Great Western Railway Company’s receiving office replaces the ‘Old Bell,’ distinguished by its courtyard surrounded with ‘galleries’ and ‘boxes,’ and by ye coat-of-arms of Gregge of Bradley, Cheshire, and Starkye of Stretton, quartered, upon its red-brick front.
. . . Then next next east stands the ‘Black Bull’ of which the site is offered for sale, on a building lease. The ‘Black Bull’ has upon its front a large and finely-executed sign of a black bull, somewhat out of proportion with the later fortunes of the hostelry, of which the inn yard was taken some years ago for the erection of tenements for the working classes. Its destruction will involve the disappearance of the last survivor of the old coaching inns in Holborn.

[ The photograph above is of the Prudential Assurance Company building on Holborn. The iconic Victorian Gothic building was built between 1879 and 1901 over several phases to the designs of Alfred Waterhouse. All the phases of construction meld together perfectly thanks to the use of similar building materials and colour matched unglazed terracotta. The Pru, as the company are commonly known, moved out of the Grade II listed property in 2002 and the building now houses a variety of companies one of which is English HeritageR.D.]

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