The Clock Tower, Crouch End, London N8


“The Crouch End Clock Tower was built in 1895 to a design by F G Knight. It is a substantial square structure of Free Classical design that uses an eclectic mixture of materials. The bottom plinth is about 8 ft high in rusticated granite blocks that supports an upper plinth, also of about 8 ft, that is banded in red and yellow Mansfield stone. This in turn has a small moulded stone cornice that steps in at the top to carry a square red brick main section of three stages; an arcaded lower section with slit windows; a middle section with a narrow window and an upper section with Baroque style carved brick frames topped with a buff terracotta bracketed parapet cornice. Each of the four brick frames has a plinth and a cornice with pediment and panel at the top dated 1895 and contains a clock face. The tower is crowned by four buff terracotta corner turrets with ogee domes and pedimented bases and a large buff terracotta central octagonal drum with pilasters and oculus openings and an ogee shaped cupola with a wrought iron, partly gilded weather vane. It was erected to commemorate Henry Reader Williams, a chairman of the Hornsey Local Board. The upper plinth on the south side has an elaborately carved brick frame containing a large circular bronze plaque with a profile portrait of Williams by Alfred Gilbert, the sculptor of Eros in Piccadilly Circus, and below it on the lower plinth is a rectangular stone panel inscribed “ERECTED BY SUBSCRIPTION IN APPRECIATION OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE RENDERED BY HENRY READER WILLIAMS, ESQ. J.P. TO THE DISTRICT OF HORNSEY DURING A PERIOD OF TWENTY ONE YEARS JUNE 1895” above a stone drinking fountain, that unfortunately, is no longer usable.”

From Wikipedia:

“The red-brick Clock Tower has become a much-loved icon of Crouch End.

Designed by the architect Frederick Knight, it was originally built as a memorial to Henry Reader Williams in 1895.

Williams was Chairman of the local authority of Hornsey from 1880–1894, and played a key part in shaping the district, in particular campaigning against developers for the preservation of Highgate Wood and Queen’s Wood. He also paved the way for the purchase of Alexandra Palace and Park by a consortium of local authorities in 1901. After Williams’s retirement the newly designated Hornsey Urban District Council decided to erect a clock tower to celebrate his achievements.

Out of the estimated cost of £1200, £900 was raised by public subscription. On 23 June 1895 a ceremony was held for its unveiling. The Broadway was hung with flags, and the Tower connected to nearby houses with festoons. Over a thousand people assembled, and at noon the Earl of Stafford, Lord-Lieutenant of Middlesex, released a blue ribbon hanging from the belfry and the clock struck its first notes.

The bronze sculpture of the head of Williams was created by Alfred Gilbert, who also designed Eros in Piccadilly Circus. Gilbert was a central inspiration for the New Sculpture movement and in the 21st-century is regarded as one of the foremost sculptors of the Victorian age.”

“Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—/equal seekers of sweetness.”*

*from “Messenger”, by Mary Oliver.

From: Foreign Country – The Life of L.P. Hartley (2001), by Adrian Wright:

“He became expert at making ‘puffs’, little piles of gunpowder built on molehills and crowned with cordite which, when lit, sent up beautiful flares. In August he was moved to a camp at Shoreham, before being transferred to an infantry regiment at Catterick Bridge in North Yorkshire where a talent for ballistics (Hartley had none) was not required. On the way there, he saw a headline from the then popular journal John Bull that asked, ‘Why so many suicides at Catterick?’ The camp seemed enormous, with its own railway, ‘The Catterick Bridge Express’. The weather that winter was bitterly cold. Each hut (housing thirty men) was heated by one central stove, but beyond it the temperature was almost freezing; it was the nearest to privation Hartley ever came.

But he was not unhappy here. He found fulfilment as the camp’s postman, delivering letters and parcels at Christmas. He, who longed for the act of hospitality, had never felt so popular or wanted as he did now. He was looked for with eagerness as he approached the lighted huts on those winter days. Outside, it seemed to him to be always dark, until the door of the hut opened and the men cheered and laughed to see him, the postman, the bringer of messages, the go-between. What they offered him was an unqualified welcome, wholehearted approval; a meeting without censure. It was a short-lived enchantment. When he received a summons to attend an officers’ training corps at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, the corporal in charge of his hut at Catterick touched him by saying, ‘We always thought you were a gentleman.’ The conditions at Cambridge were tolerable; only four men to a room, and the tuition of a kind-hearted sergeant-major who pointed out what Hartley well knew, that he could not keep in step. Luckily, he was never called on to drill any men (nerves made him feel incapable of doing so) but studied the infantry regulations and learned, to some extent, how to behave like an officer. Then, ‘having passed, or avoided, various tests I became Second-Lieut. Hartley, only fit for Home Service, which, in my case, meant defending the coast of East Anglia against possible German invasion.’…”

Dominic Guard, who played the boy Leo, “the go-between”, in the 1971 film, now works as an integrative child psychotherapist in Acton, West London.

