Campus curiosities. 05 Richard's follies at UCL

May 20, 2005

Among the jumble of Victorian, Edwardian and modern buildings that make up University College London's Bloomsbury campus is a scattered collection of architectural plunder that clearly belongs to other times and other places.

Archways, foundation stones and antique fixtures that stretch back almost five centuries stand unremarked upon.

The man responsible for their incongruous appearance at UCL was Sir Albert Richardson, the influential 20th-century professor of architecture and one-time president of the Royal Academy.

Sir Albert, inspired by his love of traditional craftsmanship, sought to beautify the buildings around him. To do this, he raided London's physical heritage.

At the northwest corner of the Main Quadrangle, in the entrance to the Pearson building, which is being refurbished, is the inscribed foundation stone from Henry VIII's pioneering Royal Dockyard at Deptford, which was laid in 1533.

High on Foster Court, off Malet Place, is a Georgian clock tower. Close by, the front doors of the Medawar Building, the former warehouse of a now defunct department store, boast a handsome pair of door handles cast in the image of Adam and Eve. Above them is a handsome 18th-century lantern.

Behind the Medawar Building is a stone archway bearing two dates - 1668 and 1669 - which was taken from the Pewterer's Company hall in Lime Street.

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