London’s first flyover, opened by Queen Victoria in 1869, Holborn Viaduct spanned the new Farringdon Road. It was just one of many Victorian civil engineering projects which utterly transformed London’s streetscape. Painted in confident maroon and gold, it was richly decorated. Here are some of its enhancements, which I shot last week. There are four statues on the viaduct’s parapets: Agriculture, Commerce, Science and Fine Art. I was intrigued that someone had placed a fresh plum on the pediment of Fine Art and a 50p piece on her painting. One can’t get within six feet of the parapet due to four foot concrete barriers. So person or persons unknown will have gone to some trouble. Is there some sort of tradition here, or was it simply an eccentric act?
At either end of the viaduct we have winged lions. Elsewhere along its length are highly decorative lamp posts and fine griffins.
Incidentally, friend and member of London Historians, the historic paints expert Patrick Baty, recently completed his analysis of Holborn Viaduct. Presumably the decorators will be in soon.