Thursday, 5 February 2015

A Year in Pictures – 4 February 2015 – Looking East at Lunchtime

We are looking east down Hart Street and on into Crutched Friars from the west side of Mark Lane, which connects Great Tower Street in the south and Fenchurch Street in the north.

In the distance the Deco styling of America Square is just visible, as is the railway arch that spans Crutched Friars and bears the weight of trains travelling into and out of Fenchurch Street Station. Just beyond the swinging sign of The Ship pub, perspective reduces the north side of St Olave Hart Street to a thin sliver. At the junction of Hart Street with Seething Lane, which runs up the east side of St Olave's and on which stands the Ghastly Grim gate we saw yesterday, is Walsingham House, named after Elizabeth I's spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, whose house was in that location.

On the left is 70 Mark Lane, a brand new building, not yet fully fitted out and occupied, although one of the four ground-floor food outlets pinned for street level is already open for business, doing a nice line in fresh soups and salads (I have yet to try their coffee). The top storeys of this building have a sloping glass frontage to the south and contain a planted viewing terrace from which there are spectacular views, particularly towards Tower Hill and all points east. The sophisticated climate-controlling louvres that are aimed at keeping the plants in good health are just visible in the photograph.

Planning permission for this building was originally granted in 2003, but the banking crisis of 2008 and the subsequent search for suitable occupants delayed its ultimate development. It feels like this small corner of the City is awaking again.

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