St George's Circus


St George's Circus

__NOTOC__

St George's Circus is a major road junction in Southwark, London SE1. At its centre, which is now a traffic roundabout, is a historic obelisk, designed by Robert Mylne (1733–1811), in his role as surveyor and architect of Blackfriars Bridge. [Ward, Robert (2007) "The Man Who Buried Nelson: The Surprising Life of Robert Mylne". London: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 978-0752439228. p.76] It was built in 1771 to mark the completion of the new roads through St George's Fields during the tenure of Brass Crosby as Lord Mayor of the City of London. In 1905, the obelisk was relocated to Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, in front of the Imperial War Museum close by, to accommodate a new clock tower. The clocktower was demolished as a "nuisance to traffic" in the 1930s, but the obelisk did not return to its original location until the late 1990s. At the base of the obelisk is the inscription "Erected in XI year of the reign of King George MDCCLXXI", with the inscriptions on the other three sides reflecting the obelisk's one-mile distance from Palace Yard, London Bridge and Fleet Street.

The landscaping introduced in the centre of the circus when the obelisk returned incorporated a semi circle of soil in which two Cabbage Palms were planted. This was then neglected and fell into long term decay until in 2005 guerrilla gardeners took over the land. They have since replanted it with lavender, rosemary, tulips, campanula, azalea and even a 7' Christmas tree. It is regularly cleared of litter and weeds and has becoming something of a landmark, appearing in press all over the world.

The circus and obelisk provided a formal termination of Blackfriars Road, a mile long boulevard from the recently constructed Blackfriars Bridge. At the circus, Blackfriars Road intersected with new and existing highways to Lambeth, Newington, Westminster Bridge and The Borough at Southwark. An Act for Improving St George's Fields of 1812 required that all new building around the circus should have concave fronts and should be consistent with a minimum diameter across the Circus of 240 ft. It also specified that no houses “inferior to the 3rd building rate should be erected on the frontages of Borough Road and St. George’s Circus”.

Following the construction of Waterloo Bridge, Waterloo Road was also cut through to terminate nearby, but this was not part of the original formal layout. Following the growth of nearby industry, and the construction of a railway viaducts by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway in the 1860s bringing noise and smoke pollution, the area become less popular as a middle class residential suburb. The surrounding streets contain a number of social housing estates constructed by the City of London Corporation and Peabody Trust, dating from the Victorian era to the 1950s.

To the north of St George's Circus is McLaren House, a hall of residence for students of London South Bank University. The building was opened in 1996 and holds around 600 students. This ten-storey building replaced a derelict 1890s building that previously housed the Royal Eye Hospital.

The St George's Circus area is now a conservation area, including a number of Georgian buildings that formed part of the original development. Many of these had been allowed to deteriorate to near-derelict state of repair, following their purchase by the London South Bank University for redevelopment plans that were subsequently abandoned, and were on the "buildings at risk" register. In 2007 facade repairs were completed to most of the buildings, although their long-term use is unresolved.

The south side of the circus was originally occupied by the School for the Indigent Blind. This was reconstructed and enlarged in the 1830s, but subsequently moved out of London. The site is now occupied by a brick building of 1901 on the same scale as the adjacent terraces. This conceals the subsurface depot for London Underground's Bakerloo Line.

In 1900 a replica of the obelisk was placed in Brookwood Cemetery to mark where human remains from the crypt of St George the Martyr, Southwark were reburied in 1899. Located on St. George the Martyr Avenue in plot 81 in the South side of the cemetery, this replica has subsequently toppled due to the subsidence of the remains beneath it.

Roads

From the north and clockwise, the following roads converge here:

*Blackfriars Road (A201), leading to Blackfriars Bridge
*Borough Road, leading to Borough High Street
*London Road (A201), leading to Elephant and Castle
*Lambeth Road (A3203), leading to Lambeth Bridge
*Westminster Bridge Road (A3202), leading to Westminster Bridge
*Waterloo Road (A301), leading to Waterloo Bridge

St George's Circus forms a hub in south-east central London, connecting roads leading to several bridges around a bend in the River Thames.

References

ee also

*St George's Fields, the historic name of the local district
*St George's Cathedral Southwark, close by to the southwest
*Elephant and Castle, to the southeast along London Road
*London South Bank University, adjacent to St George's Circus, immediately to the southeast

External links

* [http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/0700/georgian.html St George's Circus protected] (July 2000) and [http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view/43 Hotel plan for St George's Circus] (August 2001), London SE1 Community website.
* [http://www.aaron.atte.southwerk.mcmail.com/AaronFrames/HstOblsk.htm History of the Obelisk] .
* [http://www.urban75.org/photos/london/lon346.html St George's Obelisk photograph] at night.
* [http://www.southwark.gov.uk/Uploads/File_18228.pdf St George's Circus Conservation Area Appraisal] LB Southwark 2005
* [http://www.guerrillagardening.org Guerrillagardening.org] Pictures of guerrilla gardening at St George's Circus can be seen here.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • George William Lockhart — (real name Locker, 1849 24 January 1904) was a famous Victorian elephant trainer. His original group of three elephants, Boney (pronounced Bonnie), Molly and Waddy, toured Great Britain s music hall scene, as well as Europe, and is reported to… …   Wikipedia

  • Circus Polka — Circus Polka: For a Young Elephant was written by Igor Stravinsky in 1942. He composed it for a ballet production the choreographer George Balanchine did for Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus. The ballet was performed by fifty elephants and …   Wikipedia

  • George Smiley — is a fictional character created by John le Carré. Smiley is an intelligence officer working for MI6 (often referred to as the Circus in the novels and films), the British overseas intelligence agency. He is a central character in the novels Call …   Wikipedia

  • George Shrinks — Main title Format Animated series Created by William Joyce …   Wikipedia

  • George Pelecanos — en septembre 2008 Activités …   Wikipédia en Français

  • George P. Pelecanos — (* 18. Februar 1957 in Washington, D.C.) ist ein US amerikanischer Journalist, Kriminalschriftsteller, Drehbuchautor und Produzent. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Auszeichnungen 3 Werke …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Circus Boy — Title screen Genre Action/Adventure/Drama Written by Lee Erwin Douglas Heye …   Wikipedia

  • Circus of Horrors — Theatrical poster to Circus of Horrors (1960) Directed by Sidney Hayers Produc …   Wikipedia

  • Circus Lupus — was a post hardcore band based in the area of Washington, DC, U.S.A.. The band originally formed in Madison where one time Ignition and Soul Side bassist Chris Thomson met guitarist Chris Hamley and drummer Arika Casebolt while attending… …   Wikipedia

  • Circus of Fear — Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey Produced by Harry Alan Towers …   Wikipedia