sábado, 26 de abril de 2014

Golden Square

The area where Golden Square was built was previously called Windmill Fields, after a windmill erected sometime around 1585. It had been granted as a freehold since 1559-60 after the crown took possession in 1536 from the Mercer’s Company.

The part of Windmill Fields were the square was built was called Gelding Close, because it was used as a pasture for castrated horses, known as Geldings. The name Golden Square, in use by the late 17th-century, seems to have derived from Gelding.  

By 1670, the land was primed for development. Rival claims of ownership were settled and the land ended up in the hands of John Emlyn and James Axtell.

In 1670-71, Christopher Wren reported in his capacity as Surveyor General on unlicensed houses in places such as Windmill Fields, resulting in a proclamation against the practice. In response, Emlin and Axtell made an official petition.    

A grant was given in 1673 according to a plan bearing Wren’s signature. It not clear where it originated and may merely have been approved by the Surveyor General, not necessarily authored by him.

No building took place there for some time, and a final settlement between the two owners had only been reached in 1675. In the process, John Emlyn’s share fell to Isaac Symball. Some of Symball’s plots were under construction before 1680 but proceeded slowly. Meanwhile, Axtell died in 1679 and the development of his plots only got underway after a few years into the next decade.   

The western range was completed by 1689 as was most of the southern, though two of the houses were only completed in 1692. The eastern range was first completed by the turn of the century and the houses on the northern range were built in 1685-98. The facades were relatively uniform but less so than in Soho Square. The earliest buildings in particular tended to diverge in style and height, while the later were more more coordinated.  

Most of the houses were three storeys high and three windows wide, in brick with sash windows under flat gauged arches. The dormer windows had triangular pediments and most of the door-cases had scrolled broken pediments.

The western range was built in the early 20th century. The red brick buildings are almost all by the same architect, William Woodward. First out was 17 Golden Square, built for Burberry in 1902. The adjoining 18 Golden Square was built in 1904 but with a a stone facade. Burberry expanded with two new buildings in 1907-08, and 15-16 Golden Square are presumably both designed by Woodward. Meanwhile, Woodward designed number 13 in 1906. The gap between that and the Burberry buildings were plugged with an extension in 1912-13, to a design by R. H. Kerr. Finally, 19 Golden Square was built at the other end of the range in 1922.

On the northern range, the building on the left was built in 1987. The middle building is from 1914 and was designed by Leonard Stokes for silk and wool merchants Gagnière and Co. The building on the right was completed by 1929 by architect Gordon Jeeves.

The tall and narrow building on the left is from 1915 and was built as show-rooms and offices for a Huddersfield woollen firm. The architects were Naylor and Sale. It is surrounded on both sides by older buildings. The house on the left seems to have been remodelled or rebuilt at the end of the 18th century. The same is true of the two houses on the right, though the remodelling of the original facades may have come earlier in the century. The tall building on the right was completed in 1924 to a design by Mewès and Davis for the woollen firm of Dormeuil Frères. The building on the far left is from 1886.

The brick front on the right was rebuilt in 1954 but is a reasonably faithful copy of the original, as it was rebuilt in 1778. On left we find a building from 1907–08 designed by E. Keynes Purchase. the other buildings are from 1923, 1925 and 1903-04 respectively.