Travel Reference
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jealous of its boundaries, hence the boundary marks fixed to houses and other buildings.
Quite a few, such as those in the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, had a device or badge,
and others contented themselves with lettering and the date. From this, the expression 'out
of bounds' undoubtedly originates, the parish bounds being beaten at Rogationtide.
To a rapid round-up of such curiosities, we can add the interest that lies in the search for
sculptured signs and plaques, for instance, the sculptured badges of the Inns of Court, such
as the Agnus Dei which appears on the buildings of the Middle Temple, and the winged
horse, the griffin, and lion of the others. In similar vein is the popinjay carved on the front
of a building in Fleet Street, with the history of a monastic foundation behind it. This is
Ulster House, 112 Fleet Street, once the London office of the Belfast Telegraph . Beside
the carved popinjay swinging in his hoop is a tablet recording that the Inn of the Abbots
of Cirencester stood here in the fifteenth century. The abbots stayed here when matters of
state or religion made their presence in London necessary, and the Popinjay Inn, whose
sign is one of the oldest in Fleet Street, had a spacious garden running as far back as Harp
Alley, commemorated in the present-day 'Poppins Court', which is immediately east of
Ulster House. So much of interest can lie behind a sign …
London has much small-scale ironwork, ranging from the simple but elegant railings of
King's Bench Walk to those majestic ones of St Paul's, or from the charming glazed pas-
sages of the houses on Cheyne Walk to magnificent iron gates like those in front of the
College of Heralds, but perhaps the ironwork of the terraced houses is most unique and
most undervalued. As I have said, it can be found all over London, even on the poorer ter-
races. This delicate ironwork gives the right foil to the studied simplicity of the façades.
Even the dullest work of the third-rate architects and ordinary builders is usually redeemed
by these balcony railings, often a pleasing contrast being formed by the use of Gothic bal-
cony railings on the façade of a terrace of standard nineteenth-century type. L.N. Cotting-
ham, who appears for a moment in the chapter on Gothic London, was one of the architects
to issue pattern topics of designs for window guards and railings. Cottingham, besides be-
ing a Gothicist, provided much terraced housing of a competent but uninspired kind in
south-west London. His balcony designs, however, sometimes reminiscent of Soane or
Adam, often in the 'Grecian taste', are charming and effective. After Waterloo, the Lon-
don balcony was often the only concession to decoration, a purpose it fulfils even when
it becomes severely reduced to nothing more than vertical members joined by a couple of
connecting rails or, slightly less severe, panels filled with lozenges formed by the intersec-
tion of diagonals. Such balconies give character to the great squares of Bloomsbury and
variety to many of the shabby terraces of the vast areas east of Aldgate. They are as char-
acteristic of London as the circular coal-hole cover of the pavements.
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