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Staircases Of Old London

Mercers’ Hall, c.1910

In the Mercers’ Hall and the Cutlers’ Hall, the half-light of a century ago glimmers at the top of the stairs eternally. Is someone standing there at the head of the staircase in the shadows? Did everyone that went up come down again? Or are they all still waiting at the top? These depopulated photographs are charged with the presence of those who ascended and descended through the centuries.

While it is tempting to follow on up, there is a certain grandeur to many of these staircases which presents an unspoken challenge – even a threat – to an interloper such as myself, inviting second thoughts. The question is, do you have the right? Not everybody enjoys the privilege of ascending the wide staircase of power to look down upon the rest of us. I suspect many of these places had a narrow stairway round the back, more suitable for the likes of you and I.

But since there is no-one around to stop us, why should we not walk right up the staircase to the top and take a look to see what is there?  It cannot do any harm. You go first, I am right behind you.

Cutlers’ Hall, c.1920.

Buckingham Palace, Grand Staircase, c.1910.

4 Catherine Court, Shadwell c.1900.

St Paul’s Cathedral, Dean’s staircase, c.1920.

House of Lords, staircase and corridor, c.1920.

Fishmongers’ Hall, marble staircase, c.1920.

Girdlers’ Hall, c.1920.

Goldsmiths’ Hall, c.1920.

Merchant Taylors’ Hall,  c.1920.

Cromwell House Hospital, Highgate Hill, c.1930.

Ironmongers’ Hall, c.1910.

Cromwell House Hospital, Highgate Hill, c.1930.

Stairs at Wapping, c.1910.

Cromwell House Hospital, Highgate Hill, c.1930.

Staircase at the Tower of London, Traitors’ Gate, c.1910.

Hogarth’s “Christ at the Pool of Bethesda” on the staircase at Bart’s Hospital, c.1910.

Lancaster House, c.1910.

2 Arlington St, c.1915.

73 Cheapside, c.1910.

Dowgate stairs, c.1910.

Crutched Friars, 1912.

Grocers’ Hall, c.1910.

Cromwell House Hospital, Highgate Hill, c.1930.

Salters’ Hall, Entrance Hall and Staircase, c.1910.

Holy Trinity Hospital, Greenwich, c.1910.

Salter’s Hall, c.1910.

Skinners’ Hall, c.1910.

1 Horse Guards Avenue, 1932.

Ashburnham House, Westminster, c.1910.

Buckingham Palace, c.1910.

Home House, Portman Sq, c.1910.

St Paul’s Cathedral, Dean’s Staircase, c.1920.

Glass slides courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

You may also like to take a look at

The Nights of Old London

The Ghosts of Old London

The Dogs of Old London

The Signs of Old London

The Markets of Old London

The Pubs of Old London

The Doors of Old London

This post first appeared on Spitalfields Life | In The Midst Of Life I Woke To, please read the originial post: here

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Staircases Of Old London


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