G E Street Bicentenary Year 2024: Events

George Edmund Street Bicentenary 2024

G E Street (1824-1881), the bicentenary of whose birth we celebrate this year, was one of the most prolific architects of the nineteenth-century gothic revival. Best known today for his design of the Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand in London, he was principally an architect of churches and parochial buildings, which ran into the hundreds. His buildings can be found across the whole of the United Kingdom, as well as in France, Italy, Switzerland and Turkey.

He was an accomplished designer of church plate, ironwork, stained glass and textiles and published frequently on gothic architecture: his books on north Italian and Spanish architecture were very influential. He became President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, a Royal Academician and Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy, but his was a life cut short. He died at the young age of 57 and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

The Victorian Society, in association with St James the Less, Street’s Grade 1 listed church in Pimlico, London, are hosting a series of talks, walks and visits in London, East Yorkshire and the West Midlands. There will also be a bicentenary dinner and symposium at St James the Less, to celebrate Street's work and achievements. Our magazine, The Victorian, devoted its latest edition to the architect.


APRIL

A Visit to All Saints, Boyn Hill, Maidenhead

Date: Sat 20 Apr

Time: 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Meeting place: Maidenhead Station for 2:00 pm

G E Street’s first visit to Italy, undertaken in 1853, changed the direction of his architecture: it also led to his vastly influential book of 1855, Brick and Marble in the Middle Ages: Notes of a Tour in the North of Italy.

The first major expression of this new architecture was at the church of All Saints at Boyn Hill in Maidenhead, Berkshire.Completed in 1857, with its various attendant buildings and the steeple soon after, it presented a colony of buildings accommodating the needs of an ecclesiastical community.

The Ecclesiologist, the arbiter of taste in High Church circles, declared, ‘We have seldom been more pleased with a design than the one before us.’

This visit, led by the church warden, will provide the opportunity to visit, in addition to the church, the former school (now the church hall) and to climb the tower. The schoolmaster’s house, the clergy house and the almshouse can be viewed from the outside. We will also be able to see the grave which Street designed for his first wife, Mariquita, a Maidenhead girl who died in 1874. The church’s architect will be in attendance.

Tickets: £20

Book here

***

MAY

A Visit to the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks, London

Date: Wed 15 May

Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Meeting Point: Outside the Guards Chapel, Birdcage Walk, SW1E 6HQ

Imagine a Sunday morning in June eighty years ago. Soldiers and civilians have gathered in the Guards Chapel for the morning service and the choir has just begun the Sung Eucharist. Then a V1 flying bomb, a doodle-bug, crashes into the roof and explodes, killing 121 soldiers and civilians and seriously injuring 141 others. Yet the silver cross on the altar is untouched and the candles continue to burn.

Despite the destruction, the apse, built by G E Street in 1877-79, is still standing and part of the building is reopened for services by Christmas 1944. Bruce George’s airy, modern rebuilding of 1963, using as its focal point Street’s apse, incorporates stained glass by Clayton and Bell, mosaics by Salviati, metalwork by Leaver and carving by Earp, is as much a memorial to those who died as a showcase of what survived.

This is a rare opportunity to see the building in the company of an expert in church iconography, the Revd. Lis Goddard, who is the vicar of St James the Less, Pimlico.

Tickets: £15

Book here

***

Street to Street: a South-of-the-River Walk

Date: Sat 18 May

Time: 2:00 pm – 5:15 pm

Meeting place: St Paul’s Church, Herne Hill, SE24 9LY

Join us for this exploration of the landscape of G E Street’s mid 19th century boyhood, framed by his churches St Paul’s, Herne Hill (Street, rebuilding, 1858) and St John The Divine, Kennington(Street, 1874) and including St Giles, Camberwell (Scott & Moffat, 1844, the year Street went to work for Scott).

Tickets: £20

Book here

***

JUNE

Gala dinner

Thursday 20 June

St James the Less, Pimlico (Street’s birthday) A St James the Less event.

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George Edmund Street Bicentenary Symposium - Day 1

Friday 21 June

The morning will comprise three papers on G. E. Street and his work:

Richard Peats (Historic England):

George Edmund Street and church restoration – destructively overconfident or a reverential conservationist?

