The area between the Strand and the River Thames is rich in historical associations and surviving specimens of domestic and public architecture. In the Middle Ages the Bishops of Durham built a riverside palace which still gives its name to parts of the area. Many of the dramatic conflicts in Church and State during Tudor and Stuart times took place within its walls, as the names of such sometime residents as Catherine of Aragon, Thomas Wolsey, Lady Jane Grey and Sir Walter Raleigh suggest. The name "Adelphi" was chosen by the Adam brothers to commemorate their development in the area and although their riverside terrace was demolished in 1936, much of the periphery of their estate remains, notably the Royal Society of Arts in John Adam Street. The western side of Robert Street where Robert Adam himself resided and where in modern times Kingsley Martin strove to maintain the literary character of the district once associated with Thomas Hardy, J M Barrie, Richard D'Oyly Carte and George Bernard Shaw is now maintained by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting.
Within the walls of the RSA James Barry painted his masterpieces and the idea of the Great Exhibition was conceived. Charles Dickens had once worked in the hated blacking factory at Hungerford Stairs, and wandered in his misery through the Adelphi arches and vaults, long commemorated by the Green Room Club's "Fagin's Kitchen". He had also lodged in Buckingham Street where Pepys had once lived and whose name recalls the great George Villiers, Lord High Admiral, as the surviving Watergate and many fine 17th century houses remind us. Victorian ebullience led to the creation of the Embankment Gardens and the building of the Hotel Cecil and the Savoy Hotel. The impact of the Second World War is illustrated by some remarkable drawings of bomb damage preserved by the RSA. The concluding section of the book describes the area as it is today with Hamp's great office building embellished, the Adam buildings restored and some post-modern structures, notably Heron House, built in sympathy with their scale.
Publisher: Umbria Press
Number of pages: 192
Dimensions: 248 x 198 mm