“My loves leap through the future’s fence/To dance with dream-enfranchised feet.”*

*from “In Me, Past, Present, Future meet”, by Siegfried Sassoon.

From: Foreign Country – The Life of L.P. Hartley (2001), by Adrian Wright:

“Eventually, Hartley was moved out of the Colchester barracks and billeted in the town at 55 Crouch Street. That Christmas (1917) he wrote to Harry:

It isn’t opinions or even beliefs that take harm from the war’s interference, as long as it merely changes and does not destroy them: there is as much satisfaction in holding one opinion as another and there is even a pleasure in convincing yourself that you hold a new belief. But in the dimmer regions of small desires and aspirations, of unconscious expectations and personal points of view, there the war does make havoc, for it changes you and everything so that when they rise up you can’t realise them properly, and when you can realise them, a ‘tertium quid’ steps in to deny them satisfaction, with the result you are constantly worried by a lack of something, and naturally can’t put your finger on it, for it has become part of life.

…At the end of I9I7 he had written to Harry:

in normal times the Past stands by you, a kind of harmonising background that justifies what you are; but when the majority of the people have lost the ‘Sense of the Past’ how is one to rediscover oneself both to oneself and other people? The difficulty is that one cannot gaze into the pool of the past and see one’s reflection tranquil there: the spirit of the Present sweeps across and troubles the waters.

This need to ‘rediscover oneself both to oneself and to other people’ was something that Hartley saw as central to a successful existence.

…Compared to Fletton, his life at Balliol was turning out to be a modest Saturnalia. As a member of another society, the Pagans, he took part in dramatic productions and contributed quotations from Sir Thomas Browne and the Elizabethans. At one of their meetings he read his paper “Some Aspects of Gregariousness’, revived forty-seven years later for The Novelist’s Responsibility, in which the stored hatred of the system that had so altered the fate of his generation poured from him:

Those who believe in the essential gregariousness of the human race, or those again who put forward the view, so useful to the apologists of government, that man is inconceivable apart from his fellows, that he reaches his highest development through association with them, seem to ignore or to deny the fundamental separateness of individuals…We are most truly ourselves when caught in the eddy of some common emotion, when identifying ourselves with that beautiful mirage, the General Will – that prophet, in whose infallibility, provided he is dumb, we are bound to believe, though every word he speaks is admittedly a lie, discrediting him and betraying us. Even Mill and the champions of individual liberty take up a defensive position, contending that except in cases where a man’s action is likely to injure the liberty of others, he ‘ought’ to be allowed to enjoy his freedom and rule his life on lines prescribed by himself. Such an attitude regards the fundamental irreconcilability of men as an end to be attained, rather than a fact to be faced.

As President of the Pagans Hartley also had the ‘dreadful’ task of introducing and thanking Siegfried Sassoon, an affair that ‘went off fairly well though Sassoon himself gave a rather incoherent address. He is a poet, of sorts.’…”

“…poets drink both from the river Lethe and from a river of remembrance.”

Image: “Triumph Of Achilles, Painted In 1892 By Franz Von Matsch.

“This painting, created in 1892 by the Austrian artist, Franz von Matsch (c. 1861-1942), depicts an ignoble scene of Achilles from the legendary Trojan War. The artist captured the moment that occurred after Achilles, the Greek champion, defeated Troy’s greatest warrior and military leader, Hector, in a duel to the death. Upon winning the fight, Achilles decided to make a spectacle of his fallen foe’s remains. The ancient Greek poet, Homer, wrote about the scene that Franz von Matsch would later paint.” (

“Franz Josef Karl Edler von Matsch (16 September 1861, in Vienna – 5 October 1942, in Vienna), also known as Franz Matsch, was an Austrian painter and sculptor in the Jugendstil style. Along with Gustav and Ernst Klimt, he was a member of the Maler-Companie.” (Wikipedia)

Below: inserts in italics are from Wikipedia:

In Greek and Roman myths, poppies were used as offerings to the dead. Poppies used as emblems on tombstones symbolize eternal sleep. This symbolism was evoked in L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in which a magical poppy field threatened to make the protagonists sleep forever.

From: Freud’s Requiem (2005), by Matthew Von Unwerth:

“The amnesiac ghosts of the underworld would later surface in The Interpretation of Dreams, where Freud compared the recollections of the dead to the immortality of unconscious memories. In the unconscious, memories can never be forgotten and are never lost. “If I may use a simile, they are only capable of annihilation in the same sense as the ghosts in the underworld of the Odyssey – ghosts which awoke to new life as soon as they tasted blood.”…

A second interpretation of poppies in Classical mythology is that the bright scarlet colour signifies a promise of resurrection after death.