Michael Hall (independent scholar, formerly editor of The Burlington):

Stern and high: G. E. Street, Philip Webb and William Morris

David Brownlee (Professor Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania):

A Building Powered by Fusion: George Edmund Street and the Royal Courts of Justice

The doors will open at 09.30 and coffee/tea and biscuits will be served then and at the mid-morning break. The session will end at 12.45

First Walking Tour of Victorian architecture relating to G.E. Street

The afternoon walk shall comprise visits to the Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand and the church of All Saints, Margaret Street. Meet outside the Royal Courts of Justice at 14.30. The tour shall end by 18.00.

***

George Edmund Street Bicentenary Symposium - Day 2

Saturday 22 June

The morning will comprise three papers on G. E. Street’s church of St James the Less, Pimlico:

Neil Jackson (Professor Emeritus, University of Liverpool):

An Architect Abroad: Mr Street en vacances

Colin Kerr (formerly architect to St James the Less): The Urban Church: G. E. Street the designer

Revd Lis Goddard (vicar at St James the Less): The iconography of G. E. Street in St James the Less, Pimlico

The doors will open at 09.30 and coffee/tea and biscuits will be served then and at the mid-morning break. The session will end at 12.45

Second Walking Tour of Victorian architecture relating to G.E. Street

The afternoon walk shall comprise visits to three local churches: St Barnabas, Pimlico; St Stephen, Rochester Row; and St James the Less, Pimlico.

Book Here

JULY

Weekend visit to Street’s churches in East Yorkshire

27 & 28 July

A chance to visit the churches commissoned by Sir Tatton Sykes II of Sledmere House, and others

  • St John Evangelist, Whitwell on the Hill (1860, for Lady Louisa Lechmere, in memory of her father, John Haigh, of Whitwell Hall);
  • St John, Howsham (1860, for Hannah Cholmley of Howsham Hall);
  • St Andrew, East Heslerton & vicarage (1877 & 1876, for Sykes);
  • St Andrew, Weaverthorpe (restoration, 1872, for Sykes);
  • St Peter, Helperthorpe & parsonage (1873 & 1876, for Sykes);
  • St Mary, West Lutton (1873, for Sykes);
  • St Andrew, Kirkby Grindaly (restoration, 1975, for Sykes);
  • St Mary, Fimber (1871, for Sykes);
  • St Mary, Thixendale & vicarage (1870 & 1870, for Sykes);
  • St Mary, Wansford (1868, for Sykes)

To register your interest email: [email protected]

AUGUST

No events

SEPTEMBER

TBC: A repeat of May's walk: Street to Street: a south of the river walk with Alison Rae (Lambeth Tour Guides).

Visiting St Paul, Herne Hill (Street, rebuilding, 1858); St Giles, Camberwell (Scott & Moffat, 1844); St John the Divine, Vassal Road, Kennington (Street, 1874)

OCTOBER

TBC: Visit to Street's Church and House, Holmbury St MAry

NOVEMBER

TBC: Visit to Westminster Abbey to see the graves of Street (d.1881, brass designed by G F Bodley) and George Gilbert Scott (d.1878, brass designed by Street). With Revd Lis Goddard. A Vic Soc and St James the Less event.

RECORDING

Happy Birthday, George Edmund Street! An Introduction to his Work

In this introductory discussion, Peter Howell, co-editor of the late Geoff Brandwood’s forthcoming book on Street, and Neil Jackson, author of several studies of Street’s architecture, presented, in an open discussion before a live audience, an introduction to this great architect’s work.

Whether you know Street’s buildings well, or have only seen the Royal Courts of Justice as the backdrop to some headline feature on the television news, this exchange of ideas will show the extraordinary achievement of one of the nineteenth century’s hardest working architects.

Winner of the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, President of the Royal Institute of British Architects and Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts, Street died at the early age of 57, leaving behind a vast legacy of work ranging from buildings to books to ornamental metalwork, carving, stained glass and wall painting.

William Morris, Philip Webb and Norman Shaw all passed through his office and he worked frequently with Clayton & Bell (stained glass), Thomas Earp (carving), James Leaver (metalwork) and Antonio Salviati (mosaicwork). In December 1881, Street was buried in the nave of Westminster Abbey, alongside Sir Charles Barry and next to his old employer, Sir George Gilbert Scott, beneath a brass designed by George Frederick Bodley.

Book here

19/12/2023


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