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Edwardian Story Of London

Edwardian London: II – Buckingham Palace


In 1905 the Pall Mall Magazine published a “little book [which] will appeal to all who wish to possess what is really a portfolio, in a handy form, of beautiful drawings and photographs of the marvellous New LONDON which is rising up around them day by day.” The first part of the guide was effectively a guide book for the Londoner and the visitor alike, but a guide book with a difference, as it includes architect’s drawings of the many new buildings and streets which were still at the planning stage. Our guide now points out to us the new front of Buckingham Palace, the new Processional route and the new footpath to Piccadilly through Green Park.

The New Front of Buckingham PalaceHAVING SEEN THE VIEWS OF QUEEN VICTORIA MEMORIAL AS IT WILL BE WHEN THE SCHEME IS COMPLETED, THE VISITOR WILL TURN TO THE ACTUAL CHANGES THAT HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE SURROUNDINGS OF THE PALACE.The new garden and ornamental barrier around Buckingham PalaceThe garden and new barrier outside the Palace.Much has been done, but even that is little more than the setting in which the gems are to be placed – the frame that is to surround the picture. The site of Mr. Brock’s memorial statue is but a mound and Mr. Aston Webb’s magnificent ornamental barrier has yet to replace the railings in front of the Palace, but the admirable bend and studied curve of the exterior barrier serve to suggest the charm, proportion, breadth, and unity of the design. The barrier was the first part of the work to be completed. Difficulties were encountered, and successfully surmounted, a considerable portion of the lake of St. James’s Park was filled in, and the graceful sweep of the wall below the barrier now dips into the water with delightful effect. Then the lawns were made, with the result that Buckingham Palace was fronted across its whole extent by a prospective beyond measure, when compared with what previously existed. Standing hear the spot where Mr. Brock’s work will be placed, the fact is borne in on the mind that since the inception of the scheme much work has been quietly and unostentatiously accomplished. Much remains to be done, and vast expense has yet to be incurred before the nation enters into possession of a memorial that will commemorate the sixty years of incomparable service – of duty to the uttermost fulfilled and grace bestowed – of Victoria “The Good.”The Processional Road
and the
New Road to Piccadilly.THE VISITOR WILL NOW TURN HIS FACE TOWARDS THE NEW ROAD WHICH HAS BEEN MADE TO PICCADILLY, AND WILL THEN WALK ALONG THE SPLENDID PROCESSIONAL ROAD LEADING INTO TRAFALGAR SQUARE AND WHITEHALL.The new footpath through Green Park.The first step in the direction of carrying to fulfilment not the least important point of the great scheme, was the stately avenue from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar-Square. The Long Processional Road was quickly made, a strip of St. James’s Park being taken to permit of a splendid width, and even now, with its six parallel rows of tender trees, the stretch of the road is rich in the promise of magnificent vistas, when the statues and supporting arches that are to adorn it have been erected. There are still some buildings to be demolished at the Trafalgar-Square end of the avenue, but when these have finally disappeared, the great arch that is top be erected on their site will alone break the continuity of vision from the Palace to the Strand.The new road from Buckingham palace to Piccadilly.Almost as important from the point of view of the unity of the complicated and intricate scheme is the wide footpath striking across the Green Park to Piccadilly. No phase of the work so stirred people to a recognition of its vast proportions as this. Questions were asked in Parliament, letters were written to the newspapers, and complaints that the park was being ruthlessly destroyed were showered upon the First Commissioner of Works, but gradually, as the ground was cleared and the footpath – 80 ft. in width – was thrown open, its importance, as one of the great converging avenues, to the scheme was universally admitted, and for the first time the public realised that Buckingham Palace was not to be merely the background of the memorial, but part of a grandly-situated, ornamental monument. Constitution Hill, now almost equal in width to the path across the park, enters with striking effect into the scheme, while the avenues on the southern side of the Palace strike off at similar angles to those on the northern side.The view along the Mall.
The view westwards along the newly opened Mall.