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Thread: Interesting Old Architectural Features

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Default Interesting Old Architectural Features

    I thought it interesting that this building, which now houses Marks and Spencers on Church Street had the American coat of arms on its southwestern corner and the British coat of arms on the southeastern corner. The coat of arms in the center of the building looked Spanish or else other European. Does anyone have an answer for the use of these varied architectural devices on the same building? Any information appreciated!




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    The mesh covering the building during renovation is more obvious, because of the sunlight, in the second shot.

    Chris
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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Another old architectural remainder shot while I was in Liverpool a couple of weeks ago. The southeastern corner of Williamson Square. Is this the entrance to what used to be George Henry Lee's?

    Chris

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    PhilipG
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    Mark and Spencer was Compton House, and the upper floors were the Compton Hotel, which - in 1867 - replaced an earlier similar establishment which was a great favourite with our friends across the sea.

    Yes, Lees was indeed George Henry Lee.
    Last edited by PhilipG; 06-01-2007 at 02:07 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipG View Post
    Mark and Spencer was Compton House, and the upper floors were the Compton Hotel, which - in 1867 - replaced an earlier similar establishment which was a great favourite with our friends across the sea.

    Yes, Lees was indeed George Henry Lee.
    Thank you for that information, Philip!

    Chris
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
    I thought it interesting that this building, which now houses Marks and Spencers on Church Street had the American coat of arms on its southwestern corner and the British coat of arms on the southeastern corner. The coat of arms in the center of the building looked Spanish or else other European. Does anyone have an answer for the use of these varied architectural devices on the same building? Any information appreciated!





    The mesh covering the building during renovation is more obvious, because of the sunlight, in the second shot.

    Chris

    hi Chris..interestingly the mesh on most of the buildings around liverpool is to stop pigeons from fouling the buildings...i used to work in the old littlewoods so i was well informed of all the latest pigeon news haha

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    Chris48
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    What was the Compton House part of the building anyone? Was it a shop?

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    A hotel I think wasn't it.
    www.inacityliving.piczo.com/

    Updated weekly with old and new pics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
    I thought it interesting that this building, which now houses Marks and Spencers on Church Street had the American coat of arms on its southwestern corner and the British coat of arms on the southeastern corner. The coat of arms in the center of the building looked Spanish or else other European. Does anyone have an answer for the use of these varied architectural devices on the same building? Any information appreciated!

    The mesh covering the building during renovation is more obvious, because of the sunlight, in the second shot.

    Chris
    Compton House, [Marks and Spencer] - built in 1865 for retailer J.R Jeffrey, Compton House holds a unique international status as a contender for the world's first department store, pre-dating Bon Marche in Paris by some 5 years.



    Photo. 1. ^ [credit: ChrisGeorge]. On the Tarleton Street corner there is a large eagle which was a beacon for transatlantic travellers seeking the company of fellow Americans in Compton's Hotel, a subsequent use of part of the building after J.R. Jeffrey's had failed.



    Photo. 2. ^ [credit: ChrisGeorge]. On Basnett Street corner. The Arms Of Dominion supported by a lion and a unicorn. This is the coat of arms of the United Kingdom and the reigning monarch. This usually incorporates the motto Dieu Et Mon Droit [God And My Right]. Here different wording has been substituted.



    Photo. 3 ^ Over the main entrance - A sculptured figure of Commerce above a broken pediment that once surmounted a single central entrance.



    Photo. 4 ^ This statue at the centre of the huge building's Church Street façade is a variant of the city's arms, in which Neptune (on the left) and a Triton (on the right) are normally depicted standing upright. The shield, depicting the Liver bird holding a piece of seaweed, is atypically ornate too, but the motto, 'Deus Nobis Hæc Otia Fecit' ('God has bestowed these blessings on us') is standard.

    Source: Liverpool Walks.




    Question: "[why these] varied architectural devices on the same building?"

    Firstly, the building appears to be a homage to the French Renaissance Style. Maybe with an eye on it's Parisian retail competitor Bon Marche. Who later opened their own Church Street store, following their one in Paris.

    The architectural ornaments themselves, are varied and represent different things. Ornament, the word, is derived from L. ornare to "equip, adorn" [meaning to prepare, furnish, fit out]. So by choosing the correct ornaments we are equiping, or preparing the building for it's life. This has it's roots in preparing warriors for battle [adorning them, arming them, is equiping them]. Also, in dressing religious buildings [temples for instance] with festoons, garlands, offerings, congregation, we are preparing them for a particular communion with god, usually on a noted festival days.

