Devoted to the unexpected details that help to make life in the city worth living
Friday, 29 January 2010
Steel House, Tothill Street SW1
I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to make of Steel House. When I first saw it I mentally wrote it off as a cheaply-built 1970s government department that had been clad in stone at the insistence of the planners, but in fact is was designed in 1936 by the respected firm of Burnet, Lorne & Tait. When you look, you see the uprights between the windows are recessed and moulded in a very 1930s way.
The facade is sprinkled with figures of Greek gods in stone, which gives a very rich impression but when you look harder you notice that there are only three designs. Was that in the interests of economy or was it some sort of statement?
The figures are of Vulcan, god of fire, appropriately for Steel House, Atlas carrying the world on his shoulders and Hercules killing the two-headed snake Lados (thanks to Capability Bowes for that identification).
I have drawn a complete blank over the maker, however. They are, frankly, not terribly good anyway.