…In the passage of the Odyssey to which Freud refers, Ulysses, in order to learn his destiny, ventures into the underworld; there, by bringing the blood of the living to the dead, he causes them to remember and to recount to him their lives. In Freud’s analogy, unconscious memories- repressed, forgotten, and therefore forgotten by the world–and the feelings attached to them are revived when they are attached to some new life experience, which excites the old impulse; they transfer their energy to the new currents (as, for instance, when one becomes violently angry over a trivial matter). They are thus enlivened, Freud says, like the dead who drink the blood of the living, and remember the lives they longed to forget…

The poppy of wartime remembrance is Papaver rhoeas, the red-flowered corn poppy. This poppy is a common plant of disturbed ground in Europe and is found in many locations, including Flanders, which is the setting of the famous poem “In Flanders Fields” by the Canadian surgeon and soldier John McCrae.

…Freud used this analogy in the important section of The Interpretation of Dreams where he explains the concept of “repression”-the idea that memories remain buried in our minds forever–and testifies to the double-edged nature of such memories. These memories, the ghosts of the unconscious, are as paradoxical as the ghosts of myth: outside awareness, they haunt human activity with a kind of negative remembrance, by their very absence. Brought to the surface through indirection, by a fit of inexplicable rage or sorrow, or by a particularly vivid recollection, forgotten or repressed memories are enlivened in us, without our knowing about them, except through our feelings and what they make us do. Freud’s allusions to the contrasting drinking habits of the dead- from the waters of oblivion and the blood of remembrance – further emphasized the importance he attached to the fate of the dead in the memory of the living, and to the vital role played by the past in the shaping of unconscious memory itself.

In 1913, in his book Daniel, the philosopher and theologian Martin Buber suggested a knotty metaphor for artistic inspiration: In order to create, poets drink both from the river Lethe and from a river of remembrance…

Poppies have long been used as a symbol of sleep, peace, and death: Sleep because the opium extracted from them is a sedative, and death because of the common blood-red colour of the red poppy in particular.

…Buber meant to underscore the difficulty of the poetic enterprise: to take memory and make it new–to take the forgotten dead of the past and bring them to life again, through memory. While he meant his statement as an indication of how man related, in creativity, to God, Buber’s formulation recalls Freud’s difficult metaphors. It was, perhaps, even closer to Freud’s own experience.

The river of the underworld and its forgetful dead were described in the Odyssey, a book that meant a great deal to Freud. In the passage he referred to in The Interpretation of Dreams, where Ulysses ventures into the underworld in order to find his way back home, he meets the shades of those whom he knew in life, including the heroes Achilles, Hector, and Ajax, and others fallen at Troy, and discovers that his rivals are rivals no longer in death…”

Papaver somniferum was domesticated by the indigenous people of Western and Central Europe between 6000 and 3500 BC. However, it is believed that its origins may come from the Sumerian people, where the first use of opium was recognized. Poppies and opium made their way around the world along the silk road. Juglets resembling poppy seed pods have been discovered with trace amounts of opium and the flower appeared in jewelry and on art pieces in Ancient Egypt, dated 1550–1292 BC.

From: Foreign Country – The Life of L.P. Hartley (2001), by Adrian Wright:

“…to dodge illness, one of the penalties that threatened those who lived in the Fens; in the first half of the nineteenth century, the population was especially liable to rheumatism, ague and neuralgia. Opium was at once the panacea to such ills, and the cause of others. By the middle of the 1800s, few Fenland gardens were without their bed of white poppies, from which poppy-head tea would be brewed. Even as late as the 1910s raw opium was still being sold to the elderly of Spalding to bring relief from ‘fever’, but it was in the more remote agricultural areas (and Whittlesey’s consumption was one of the most notable) that the ‘Fen tigers’ depended on it so heavily. Farm animals were liberally doped with it; or its derivative laudanum, while its consumption by children contributed considerably to the high infant mortality. Perhaps the most surprising fact is that the exploitation of opium in the Fens was so open and accepted, the drug being readily available not only from druggists but from general stores, where the counters on a Saturday night would be stacked with thousands of vials containing laudanum. This, of course was the more acceptable, genteel aspect of opium, favoured by the more sophisticated or female customer, while opium pills or ‘lumps’ asked for as ‘stuff’, led the market. It seems certain that laudanum would have been known to the Thompson household, and very probably used against the ills that the Fens brought down on it. Bessie (mother of L.P. Hartley), with her frequent weakness and enjoyment of poor health, would have known its efficacy.”

1, Arundel Terrace, London SW13

Main image – text of 1947 reads: “The house where Hardy wrote “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” is put up for auction: The semi-detached villa in Arundel Terrace, Wandsworth Common, which was sold last week. Hardy lived there between 1878 and 1881, and, according to a local story, the great novelist was driven away by the too frequent appearance of a particular organ-grinder.”

