42-43 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2

From: ‘Henrietta Street and Maiden Lane Area: Maiden Lane’, in Survey of London: Volume 36, Covent Garden, ed. F H W Sheppard (1970):

“This building was erected in 1873, under an eighty-year Bedford building lease to E. Y. and T. Cox, to form an extension to their adjacent premises at Nos. 28–29 Southampton Street. Cox and Sons (later Cox, Sons and Buckley) were church-furniture and stained-glass manufacturers. The architect was S. J. Nicholl, who also designed Roman Catholic churches in London and elsewhere. The contractor was the local builder, Howard, whose tender was accepted at £2,297.

Four storeys high, with two further storeys in the roof, the lofty appearance of the building is emphasized by its architectural treatment. Although stylistically the details are flamboyant French Gothic, the size and arrangement of the openings clearly indicate the functional requirements of the building. The front is two bays wide, one of which is a double bay, and is of red brick with stone dressings. At ground-storey level, the recessed main entrance occupies the single bay, the double bay containing a pair of large display windows with cast-iron mullions and transoms. The first- and second-storey openings are grouped together in panels slightly recessed behind the main face of the building; those above the entrance are floor-to-ceiling height, and were clearly intended for the ingress and egress of goods, while the double bay contains pairs of six-light mullioned and transomed windows. All these openings have rounded top corners, with plain rubbed brick arches over, and the secondstorey openings are surmounted by hood moulds in the form of much flattened ogee arches, enriched with carved foliage and mouldings. The third-storey openings are rectangular, but otherwise are similar to those below; their heads are additionally enriched with corbelling carved in the brickwork. The main section of the front is capped by shallow blind arcading of small brick arches supported on brick and stone corbels, above which rises a pair of two-storey gables, one at either end of the front, flanking large studio windows. The fine cast-iron hopper head dated 1873, at the level of the blind arcading, is worth noting. The original staircase survives; it is quite plain, apart from some very contrived Gothic ornament on the bottom newel post.”

From the website of the National Portrait Gallery:

“Cox & Sons, 1874-80: Thomas Cox founded a business as clerical tailors in 1838, trading as Cox & Son, church furnishers from c.1853 and generally as Cox & Sons after 1868. The business was located in Southampton St, Strand, a centre for the church furnishing trade, with stained glass works adjoining in Maiden Lane. It contributed to several international exhibitions and published a variety of illustrated trade catalogues. The Thames Ditton foundry was set up by Cox & Sons in 1874. In 1876, Thomas Cox retired from the business, which was carried on by his son, Edward Young Cox (1840-1935), until 1880 when he entered into liquidation proceedings by arrangement with his creditors (London Gazette 30 June 1876, 13 January 1880). The business was purchased by M.J.C. Buckley and his partner A.S. Thomson of Buckley & Co, becoming Cox, Sons, Buckley & Co. The preceding account is indebted to a history of Cox & Sons by James Bettley (cited here as Bettley, see Sources below).

The Thames Ditton workshops and foundry were designed by Cox & Sons’ architect, S.J. Nicholl, and included an office, warehouse, keeper’s apartments and a reading room for workmen, as well as a building for woodworking, stonecutting and polishing, carvers, joiners and cabinet makers and metal workers. Nicholl’s design for the exterior, showing the gatehouse, foundry and chasing shops, was published in 1874 (repr. Bettley fig.3, from Building News, vol.27, 1874, p.224).

The earliest recorded works cast by Cox & Sons, under the direction of ‘Mr Moore, their manager’, perhaps at their Southampton St premises given the wording of the press report, were Horace Montford’s reliefs on the base of Matthew Noble’s statue, 14th Earl of Derby, 1874 (Parliament Square, see Illustrated London News, 18 July 1874, p.60; for the statue see H. Young & Co). The following year, it was announced that Thomas Thornycroft’s equestrian statue, Lord Mayo, had been cast for Calcutta at Cox & Sons’ new Bronze Statue Foundry (The Times27 August 1875). This work was executed under the direction of Moore the foreman, whose services Cox & Sons had secured, ‘in taking up the work of heavy bronze-founding relinquished by Messrs. Elkington’ (Belfast News-letter 17 May 1875, from the Daily Telegraph). The finished equestrian statue appears in a photograph of the sculptor at the foundry (Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, repr. Manning 1982 p.64).”



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