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Two Pieces Of Good News

November 19, 2016
by the gentle author

Alfred the Great repairing the walls of the City of London by Sir Frank Salisbury, 1912

Thanks to the large number of letters of objection – many written by readers of Spitalfields Life – the development scheme which threatened to obscure and inflict permanent damage on the murals at the Royal Exchange in the City of London has been withdrawn.

We understand the scale of objection was such that the City’s Planning Officer made a site visit to inspect the murals and recognised the concerns were legitimate. He informed the developer that he would recommend the scheme for refusal which – in turn – led to the developer withdrawing the scheme. Although they will likely come back with a revised scheme, the developer must now recognise that it needs to be one which treats London’s most important series of murals sympathetically.

For the meantime, this remarkable cycle of paintings including works by Stanhope Forbes, Lord Leighton and Lucy Kemp Welch is safe. As Arnold Bennett wrote when he saw them, ‘You have to pinch yourself in order to be sure that you have not fallen into a tranced vision.’

You may also like to read my original articles

Save The Royal Exchange Murals!

Lucy Kemp Welch at The Royal Exchange

My Baddeley Brothers book won Best Trade Illustrated Book of 2016 at the British Book Design & Production Awards with the following citation –

“A fabulous clothbound celebration of the joys of printing with an array of luxurious features and tip-ins exhibiting typographic excellence, foiling, debossing and a fold-out map, amongst other eye-catching flourishes. Strong typesetting and a well-proportioned grid complement the varied imagery which ranges from photography through to sparse line drawings. A treat for fans of type, printing, illustration, or simply a good family history.”

Congratulations are due to David Pearson who designed the book, Lucinda Rogers who drew the illustrations of Baddeley Brothers’ print works and Adam Dant who created the fold-out map.


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19 Responses leave one →
  1. November 19, 2016

    Many congratulations! I hope you have a big spring in your step this morning

  2. Karen Golanski permalink
    November 19, 2016

    Excellent news. Any news yet on the fate of the Still and Star pub in Aldgate?

  3. November 19, 2016

    Congrats on both counts! Valerie

  4. Shawdian permalink
    November 19, 2016

    This is Wonderful News.
    I sent in my objection to the Planning Application and
    so pleased commense prevailed.
    I am sure it was realised what a sorry mistake it would have been
    and what a great loss. These Murals belong to the Nation, they are
    part of our Heritage. Let us hope this now stands, if not, we will be ready.

  5. Greg Tingey permalink
    November 19, 2016

    Through Royal Exchange as I walked,
    Where gents in satin did shine,
    At midst of the day they parted away,
    At several places to dine.

    The gentry went to The King’s Head,
    The nobles unto The Crown,
    The Knights unto the Golden Fleece,
    And the ploughmen to The Clown.

    The clergy will dine at The Mitre,
    The vintners’ at The Three Tuns,
    The usurers’ to the Devil will go,
    And the Friars unto The Nuns!

    The Ladies will dine at The Feathers,
    The Globe no captain will scorn,
    The huntsman will go to The Greyhound below,
    And some townsmen to The Horn.

    The plumber will dine at The Fountain,
    The cooks at The Holy Lamb,
    The drunkards at noon to The Man in the Moon,
    And the cuckolds to The Ram.

    The roarers will dine at The Lion,
    The watermen at The Old Swan,
    The bawds will to The Negro goe,
    And the whores to The Naked Man.

    The keepers will to The White Hart,
    The mariners unto The Ship,
    The beggars they must take their way
    To The Eggshell, and the Whip.

    The farriers will to The Horse,
    The blacksmiths unto The Lock,
    The butchers to The Pull will go,
    And the carmen to Bridewell Dock.

    The fishmongers unto The Dolphin,
    The bakers to The Cheap Loaf,
    The turners unto The Ladle will go,
    Where they may merrily quaff.