From: The life of Thomas Hardy, 1840-1928 (1933), by Florence Dugdale:

“Two days later they beheld their furniture descending from a pair of vans at I Arundel Terrace (‘The Larches’), Trinity Road, just beyond Wandsworth Common. They had stayed at Bolingbroke Grove to be near.
March 22.
We came from Bolingbroke Grove to Arundel Terrace and slept here for the first time. Our house is the south-east corner one where Brodrick Road crosses Trinity Road down towards Wandsworth Common Station, the side door being in Brodrick Road.’
April – Note.
A Plot, or Tragedy, should arise from the gradual closing in of a situation that comes of ordinary human passions, prejudices, and ambitions, by reason of the characters taking no trouble to ward off the disastrous events produced by the said passions, prejudices, and ambitions…”

From Wikipedia:

“Florence Emily Dugdale (12 January 1879 – 17 October 1937) was a writer of children’s stories and the second wife of Thomas Hardy. She was credited as the author of Hardy’s posthumously published biography, The Early Life and Later Years of Thomas Hardy, although it was written (mostly or entirely) by Thomas Hardy himself in his old age.

Florence first met Thomas Hardy in 1905 when she was age 26. She became his passionate friend and helper, and stopped teaching in 1908 – both to assist Hardy and to begin her writing career. In 1912, she published her first book, The Book of Baby Birds, with Hardy’s contribution. In the same year, Hardy’s wife Emma died, and Florence moved into Max Gate, Dorchester, Dorset, in 1913. In 1914, they married at St Andrew’s Church, Enfield, despite their age difference of 39 years.

During the marriage, Florence found herself increasingly in the shadow of Emma (whom Thomas had neglected while she was alive). Thomas’s frantic and subdued love poetry – obviously written with Emma in mind – was a cause of embarrassment and misery for Florence. Nevertheless, in 1928, when Hardy finally died aged 87, she was so stricken with grief that a doctor was required.

The Hardys befriended T. E. Lawrence, and Florence attended his funeral.

Florence Hardy died at Max Gate, the home she had shared with Thomas, of cancer, aged 58. She was cremated in Woking Crematorium, and her ashes were buried in Stinsford churchyard, where Hardy’s heart and his first wife were interred.”

Andrew Brown wrote in The Independent of 26 April 1996:

“Last week’s column drew a long and thoughtful response from the Bishop of Rochester, and I was still thinking about the issues of personal identity this had raised when a retired priest on the Internet introduced me to the cat which ate Thomas Hardy’s heart. Perhaps the cat’s story forms an easier route to the speculative uplands of phenomenology.

Hardy is buried, most of him, in Westminster Abbey, where Poets’ Corner shows the magnanimity with which the Church of England ignores all doctrinal issues if only the artist is great enough. I don’t see that Hardy could be described as a Christian, and still less A.E. Housman, who is to be commemorated there this year. However, not all of Hardy’s remains are in London. His heart was buried at Stinsford churchyard in Dorset, and when his corpse was being prepared for this operation the doctor was called away urgently, just after he had removed the heart and left it in a dish beside the body. When he returned, he found his cat had eaten part of it. So the cat was killed, too, and buried alongside the remains of the heart in the ornate container prepared for it…”

The Collcutt building for Lloyd’s Register of Shipping*

*on the corner of Fenchurch Street and Lloyd’s Avenue, London EC3.

“a major landmark of the New Sculpture movement.” (from Collcutt’s obituary)


“In November 1897, a Building Sub-Committee was appointed under the chairmanship of John Corry (1831-1908).

James Dixon, a member of the General Committee, offered Lloyd’s Register a 7,700 square-foot site fronting Fenchurch Street for £70,000. This was then an unfashionable area of mixed uses and bleak warehousing. Dixon persevered and the Committee eventually bought the site in February 1898 for £66,518.

The new Lloyd’s Register building at No. 71 and the subsequent construction of Lloyd’s Avenue marked a change in the fortunes of Fenchurch Street. From a grimy mercantile district, it became a prestigious institutional address.

The Building Sub-Committee next chose an architect, Thomas Edward Collcutt FRIBA, from a short list of ten…

With the site and architect secured, the Building Sub-Committee pressed on with planning the new headquarters. Curiously, the Committee’s brief to Collcutt was sketchy with little guidance on office needs. It appears to have been more concerned with making a fine architectural show while keeping a keen eye on finances. Collcutt was told to design a building of grandeur, worthy of the leading classification authority. Initial designs were turned down as too understated, but finally a scheme of appropriate splendour was agreed in October 1898.

Collcutt’s design was for an impressive classical stone palazzo in the 16th century Italian manner. His specification called
for first-class materials both inside and out; Portland stone
and carved Hopton Wood stone on the façades; inside, marble floors and staircase, and oak or mahogany doors, skirting and floors. Artists and the best trade firms were to embellish the building. Bay division of an elevation or interior space by regular vertical features such as columns.

