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Hotel Russell - Russell Square, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 31.355 W 000° 07.523
30U E 699417 N 5711858
Quick Description: Hotel Russell stands at the north eastern side of Russell Square and is easily recognised by its grandeur and colour.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 1/15/2012 5:27:14 AM
Waymark Code: WMDGYZ
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Pensive Travellers
Views: 2

Long Description:

The hotel is a Grade II* listed building and the entry at English Heritage reads:

"Hotel. 1892-98. By Charles Fitzroy Doll, surveyor of the Bedford Estate. Red brick with terracotta dressings. Roofs and turrets with green fishscale tiles. Tall slab chimney-stacks with horizontal brick and terracotta bands. Originally with central copper dome and lantern, now with tile mansard roof.

STYLE: flamboyant French Renaissance style derived from engravings of the Chateau de Madrid, with elaborate decorations.

EXTERIOR: 8 storeys, attics and basements. Symmetrical facade of 7 gabled bays with octagonal corner turrets. Return to Bernard Street, 12 windows; return to Guilford Street, 8 windows and attached rectangular tower at the right-hand angle. Facade articulated vertically by octagonal turrets with ogee roofs at angles, penultimate gabled bays with canted bay windows rising from ground to 6th floor terminating in half ogee roofs with 2-light windows, and a 3-bay central, projecting porch with round-arched entrance flanked by single window bays rising to 4th floor level with recessed bay windows forming the central bay above the entrance. Projecting modillion cornice at 5th floor level above which flanking bays become 3 storey semicircular turrets surmounted by conical tile roofs with gablets and linked across the now flat, recessed central bay by a wide arch surmounted by a scrolled pediment with 2 round-arched, paired windows, an entablature with the date 1894, above which a rectangular gabled dormer. All with elaborate terracotta decoration. Round-arched ground floor windows in shallow, arcading with attached Ionic columns. Other windows square-headed, mostly mullion and transom casements. 1st floor with continuous projecting arcaded terracotta balconies with round-arched balustrade and coats of arms in the spandrels. At 1st floor level flanking the balcony over the entrance, figures wearing historical costume in corbelled niches. 2nd floor continuous balconies with terracotta round-arched balustrades. 3rd and 4th floor windows with cast-iron continuous balconies. Projecting modillion cornice at 5th floor level above an enriched frieze, following the contours of the bays. Shaped gables with horizontal brick and terracotta bands and small windows. Returns in similar style.

Source English Heritage.

From the hotel's website:

"Built between 1896 and 1900 by the firm of Langdale, Hallet & Co and smothered in terracotta ornament supplied by Doulton & Company, the hotel rises through eight exuberant storeys to a French Mansard roof covered in intricate green fishscale tiles.

When the Russell was officially opened on Saturday June 2nd 1900 both Sir John Maple and Frederick Gordon were present at the inaugural fete. The hotel quickly established itself as one of the most popular tourist hotels in the Capital.

Charles Fitzroy Doll was responsible for the architectural terracotta which became infectious and the impact of his spectacular structure on Russell Square was substantial. In defence to his Hotel Russell the plain yellow stock brick facades of the early 19th century houses in the square were ‘Dolled up’ with the addition of terracotta dressings to the window and door openings. The interiors of the ground floor public rooms of the Hotel Russell are a lavish display of what was known as a ‘palatial standard’ and they were judges at the time ‘a superb success’. However the creation of the correct atmosphere for its wealthy guests was not cheap. Maple & Co’s bill for the decoration alone came to more than 25,000 pounds. That did not include the Pyranean Marble for the Hall and stairs. Nor the Mosaic floor in the entrance by Rust’s Vitreous Mosaic Co, which was described as a ‘quaintly humorous representation of the sun surrounded by the signs of the zodiac.

During the Second World War the Russell was the only London hotel in the Frederick Hotel Group that was not taken over by the War Office. The Russell was however subject to bombing raids, indeed Mr Tugel, the Manager of the hotel during the 1940’s reported that ‘several guests had suggested that the windows of the Billiard Room should be bricked up, in the same way as had been done to the Drawing Room windows.’ Thankfully the Russell managed to make it through the war with very few disasters, although the magnificent dome that dominated the skyline of the Square appears to have been lost during the conflict. It was reported on 23rd April 1941 that ‘an incendiary bomb set fire to the roof at the Hotel and the whole roof on the Bernard Street side was burned out and on the Russell Square side as far as the tower.’

Source Hotel Russell website.

Artist: Charles Fitzroy Doll

Hotel Russell Russell Square London WC1B 5BE United Kingdom

Web URL to relevant information: [Web Link]

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