Sunday, 5 December 2010

From the archives: pat-a-cake...

While we're all looking at the ground to avoid ice and slush, here's a reminder of the unexpected pleasures to be found by looking up.

Justify FullWidegate Street, one of those narrow roads opposite Liverpool Street station, has a treasure lurking just above eye level. Between the first-floor windows of a shop on the corner with White Rose Court are four reliefs depicting the making of bread: the baker carries a sack of flour, kneads the dough, bakes the loaf and finally carries a tray of bread all ready for sale. Although the store below is no longer a bakery, it is a sandwich shop which seems apt enough.

The first relief is signed 'P Lindsey Clark' and dated 1926. Philip Lindsey Clark was born in London and studied at Cheltenham and the City & Guilds School. He then served in the army during World War One; according to the London Gazette, he was awarded the DSO
for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of the left flank company of the battalion. When the enemy broke through on his left he organised a defensive flank. Finding a gap on the left he filled and held it with some of his own men and of the unit on his left. He personally led a charge against the advancing enemy and dispersed them, and later repelled another attack. He was wounded by a piece of shrapnel in the head, but though dazed continued to command his company for two days until relieved.
After the war, Lindsey Clark sculpted a number of war memorials including the one in Borough High Street. Other major commissions included several figures (St George, Christ and crib figures) in Westminster Cathedral. A friend of Eric Gill, Lindsey Clark is perhaps best known for his memorial and ecclesiastical work. However, the bakery reliefs were not his only work for commercial premises: for example, he also produced reliefs of two figures for the Gas Showrooms in Sheffield.

This narrow street, then, is lucky enough to have not only one of the more unusual decorative features in the City but also an example of the work of an important twentieth-century sculptor. Well worth pausing and looking up for!


1 comment:

londonhistorians said...

Thanks for introducing me to Philip Lindsey Clark. I've added him to Londoners of Note on our web site.