The question of the main building contractor was crucial and Collcutt favoured Mowlems Ltd, who had built the Imperial Institute. The fine quality of Mowlems’ stonework was much admired and they seemed ideal builders for No. 71. Happily, they also tendered the lowest figure for the work at £71,460, which included everything except light fittings and the ceiling painting in the new General Committee Room.
Work began on the site in January 1899. Inevitably, with a building of such decorative complexity, the works proceeded more slowly than anticipated and Lloyd’s Register did not take possession until 16 December 1901.

The Fenchurch Street façade
The front of the building is five bays wide. It has the classical arrangement of a basement, ground floor, first floor piano nobile and top floors with a crowning roof storey. It is built of best Portland Whitbed stone with Hopton Wood stone for the main carved tableau on the ground floor.

Rich wrought-iron gates guard a central arched entrance and loggia.

On each gate is a repoussé copper shield with a Lloyd’s Register lady holding a ship and an anchor. These were originally enamelled but are now just painted.

The loggia stretches each side of the entrance, its vaulted ceiling stencilled with shells, seaweed and fish by Shrigley & Hunt, a firm best known for producing stained glass. The entrance doors are heavily framed Honduras mahogany with brass plates.

Above the front bays on the ground floor is a tableau by George Frampton. The raised keystone of the central arch has a Lloyd’s Register lady and scroll with motto ‘Lloyd’s Registry’ flanked by the arms of Glasgow and Newcastle. This group is supported either side by Arts and Crafts maidens carrying ships and plans.

The bay to the left has a central figure representing Mercury, messenger of the gods and the god of eloquence and skill.

He stands before a globe flanked by sailing ships laden with foodstuffs and supported by processions of maidens bearing gifts, continuing towards the corner with Lloyd’s Avenue. The raised keystone over the window in the final bay has a relief carving of the liver bird, symbol of the city of Liverpool.

To the right of the central entrance there is a figure of Hermes, holding a quadrant and an empty tortoise shell, standing before the sun.

Hermes used the shell to make the first lyre. He was the god of travel and trade, among other associations. The figure is again flanked by laden ships under sail and more maidens holding goods and maritime instruments. The last bay on the right has a raised keystone with the shield of the City of London, a St. George’s Cross with a sword in the top left-hand quarter. This is supported by more heraldic shields and by maidens bearing shipbuilding tools.

Nestling in the niches formed by paired columns at each end of the tableau are bronze maidens also by Frampton. The figure on the left cradles a steamship,

while the maiden on the right holds a sailing vessel.

The other decorative carving to the front façade was the work of the firm of stonemasons, JE Taylerson.

The first floor has a blind balustrade with tall sash windows between Ionic columns. The floor above has a balustrade and the windows are set back between heavy blocked columns. These features give this storey added weight above the dignified simplicity of the first floor.

The tourelles

Collcutt used tourelles at the Imperial Institute and other buildings. They are used here to animate the roofline. The crucial corner with Lloyd’s Avenue is marked from the first floor level up by a polygonal corner tower reminiscent of a stair turret on a Loire château. On the second floor this tower becomes a round tourelle formed by a circle of blocked columns supporting a dome. This gives a subtle curve to the flat frieze of the main entablature above the first floor.

Framed by the blocked columns are more of Frampton’s maidens in a circular procession. They pay tribute to a Lloyd’s Register lady who gazes north east along Fenchurch Street. Topping the tourelle is a brass weather vane of a carrack made by Hardman & Co.

“A copper gilt weather vane of a steamship crowned the second tourelle along the Lloyd’s Avenue façade. This was also made by Hardman & Co. but did not survive some building alterations in 1910. A replacement based on the s.s. Envoy was made for the dome in 2000.”

The Lloyd’s Avenue façade
To accommodate a kink in the road and complement the grand front façade, the side of the building is a terrace of three distinct ‘palaces’.
The three bays seen on first turning the corner repeat the Fenchurch Street treatment and form the first palace.

Two bronze maidens holding ships stand between ground floor columns either side of the two windows.

Over the first window is a tableau of maidens bearing shipbuilding tools, which includes the shields of Cardiff and Southampton.

The second window has a keystone with the three castles of Newcastle, supported by more maidens holding ships, plans and metal forging tools.

The side entrance to the building is in the wide third bay of the first palace.

The entrance has a hooded stone porch framing a Lloyd’s Register lady flanked by a steamship and a sailing ship. Above, breaking partly into the first floor frieze, is a round window. Either side of the porch is a continuation of Frampton’s tableau showing, on the right, three maidens carrying steam ships

and to the left, three more bearing galleys.

The second palace is in a baroque rustic style; it has masonry with a rough finish and heavily cut ‘V’ joints to give visual strength. There is no attic above the main cornice over this section.

The third palace is set back from the street and is in the manner of an aristocratic townhouse, behind iron railings. Between the two palaces is a round tower topped by a dome.

