Last year we told you about a petition to stop the demolition of Foyles’s former flagship store on Charing Cross Road and the corner of Manette Street. It was set up by Peter Gresswell after he heard news that owner Soho Estates were planning to pull down the historic building. This, we should point out, is not the bookshop location, which moved a couple of doors down in 2014 and continues to thrive.
SAVE Britain’s Heritage also submitted a petition in the same vein, but despite the campaigns the plans went through, meaning later this year demolition will begin and the new development, Ilona Rose House, will be constructed. Saddened by the news, artist and model maker Sebastian Harding joined forces with SAVE Britain’s Heritage to find a way in which memories of the building could be preserved.
Using paper and card to recreate structures he thinks many would see as unremarkable, Sebastian’s aim is to shine a light on the architectural merit of London’s urban spaces, which is exactly what he’s done with the large-scale paper model you see below, finished using gouache, watercolours and inks.
Alongside the illustrated structure, which took over six weeks to produce, Sebastian is now working with the group to gather fond memories and personal histories connected to the building, interviewing former employees and those connected to the site in some way.
You can submit your own story via Chronicles of Charing Cross Rd, which will be updated over the coming months with interviews, rarely seen photographs and articles about urban development and the history of the street.
In other news, the night tube is expanding to the Overground.