Thursday 24 September 2009

Tressillian Building, Lewisham College

This college building stands on Lewisham Way, and it's easy to let your eye skim over the fairly unexciting brick shape. However, if you pause to look more closely, there is some interesting detail to be seen.

Along the facade are a series of ceramic plaques. Most obvious are the coats of arms of the London County Council and Deptford. However, the smaller tiled designs of stylised, sometimes fantastical, animals are perhaps more interesting. (Excuse the varied angles: they come from avoiding trees and street furniture!)

The Tressillian Building was built 1927-31 by Frederick Robert Hiorns and George Topham Forrest, as SELTEC (South East London Technical College). Hiorns, author of Town Building in History, and Forrest, also responsible for Lambeth Bridge, were both employed by the LCC Architects' Department. Pevsner approves of their work here: it is 'quite impressive as an unrelieved twenty-three-bay brick block ... The sort of effect the Danes sometimes obtained more self-consciously.' However, he makes no mention of the decoration on its facade: perhaps the tiles were added later?


Anonymous said...

Interesting question about the tiles. From the look of the brickwork around them, I'd say not - but not qualified to judge. All I can say is that they're a delight, and you've done them good service. Just the kind of detail one misses, rushing past buildings in London on the way somewhere else - and so often a shame to have missed these artful embellishments which, in this case, enliven a rather dull facade.

CarolineLD said...

They look original to me too, but the Pevsner remark makes me wonder. I did look through various books of old photos but couldn't find one for this building - one to check next time I'm in the local history library.

Anonymous said...

In March 1926 George Topham Forrest gave a lecture entitled "London one Hundred Years Hence".

He gave Lewisham (with drawings) as an example of a place where schemes of surban re-development could be carried out.

Which may be of interest to you.

CarolineLD said...

That's very interesting, Anon - thank you.