Thames House, Queen Street Place, London EC4

From the Historic England entry:

“QUEEN STREET PLACE Nos 1 to 4 {consec) II

Includes: No.69 UPPER THAMES STREET. Offices. 1911. Thomas Collcutt and Stanley Hamp.

Stone with granite podium. Monumental classical building, mainly symmetrical. Five storeys and attic. Eighteen bays. The building folds along axis and wings bend backwards slightly. Giant niche over central entrance with date; tiny pediment to attic. End pavilions each three bays, slightly advanced with giant Corinthian pilasters, pavilion roofs and small open pediments to attics with rich sculptur. Oriels to third floor, set in arches. Ionic volutes to architraves of flanking windows. Intervening 6 bays with giant Ionic columns. Pedimented oriels with concave sides to first floor; round arches over heavy cornices above second and fourth floors. Return to right with pedimented entrance in concave corner. Rich sculptural details. Original metal doors-and balustrades. Interior not seen.”

Chris Partridge posted at Ornamental Passions on 3 May 2011:

“Thames House was built in 1911 for Liebig’s Extract of Meat Company, which made a Bovril-like goo from boiled up cows at a huge plant in Fray Bentos in Uruguay. It later became famous for the Oxo cube.
Thames House was designed by Stanley Hamp in the big Baroque he used before he went Art Deco, and the facade has lots of jolly figures from several good sculptors.

The Southwark Bridge facade

“Southwark Bridge is an arch bridge in London, for traffic linking the district of Southwark and the City across the River Thames. Besides when others are closed for temporary repairs, it has the least traffic of the Thames bridges in London.” (Wikipedia)

is arranged as two wings with an entrance block in the middle and pavilions at either end. The sculpture on the north pavilion is by Richard Garbe, son of a Dalston manufacturer of ivory and tortoiseshell goods. As well as architectural sculpture he produced much work in ivory and ceramic figurines for Doulton.

“A pair of nude figures hold a strop to tame the winged horse Pegasus, who beats the cloud with his hooves in his struggle. They look strangely casual.”

The central entrance of Thames House features figures representing Abundance, by Frank Lynn-Jenkins.

“On the left a woman holds a cornucopia of fruits of the land, on the right a man pours out water from a jar. Between them is a pair of steer’s horns, one of the few references to the source of the money that paid for this tremendous building – South American beef…
…Above, a trio of chubby cherubs hold up a shield with the date, 1911.”

The south pavilion of Thames House features more sculpture by Richard Garbe. The subject is the abundance of ag and fish (again), but officially entitled The Fruits of Land and Water.

“A woman on the left holds a sheaf and fruit, Neptune on the right holds a trident and a rope for his net, with which he has caught a great big cod. Between them is a boy throwing a scarf over his head. Below, wheels with wings symbolise trade.”

The capitals at the top of the columns (probably not by Garbe but by the firm that did the rest of the stonework) are unusual designs with an owl for wisdom (note the book it is standing on) and an eagle for courage (are those thunderbolts clutched in his talons?).

The south pavilion has a particularly lavish doorway surmounted by an arch over a circular window or oculus. The spandrels over the arch contain bas reliefs of women denoting Commerce (left) and Wisdom (r), by Richard Garbe.

“Commerce holds a caduceus and brandishes an oak branch, symbol of endurance and fortitude.”
“Wisdom holds a torch and proffers a laurel branch, symbol of victory. Above, a dove with an olive branch in her beak brings peace.”
“Between the two, the wise owl stands on a scroll, supported by a small boy kneeling in the keystone of the arch. The owl holds a just balance in her beak.” Bob Speel calls this “the Atlas crouch”.

The lintel over the main door is decorated with swirling hippocampi

and supports a curious bronze sailing ship by the metalworker William Bainbridge Reynolds. It is the shortest ship in history, with just one mast, but the stern is as ornately carved as any galleon so it must make a splendid sight from the room inside.”

From Wikipedia:

“Five Kings House (formerly Thames House) is an office building in the City of London on the corner of Upper Thames Street and Queen Street Place, postcode EC4R 1QS. It is Grade II listed, Number:1358918.

“The winged keystone is decorated with fruit and eagles.”
“A bronze sailing ship is in front of the oculus, supported on cartouche with the inscription “THAMES HOUSE”.”
“Over the corner doorway is a canopy decorated with reclining figures, a skull on a pediment and a tablet with cherubs…
“Those over the grand entrance on the corner with Upper Thames Street represent Mercury…
…and a female figure, representing Agriculture, by George Duncan MacDougald (1880-1945).”

Vintners Place, 68 Upper Thames Street, London, EC4 “With its first Royal Charter in 1363, the Vintners’ Company is one of the Great Twelve City of London Livery Companies. Vintners’ Hall is known as the “spiritual home of the International wine trade” and its current trade, social, charitable and educational interests, means the Company continues to play an important role in the 21st century.”
The Vintners’ coat of arms, three barrels and a chevron, adorns all of their properties in the City. “The administrative entrance to the Vintners’ Company is via the ‘Five Kings House’ entrace on the corner of Upper Thames Street and Queen Street Place. The Boardroom is situated on the third floor of what is now Five Kings House, adjacent to the Hall. Designed as a meeting room in the neoclassical style, although it includes some baroque elements. A classic room for more formal meetings but also available for lunches and dinners. Above the main doorway is an interesting carved trophy arrangement which alludes to the large-scale cattle farming of South America which was the main source of Liebig’s prosperity. At the top is the horned skull of an ox above a free-standing iron cooking pot, surrounded by various implements such as a sheathed dagger, lengths of rope, chains, a whip, a saw and an axe, as well as more conventional flowers, fruit and ears of wheat.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: