Southbank House Gargoyles - Black Prince Road, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 29.538 W 000° 07.258
30U E 699856 N 5708503
Quick Description: Southbank House, or Doulton House as it was peviously called, is on the north east side of Black Prince Road at the junction with Lambeth High Street. The gargoyles are high up around the roof and binoculars or a telephto lens are need to view them.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 2/7/2015 2:27:20 AM
Waymark Code: WMNBGK
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Norfolk12
Views: 1

Long Description:

This building has a bit of everything including eight terracotta gargoyles that are high and around the pyramidal roof.

The Ornamental Passions website also tells us:

Right up until the 1950s the area behind White Hart Drawdock in Lambeth was dominated by the huge Doulton potteries. Originally they made sanitary ware but in the 1870s expanded into art pottery. An enormous building by R. Stark Wilkinson was built in 1878 to be headquarters, studios, factory and advertisement for the products, all in one. Only one corner survived the comprehensive redevelopment that followed Doulton's departure for Staffordshire in 1956, but it still impresses. It is a riot of polychromatic Gothic brickwork and terracotta gargoyles.

Over the door is a charming relief of potters by one of the most distinguished to work in the building, George Tinworth. Tinworth himself appears standing at the centre, holding a pot. Seated to the right is Sir Henry Doulton, and working steadily on the left is Hannah Barlow, with her cat under her stool. Behind, a worker carries a tray of pots rather perilously on his head, though no doubt this was a lot safer than it looks.

The scene is a gallery of Victorian facial hair and hats. What would they have made of 'designer' stubble and baseball caps?

Gilbert Bayes, who was also at work on the London Fire Brigade HQ round the corner, created a frieze for a later wing on the building which happily survives in the V&A.

The building is Grade II listed with the entry at the English Heritage website telling us:

1878 by R Stark Wilkinson. The former Lambeth Pottery of Messrs Doulton. Long building with 2 western bays, angle and 2-bay return to Lambeth High Street. Five storeys, set back attic and low basement. Red brick with dressings of pink and beige terra-cotta, including many moulded bands and corbel tables at eaves and one storey below. Tall pyramidal tiled roofs with wrought iron cresting. Windows vary in shape: Tudor-arched, square-headed, pointed and circular; they have nook shafts, and architraves and cills enriched with glazed relief tiles in subdued polychrome colours with decorative plant motifs. On the angle, an oriel turret rises above canted entrance whose enriched doorway holds tympanum relief (by J Tinworth) of craftsmen and others examining vases. Good example of decorative art integrated with building.

The Victorian Web website has more information:

Southbank House, the only surviving part of the Doulton Pottery complex in Lambeth, south London. Tucked away behind the Albert Embankment, this Grade II Listed Building was probably designed by Robert Stark Wilkinson (1844-1936); but Wilkinson has different initials in different sources, and other architects are also mentioned, namely F. W. Tarring, and the partnership of Waring & Nicholson. It was built in 1876-78, of red brick with polychromy, and is boldly ornamented at every point with pink and sandy-coloured terracotta dressings. It stands at the junction of Lambeth High Street and Black Prince Road.

The building housed the pottery's museum and art school. Although it is described in the listing text as "long," it only has two bays each side of the corner bay. Its height is more striking, since it has five storeys, as well as a basement and attic. The main entrance at the angle is quite narrow, but has a fine tympanum relief by Doulton's then chief designer, George Tinworth, suggesting the purpose of the building — to display Doulton's already well-established, proud tradition. The pottery was founded in 1815, just a stone's throw away in Vauxhall Walk.

Apart from its general presence, what is most striking about this building is its extraordinary range of detailed ornamentation, obviously intended to show off the Doulton product. Gavin Stamp describes it as a "living advertisement," and calls the whole original complex an "elaborate, rumbustious exercise in Ruskinian Gothic".

Roger Dixon and Stefan Muthesius call the Doulton pottery complex, as it originally stood, "one of the most comprehensive commercial establishments in any city" and, like Gavin Stamp, say that its slender 233' high factory chimney to the right was "a slim version of the campanile of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence". It is thought to have been suggested by Ruskin himself. These Thames-side buildings with their prominent give-away chimney were targeted in World War II, gutted during air raids and demolished in the 1950s. Royal Doulton moved its operations to Stoke-on-Trent in 1856. It is sad that most of Doulton's London pottery premises were lost, but lucky that at least one building remains to give us some idea of what an impressive landmark they must have made.

Water spout is used: no

Condition: Lightly Weathered

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