Monday, August 10, 2009

A view of Charing Cross Station and Embankment Gardens

This is a view of where I used to work for nearly five years - in a building which is right in the middle of the sketch just behind those trees in the Victoria Embankment Gardens across the River Thames from the fifth floor balcony of the Royal Festival Hall which is where I was! It was done during the Drawing London Group's sketch outing on 31st July.

A view of Charing Cross Station and Embankment Gardens
6" x 17", pen and ink and coloured pencils in
Artcoe Bluebell sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Do click the image to see a much larger version in my new panoramic sketchbook which is currently getting a lot of use!

Confusingly the gardens are right next to Charing Cross Station (on the left of the sketch) not Victoria. They are so called because the area of reclaimed river on which they stand is called the Victoria Embankment.
The gardens were created in 1874 after Sir Joseph Bazalgette built the northern intercept sewer and the northern embankment of the river Thames. Victoria Embankment Main Garden formerly Adelphi Gardens was the second of the four gardens to be created. The gardens as a whole are the home to numerous statues and monuments to the great and the good as well York House Watergate which marks where the River Thames originally ran prior to the building of the intercept sewer.
City of Westminster - Victoria Embankment Gardens
In front of the gardens you can see Embankment Pier where a number (but not all) of the riverboats stop. The link is to the timetable maintained by Transport for London.

The big building in the middle right is The Adephi - but it's not the original Adelphi.
The current building was erected in 1938. It replaced a beautiful riverside development of 24 houses built from 1772 on by John, Robert, James and William Adam (Adelphoi is Greek for brothers). Among its occupants were David Garrick (1717-79) at No. 6 Adelphi Terace (1772-79), George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) at No. 10 (1899-1927) and Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) (he worked at No. 8 for Arthur Bloomfield, the architect from 1862 to 1867).
walking informal education - the embankment to great russell street
The building I used to work in was opposite the Adelphi at 1-3 Robert Street. This is Grade II listed and is described in British History Online. Number 3 can boast of many famous residents - including John Adam himself.
No.3 Robert Street was built as a private house where John Adam himself resided from 1778-1785. This building can boast of other famous inhabitants: JM Barrie, best known as the author of Peter Pan, the poet Thomas Hood, Sir John Galsworthy novelist and playwright, along with other eminent artists and writers.
History of 3 Robert Street / my links
It's a really lovely building - with stunning views of the Thames - and is one I must try and sketch one day!

You can also see Cleopatra's Needle on the extreme right (there are two more in Paris and New York). I ran out of space before I could get the Savoy Hotel in where Monet and Whistler and other artists used to paint the Thames. It's shrouded in scaffolding and protective netting at the moment and does not make a good subject for a sketch.

The fifth floor balcony of the Royal Festival Hall is a really excellent place to sketch the river, practice sketching boats as they move up and down the river and sketch people passing by on the south bank of the Thames below. I can also recommend the E.A.T Cafe below for sandwiches and general lunchtime refreshment.

You can see some more sketches I've done from this location last October in RWS Friends: Sketching at the Royal Festival Hall.

My sketchercise for the day was walking home along the River Thames Walkway on the south bank and across the Millenium Bridge to Blacks at St Pauls where I tried to get a replacement for my pedometer which had stopped working. I've now worked out that when the manufacturer says it's not waterproof it actually means it's not "London humidity" proof! I'm now trying to find one which is humidity proof!

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