Monday, October 17, 2016

Buildings Ancient And Modern In Regent's Park

We were in London last week to celebrate The Lad becoming a Member of the Royal College of Physicians. It was a glorious few days: the weather was kind, the accommodation was excellent, the company was thoroughly enjoyable, and we had the benefit of being transported everywhere upon a cloud of intense pride. The ceremony itself was held in the headquarters of the Royal College of Physicians which is in Regent's Park. Whilst the Park is bordered by a ring of fine Georgian mansions, the RCP building stands out as being startlingly modern. Designed in 1964 by the architect Sir Denys Lasdun, it is one of the few post-war Grade 1 listed buildings in Britain. Feelings amongst our party about it were mixed, but as soon as I got into the building I was converted - the spectacular lines of the interior blended wonderfully with the immediate surroundings.

Before going to the ceremony, we walked in Regent's Park and paid a sentimental visit to St John's Lodge which used to be part of London University and was were Isobel studied back in the late sixties and early seventies. I managed to find an old photograph I took of the college back in those days, when it served as the Latin and Greek Departments of Bedford College. Later it was leased to the Sultan of Brunei and it is currently undergoing substantial renovations. 

Designed in 1812 by the architect John Ruffield, it was the first house to be built in the Park. Despite all that, the building has only ever achieved a Grade II listing status, making it very much second division when compared the glass and concrete of the physicians on the other side of the park.

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