Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Day 226 : a splash of colour!

I'm walking towards King’s Cross station with the other J. I've never taken this route down Gray’s Inn Road so I'm having a good look around. There's a building that looks like an old hospital as the figure on the roof seems to be holding a caduceus that catches our eye. There are also some intriguing stone friezes but we can't discern the theme. The building is now a budget hotel, a Travelodge but surprisingly their branding is fairly subtle, a leafy tree obscuring the silvery logo.

The other J hadn't noticed it before so I'm determined to discover a little more about it. It transpires I was right about the caduceus but I'm wrong about the symbology. The sculpture with hand aloft clutching the golden caduceus is actually Mercury and all the other friezes depict communication - the blowing of the horn, the carrier pigeon being sent off to spread the word, the cherubs on the telegraph pole. All this was designed for Willings Advertising in 1910.

I'm glad the Travelodge people haven't covered all this classical ornamentation with gaudy signage, the temptation must have been strong!

Instead of photographing the Willings House, I'm drawn to the Barclays and more upmarket hotel Megaro hotel closer to the station. To enliven the exterior they've deployed some quite dramatic graffiti which apparently has provoked some controversy. Some feel that the architecture isn't enhanced by the vibrant abstract designs but I think it’s eye-catching and though I didn't immediately to do some banking or book a room but I certainly remembered it.


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