Sculptural decorations on Lloyd’s Register of Shipping by J.E. Taylerson. “These are all on the ‘back block’ of Lloyd’s Registry on Lloyd’s Avenue, and consist of a series of reliefs of children with dolphins in leash, seated on the voussoirs of the ground floor windows’ frames, reliefs of dolphins in the frieze on the second floor, three corbels, two representing mermaids, and one a merman, on the overhanging storey of the curving bay, and one male harpy gargoyle on the second floor at the junction with the front block”
(Philip Ward-Jackson).
“The most typical of such half figure Caryatids are used as brackets, as if sticking out of a wall, to support a balcony or other architectural feature which projects forwards further than a pillar. Male figures are much the more common…We see as with the full figures, examples of the bowed head and the raised arms across the head. These figures are essentially as if the figure is sticking out from the wall, and the treatment of where the body and wall meet is generally treated with either some skirt of leaves, or a dissolving into high relief ornamentation, to avoid the uneasy idea of a person stuck through a wall.” (Bob Speel)

The main frieze under the dome is richly supplied with sea horses and sea monsters cavorting in the waves. Further along the building on the ground floor, keystones are carved with fish entwined around tridents.”

Smelfungus to you

From: Freud’s Requiem (2005), by Matthew Von Unwerth:

“During his holidays (Freud) routinely scoured the mountains with his children in search of wild mushrooms. He was an expert in discerning which were edible, and which poisonous. In such moments, Martin Freud remembered, his father’s ordered and buttoned-up exterior gave way to boyish exuberance. Anna Freud once told Lou Andreas-Salomé of the strict procedure her father prescribed. As Lou later recalled, “When they went collecting mushrooms he always told them to go into the wood quietly, and he still does this; there must be no chattering and they must roll up the bags they have brought under their arms, so that the mushrooms shall not notice. When their father found one he would cover it quickly with his hat, as though it were a butterfly. The little children-_and now his grandchildren- used to believe what he said, while the bigger ones smiled at his credulity.”…

…Martin repeats the story, told by one of his sisters, of how Freud came to Lavarone. Freud’s brother Alexander had, years earlier in Vienna, befriended “a gifted poet but not successful in a pecuniary sense, who, like the Freuds, came from Bohemia. Through Alexander, Freud became acquainted with the poet; he later took Anna to visit the unfortunate man on his deathbed. As they parted, the dying poet expressed to his visitors his wish to see the laburnum blossom in Lavarone once more. Sometime afterward, hiking in the Dolomites while scouting a summer retreat for his family, Freud recalled the dying man’s wish, and went to the place himself, even staying in the same Hotel Du Lac, which the poet had remembered.

The laburnum is a tree with a brilliant yellow flower, beautiful but poisonous. It is a spring flower native to the region where Freud was born. In Lavarone, laburnum blooms late; the eye finds in those high mountains sights and plants and colors that have already had their time in the valleys below.

In his writings, Freud never mentions the mysterious dying poet who led him to Lavarone, and his identity remains unknown. Martin Freud’s account, derived from his sister’s recollection, may not be reliable; in any case, he himself disliked the story, calling it “a little too sentimental” for his taste.

It is sentimental. The anecdote involves a pilgrimage made in
memory of a dead man. It is, in this sense, a journey to the land
of the dead…”

From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

“sentimental (adj.)

1749, “pertaining to or characterized by sentiment, appealing to sentiment rather than reason,” from sentiment + -al (1). At first without pejorative connotations; the meaning “too tender-hearted, apt to be swayed by sentiment” is attested by 1768 (implied in sentimentality). The French word is said to be from English. Related: Sentimentally.”

From Wikipedia:

“A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy is a novel by Laurence Sterne, written and first published in 1768, as Sterne was facing death. In 1765, Sterne travelled through France and Italy as far south as Naples, and after returning determined to describe his travels from a sentimental point of view. The novel can be seen as an epilogue to the possibly unfinished work The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, and also as an answer to Tobias Smollett’s decidedly unsentimental Travels Through France and Italy. Sterne had met Smollett during his travels in Europe, and strongly objected to his spleen, acerbity and quarrelsomeness. He modelled the character of Smelfungus on him.”

“The song’s release coincided with the end of the Second World War in Europe and became the unofficial homecoming theme for many veterans. The song later became something of a standard with jazz artists.” (Wikipedia)

“so rich a store of the shaley stuff”

From: Foreign Country – The Life of L.P. Hartley (2001), by Adrian Wright:

“The Fletton brick industry (its bricks known as ‘flettons’) had blossomed in the late 1870s when a draper, James McCallum Craig, purchased Lot I of the Fletton Lodge Estate in the parishes of Fletton and Woodstone, at an auction in June 1877 at the Angel Hotel in Peterborough. The lot consisted of 68 acres and cost Craig around £6000. It was a sound investment, ‘brick earth’ being noted in the sale catalogue, but Craig did not set up a works on the land until about two years later. The making of bricks, of course, was not new to the area. There had been clay pits in the Fens throughout the 186os and 1870s, mainly in Whittlesey and Stanground, where the mass of brickyard labourers lived. For them, bricks were often a family affair, a way of life. In the spring, it was common to see the father mixing clay in a pugmill, one of his older sons making the bricks, his wife carrying them to the hacks, and her small children setting the bricks out to dry. Labour was cheap, and often provided by immigrant families who settled to a life of poverty in the Fens.

