“The older, eastern portion of the market is the direct product of Robert Horner’s vision of his own situation.”*

*the gentle author, on Spitalfields Market.

From: The Survey of London’s approaches to the history of East London, by Peter Guillery (Survey of London, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London):

“…Sheppard brought greater urban historical rigour to the Survey and the approach to recording under his leadership was increasingly inclusive, heavily influenced by his friendship with H. J. Dyos, whose pioneering work on London helped to establish urban history as a field of study…

…The introduction, probably written by **Walter Ison, among the more judgmental historians to have written for the Survey, concludes:

A return to a more amiable style of building is to be seen in the uniform ranges surrounding Spitalfields Market (1886–93), designed by George Sherrin in a pleasant semi-domestic style that derives from Norman Shaw’s work at Bedford Park. Sherrin’s building is preferable to the large additions made to the market in 1926–8, in which an attempt is made to clothe the shed-like structure with the dress of early Georgian houses. Neo-Georgian feeling of a better kind pervades the blocks of flats on the large Holland Estate, built on the Tenter Ground site for the London County Council between 1927 and 1936. The only other twentieth-century building that need be mentioned here, principally on account of its great size, is the faience-fronted factory of Messrs Godfrey Phillips in Commercial Street, built in the 1930s.

In terms of both style and content much has changed since in the way the Survey of London conducts its research and presents its material…”

**Christopher Woodward: “Ison (1908-97) was born to a middle-class family in Leamington. He worked as a junior assistant in the office of Frank Verity, the theatre architects, and studied architecture in the evenings.”

From: ‘Spitalfields Market area’, in Survey of London: Volume 27, Spitalfields and Mile End New Town, ed. F H W Sheppard (London, 1957):

“…The first part of Horner’s rebuilding to be completed was the roofing-over of the central marketplace. A competition for designs was advertised in February 1883 and of eighteen competitors Messrs. Oswald Gardner and Company were successful. By March 1884 the first three spans of the glass and iron roof were in place. In 1883–1885 the old seventeenth-century buildings surrounding the market-place were demolished…

…Between 1886 and 1893 the new buildings which still survive as the eastern part of the market were erected. The architect was George Sherrin of Finsbury Square and the contractors Messrs. Harris and Wardrop of Limehouse. A project for the complete reconstruction of the market property with entry from the corners was abandoned, and North, South and East Streets were largely retained, although the previously wholly open access was replaced by openings in continuous buildings on the north, south and east sides.

The iron and glass halls of Horner’s market are enclosed by ranges of shops with two storeys and a garret-storey of living accommodation over them. These buildings have a pleasant domestic character, influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement and slightly reminiscent of Norman Shaw’s work at Bedford Park…

…The fronts are faced with a good red brick, dressed with moulded brick, stone and plaster, and the steeply pitched roofs are tiled. The sashed windows, which have brick segmental arches with stone keys, are grouped in pairs or placed singly between pilasterstrips of brick, and are underlined by stone sills on narrow brackets, the second-floor sills forming a continuous band. The south range of the Commercial Street front has a plaster-faced gable at each end and one just south of the centre, the last emphasizing the wide rusticated archway below. The north range, with a shorter frontage, has a gable at each end, and between the two ranges is a square glass-roofed building of two storeys, fronted with three rusticated arches, their lunettes containing highly ornamented windowsurrounds.

The plaster panel over the arched entrance in the south range is inscribed ‘SPITALFIELDS MARKET Rebuilt by Robert Horner during the year of QUEEN Victoria’s Jubilee 1887’…

…The lead rainwater-heads on the east range of the Brushfield Street front are dated 1886, and those on the west range are dated 1889…

“The recurring decorative sunflower in iron, stained glass, stucco, terracotta, and wood, was the hallmark of Queen Anne and of Aestheticism (Gilbert and Sullivan lampooned it in Patience in 1881)…Taylor had used sunflower panels on his almshouses as well, but in service of the rural Old English. Queen
Anne, more urbane and eclectic, was fashionable in Bedford Park and
in London itself, especially among artists and aesthetes in Kensington
and Chelsea, where it signified advanced artistic taste.” (Susan Wagg, 2013)

…On the Lamb Street corner is a plaster panel inscribed ’this market was finished rebuilding by R. Horner 1893’…

…The final cost to Horner of the rebuilding was about £80,000.”

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