    The tailor will dine at The Shoe,
    The shoemakers will to The Boot,
    The Welshmen, they will take their way,
    And dine at the sign of The Goat.
    The hosiers will dine at The Leg,
    The drapers at the sign of The Brush,
    The fletchers to Robin Hood will go,
    And the spendthrifts to Beggars’ Bush.

    The pewterers will to The Quart Pot,
    The coopers will dine at The Hoop,
    The cobblers to The Last will go,
    And the bargemen to The Scoop.

    The carpenters will dine at The Axe,
    The colliers will dine at The Sack,
    Your fewterer, he to The Cherry Tree,
    Good fellows, no liquor will lack.

    The goldsmiths to The Three Cups,
    Their money they count as dross,
    Your puritan to The Pewter Can,
    And your papist to The Cross.

    The weavers will dine at The Shuttle,
    The glovers will unto The Glove,
    The maidens’ all to The Maidenhead,
    And true-lovers unto The Dove.

    The saddlers will dine at The Saddle,
    The painters to The Green Dragon,
    The Dutchman will go to the sign of The Vrouw,
    Where each man may drink his flagon.

    The chandlers will dine at The Scales,
    The salters the sign of The Bag,
    The porters take pain at The Labour in Vain,
    And the horse-coursers at The White Nag.

    Thus every man in his humour,
    From North unto the South,
    But he that hath no money in his purse,
    May dine at the sign of The Mouth.

    The swaggerers may dine at The Fencer,
    But those that have lost their wits,
    With Bedlam Tom let there be their home,
    And The Drum the drummers best fit.

    The cheater will dine at The Chequer,
    The pickpocket at The Blind Alehouse,
    Till taken and tried, up Holborn they ride,
    And make their end at The Gallows.

  6. Geraldine Moyle permalink
    November 19, 2016

    Bravo, Spitalfields Life & its family, both actual & digital! As Joni Mitchell wrote, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?” But in this case, the Corporation decidedly can’t say that about the Royal Exchange murals, thanks to an informed public protective of the City’s fabric.

  7. Robert permalink
    November 19, 2016

    Great news. I’m not against redevelopment or reuse but the original scheme shamelessly hacks a beautiful mural into two halves. Popular opinion won here.

  8. November 19, 2016

    Hey! This is fantastic. Your unusual book and your love of the city and its treasures have triumphed.
    A virtual toast to the Gentle Author.

  9. Sarah B Guest Perry permalink
    November 19, 2016

    Congratulations and that twice!

  10. November 19, 2016

    Wonderful news! Congratulations.

  11. Ros permalink
    November 19, 2016

    .Many congratulations on both. Yay!

  12. November 19, 2016

    Huzzahs all round! Enough with Mammon! What next, GA?

  13. November 19, 2016

    Woot and huzzah! What next, GA?

  14. November 19, 2016

    Good news should always travel quickly. (not sure about the grammar there……but you know what I mean) Hurrah and huzzah for the more-sensible-and-sensitive comments about the
    murals. And congratulations for keeping the art of beautiful volumes alive and well.

  15. pauline taylor permalink
    November 19, 2016

    Congratulations on both counts, very well deserved so hurrah from me too, and keep up the good work with the typography and book design, a subject very close to my heart as I am sure that you know by now.

    Well done!!

  16. Malcolm permalink
    November 19, 2016

    This is excellent news, although I’m sure the developers will return with a new plan that will be similar to the old plan. Such is the way that developers work. They will attempt to wear down the opposition until their odious plans are accepted. Vigilance and protest will keep these barbarians at bay for now. Well done GA and all supporters who wrote against this brutal, uncivilised and destructive plan.
    The book is a beautiful piece of publishing, as is to be expected from Spitalfields Life books, all of which are made with great care and love of printed works.

  17. November 19, 2016

    Well done! That’s the power of a well-informed blog.

  18. November 22, 2016

    Wonderful news. Well done. Thanks for alerting us so we could make objections and save the murals.

  19. Clarkee permalink
    November 23, 2016

    Congratulations Mr Gentle and all supporters.

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