In 1880, Craig’s works were taken over by two brothers, George and Nathaniel Hempsted, who subsequently leased the property out to four small partnership companies. It was one of these that probably began making bricks not in the conventional way from clay taken from the surface, but from the Lower Oxford Clay that lay beneath. It was only now that the extraordinary talent of the submerged clay was discovered; even the geologist Dean Buckland, who had first identified its presence, had not realised that the Lower Oxford would burn. It was Harry’s (and his family’s) good luck that his involvement in the industry happened at a time when the properties of the clay had begun to be appreciated and exploited so successfully. Harry (father of L.P. Hartley) never forgot the debt he owed to ‘great old Dame Nature’ for having deposited so rich a store of the shaley stuff in his vicinity. The quality of the Lower Oxford was far superior to the superficial clays that had been excavated before. No water was needed to break it down, only grinding; the clay’s inherent moisture meant that unfired bricks could be placed in a kiln without first being dried off. The Lower Oxford contained so much carbon that the bricks had only to be heated, and would then more or less fire themselves, giving a tremendous saving in coal consumption.

Prominent in the history of brickmaking were two brothers, Arthur James and George Keeble, sometime farmers and land and property speculators who rather unsuccessfully specialised in buying up large estates, carving them up into smaller parcels of land and reselling them. Harry was their solicitor, and owed much of his good fortune to them. Not content with their dealing in land, the Keebles invested in cement manufacture, iron-ore extraction and, inevitably, brickmaking. Harry, ever the astute businessman, saw the potential in the brick industry, and thought he could make a better go of it than his clients. In March 1898 he became one of three directors for the new Whittlesea [sic] Central Brick Co. Ltd. His two fellow directors were another Peterborough solicitor, W. J. Jeeves, later to be Town Clerk of St Helens, and a wealthy local barrister, Henry Wadlow. The company took over the running of a small brickworks owned by John W. Andrews of Whittlesey, this site becoming its No. I works. In 1908, another site was added, doubling the size of the Central’s empire.

The family, underrating Harry’s business acumen, regarded his investment as little more than a hobby, but success brought wealth. Without the bricks, without the efficacy of the clay that burns, Leslie Hartley’s life would have been very different. How much truth is there in Richard Mardick’s assertion in The Betrayal that ‘He owed his material prosperity to it, as much as he owed his spiritual poverty to the Brickfield. The clay of the Brickfield had been an age-old synonym for mortality; the clay our bodies are made of, and to which they must return. But the clay of the brickworks was life-enhancing’?“

The Salisbury Hotel, 1 Grand Parade, Green Lanes, Harringay Ladder, London N4

From Wikipedia:

“Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (3 February 1830 – 22 August 1903) was a British statesman and Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom three times for a total of over thirteen years.”

From: Victorian Pubs (1984), by Mark Girouard:

“Many lodges of Freemasons had their meetings in pubs…

“Freemasons, SW18 2SS
2 Wandsworth Common North Side

The Freemasons was a gastropub on the north side of Wandsworth Common, in the Good Beer Guide.
It closed in 2009; as of mid-2009 the site is occupied by another pub called the Roundhouse.”
(Randomness Guide to London)

…the range of pub societies was enormous. For instance, in 1899 the Salisbury Hotel, Green Lanes, was the meeting place of the Harringay Lodge of Freemasons, the Harringay Cycling Club, and the Bohemians Society, who held a grand concert there every month…

The Salisbury, Green Lanes, has a cupola which must have been inspired by that of the Elephant and Castle. It was designed a year or so later (it opened in the summer of 1899) and was perhaps intended to be its north London counterpart, but it was even bigger and more lavishly fitted out. It was built by neither a brewery nor a professional publican but by a successful north London builder, John Cathles Hill. Hill built two London pubs (or rather pub-hotels), the Salisbury and the Queens Hotel, Crouch End; both were intended to serve neighbourhoods he himself had helped to develop, and to this extent were more reminiscent of the methods of the 1850s than the 1890s. Hill’s career was a remarkable one. He was born in Scotland in 1858, the son of a line of cartwrights and wheelwrights. After a spell in Glasgow he migrated to London in 1879 and took a job as a joiner. In 1881 he set up on his own and started a joinery and building business active in speculative development in Highgate and adjacent parts of north London. In 1889 he decided to make his own bricks, and acquired a brick field at Fletton on the outskirts of Peterborough. He developed this side of his business into the London Brick Company, even in his lifetime an immense concern covering 1,300 acres of brick fields and brickworks, including the famous ‘Napoleon’ kiln, in its day the biggest kiln in the world. Hill was largely responsible for introducing Fletton bricks to London and himself built some 2,000 houses in and around London. His career ended in disaster, for he went bankrupt in 1912 with gross liabilities of over a million pounds. He died in 1915.

