Celebrate The Bicentenary Of This Great Gothic Revival Architect

Celebrate The Bicentenary Of This Great Gothic Revival Architect

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The Gothic revival Royal Courts of Justice
The Royal Courts of Justice is G E Street's best-known building. Image: David Castor via creative commons

George Edmund Street was one of the leading Gothic Revival architects — not to mention a perfectionist who irritated his students and assistants by coming along with a pencil and altering their images.

2024 marks Street's bicentenary, and the Victorian Society is celebrating with a series of events stretching from March till November. Here are some of the highlights:

Happy Birthday, George Edmund Street! An Introduction to his Work (26 March): An in-person/ online talk which sets out the stall of the architect and his buildings (Street is best-known for designing the flamboyant Royal Courts of Justice on Strand), as well as the many stellar names he worked with, including William Morris and Sir George Gilbert Scott.

A red brick church with a tall steeple
St Mary Magdalene in a beaut inside and out. Image: Ham via creative commopns

A Visit to St Mary Magdalene, Paddington (11 April): Street produced a number of churches in his time, among them Bristol Cathedral. His masterpiece, though, is often considered to be St Mary Magdalene in Paddington. Reminiscent of William Butterfield's All Saints on Margaret Street, it's a redbrick, white stone-banded beauty, brimming with a colourful interior thanks to Henry Holiday's stained glass and Antonio Salvati's mosaicwork. Here's a chance to tour the church with guides who can tell you plenty about it.

An olds photos of a man with a beard
"Happy bicentenary to youuu..." Image: public domain

A Visit to the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks (15 May): The Revd. Lis Goddard, an expert in church iconography, shows you around another ecclesiastical effort from Street. Something both remarkable and tragic happened at this chapel one June morning during the second world war; a V-1 flying bomb came crashing through the ceiling, killing 121 people, and injuring another 141. And yet the silver cross remained on the altar, and the candles continued to burn...

Other events throughout the year include architectural trips to the likes of Maidenhead and East Yorkshire, a stroll through the south London streets that influenced Street as a child, and a visit to Street's grave in Westminster Abbey.

Check out more details of the G E Street Bicentenary Year 2024, March-November 2024

Last Updated 15 March 2024

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