In the late 1890s he was at the summit of his career. He was clearly a man of enormous energy; although the two pubs were only a sideline to his other business interests, he pushed the projects through with speed and determination. Both pubs were on new sites and needed new licences; difficult though these were to obtain in the late nineties, Hill overcame considerable local opposition and won over the licensing magistrates. The Salisbury cost £30,000 (raised outside the breweries) and was opened in 1899, with W. A. Cathles, presumably a relation of Hill’s, as the manager; the Queens Hotel was planned in 1899 and opened about 1901.

Hill was his own architect at the Salisbury and probably also at the Queens: the bar fittings were made to his designs in his own workshops. At the Salisbury, in addition to a large billiard room and far more spacious bars than was usual, there were a restaurant and concert room on the first floor, both long since disused.

Cakebread, Robey provided splendid glass and the Mural Decoration Company (of 50 Milton Street, EC) lavish fibrous plaster work.

Halfway through fitting out the bars, Hill moved over from the standard 1890s pub detailing to the Art Nouveau which proliferates in both the glass and the joinery. At the Queens the glass and metalwork are Art Nouveau throughout. Both pubs have saloon bars divided off from the rest by arches, with enticing glimpses through them to the other bars,

and little mirror-lined snuggeries under the staircases.

Outside, the Salisbury is ringed by immensely jolly black marble columns of elephantine size…

…amongst the most interesting of the glass firms is Cakebread, Robey and Company, a firm still in existence, which has preserved a glass and leaded lights catalogue of about 1900. They first appear in 1887 as ‘Lead, glass and colour merchants, glass stainers, and lead glaziers’ in Stoke Newington High Street (telegraph address, ‘Splendour’ London). By the late 1890s they had expanded and become full-scale builders’ merchants, as they remain today. In 1900, apart from pub glass, they made ribbed and fluted glass in a wide variety of patterns, glass ventilators, shop fascias, leaded lights in clear or stained glass for houses and stained glass windows for churches.

Their patterns ranged from the simplest brilliant cut stars or embossed key patterns to the full splendour of birds, swans, fruit and flowers in combined embossing and cutting. A detailed price list enables one to work out with some accuracy how much it cost a publican to bring a pub up to date as far as its glass was concerned in the late 1890s. A plain sheet of plate glass, for instance, six feet by four, cost £3 2s. If embossed it cost, depending on the elaboration of the design, from £5 2s. to £5 16s., including the price of the glass; if brilliant cut, between £7 10s. and £11 10s. The most elaborate combination of brilliant cutting and embossing brought the cost up to £15 2s., and if the glass was curved as well it was likely to cost at least £20.

The catalogue contains a list of ‘various important works carried out by us’ at seventeen pubs all over London. The most important survivor of these is the Salisbury, in Green Lanes, Harringay, where, in addition to brilliant cut, embossed and gilded mirrors

and windows, the firm also provided elaborate stained glass (since removed) in the skylight to the saloon bar. A contemporary description of the Salisbury in the Licensed Victualler refers to the firm as being ‘very widely known as glass manufacturers in all its branches, but chief of them all is their stained glass work’. The stained glass in the Salisbury consisted of a classical design of cherubs and swags, but by 1900 Cakebread, Robey were also producing stained glass designs under Art Nouveau influence; to judge from their catalogue they had a strong selling line in flowers, tendrils and sailing ships for the front doors of new north London houses. There are also a few Art Nouveau-ish designs in the brilliant cut and embossed section, and some lively and original examples executed for the Salisbury are probably by them…”

“…The effect in late afternoon light is akin to that in a cathedral transept…”*

*from Wikipedia entry.

From Historic England entry:


London Underground station, 1932 by Charles Holden. Red brick with grey diaper infil to reinforced concrete, concrete frame partially exposed; concrete roof slab expressed as broad cornice band under deep eaves. Rectangular plan making bold use of corner site, with single-storey double entrance under curved slab rises to booking hall – of double height though partially sunken – and offices set between two ventilation towers, that to Green Lanes sporting logos ‘Underground’.

All windows metal-framed with strong horizontal emphasis, those to ends of booking hall of five lights, that to Green Lanes a tripartite composition, the other wall with blind openings in hall. Sunken ground floor of hall tiled in brown, with original floor tiles and central bronze uplighter, the latter semi-herispherical on a tapered and fluted column and set in a square base.

Original sign points to ‘BUS STATION’. Cream escalator hall leads to platforms tiled in cream and deep yellow, with fixed inset seats and decorative incised ventilation covers by Harold Stabler over original fully lined-out roundels.

Offices between towers retain original fenestration and some fittings”