    We are equiping the building for it's life, and what might a building need for a successful and long life? It would need to have a good relationship with the forces that control it's fate. So ornaments were set up to appeal and appease [offerings] those gods that had dominion over the building, it's inhabitants, and their business.

    In photo. 4 we have the Liverpool coat of arms, with Nepture on one side, and Triton on the other. Notice, these are all pagan gods. Britainia is absent, as she normally appears on Public buildings, like the Town Hall, and St. George's Hall pediment [now missing] being prime examples. This highlights the importance of Liverpool's continued good fortune [after Fortuna the Roman goddess] and it's special relationship with the sea.

    The corner-stone offices, [photos 1 and 2] representing the British crown, and the US state eagle, illustrate the importance of alliance, for the the success of the building. They are both first floor office windows, with the best views; the corner-stones of the enterprise.

    The final sculpture [photo. 4] is that of Commence sitting over a broken pediment, above the main entrance, keeping a watchful eye over all that enter the building, and undoubtedly offering some blessing as they pass?








    EDIT: It's worth adding that, the architect's were just following a particular style, and paying homage to ancient customs and practices that they'd copied from ancient Greece and Rome. It was afterall, Victorian christian Britain.
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Chris, that pic of the 'Lees' sign( post no.2). You got me wondering now if it's still there. I must look next time I am in town.
    The store has been taken over, but they may have preserved most the original features. Not sure about the Lees sign though as the store now has another name .. .. well 2 names actually .. one side has been taken over by DIY store 'Rapid', and the other side by fashion store 'TKMax'

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    Quote Originally Posted by dazza View Post
    ...This statue at the centre of the huge building's Church Street façade is a variant of the city's arms, in which Neptune (on the left) and a Triton (on the right) are normally depicted standing upright. The shield, depicting the Liver bird holding a piece of seaweed, is atypically ornate too,...
    OK, am I being dumb here?

    I always thought the Liver bird was holding an olive branch for peace, not a piece of seaweed - for the oceans, I presume.

    Which one is it?

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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    I think it's seaweed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by az_gila View Post
    I always thought the Liver bird was holding an olive branch for peace, not a piece of seaweed - for the oceans, I presume.

    Which one is it?
    Hi az, I've just pulled this off Wiki:



    "[Of the Liver bird]. The bird's species has long been the subject of confusion and controversy.

    The bird shown on the medieval seal is generic, but the wording of the seal contains references to King John, who granted the town’s charter in 1207. John, in honour of his patron saint, frequently used the device of an eagle - long associated with St. John. Further indication that the seal was an homage to King John is found in the sprig of broom initially shown in the bird’s beak, broom being a symbol of the royal family of Plantagenet.

    By the 17th century, the origins of the bird had begun to be forgotten, with references to the bird as a cormorant, still a common bird in the coastal waters near Liverpool. The 17th century mace refers to a "leaver", while a manual on heraldry from later in the century confuses matters further by assuming this term is related to the old Low Dutch word lefler, meaning spoonbill[2] - a bird rarely found in northern England.

    The College of Arms refers to the bird as a cormorant, adding that the sprig in the mouth is of laver, a type of seaweed, thus implying that the bird's appellation comes from the sprig.

    The bird thus appears to have originally been intended to be an eagle, but is now officially a cormorant. Many modern interpretations of the symbol are of a cormorant, although several - notably that on the emblem of Liverpool Football Club - distinctly show the short head and curved beak more readily associated with a bird of prey."

    Liver bird - full Wiki link.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dazza View Post
    Hi az, I've just pulled this off Wiki:



    "[Of the Liver bird]. The bird's species has long been the subject of confusion and controversy.

    .....[/url]
    Thanks dazza, I stand corrected.... it must have been the peacenicks of the 60's that told me it was an olive branch...

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dazza View Post
    Compton House, [Marks and Spencer] - built in 1865 for retailer J.R Jeffrey, Compton House holds a unique international status as a contender for the world's first department store, pre-dating Bon Marche in Paris by some 5 years.
    Bon Marche, the world's first department store, began life as a Paris clothing store that specialized in fashionable goods. In 1852. What a department store was is open to interpretation. It means each department sold specific goods - such as furniture. Some so-called department store were large but the goods sold were quite mixed about the store. However the Bon Marche building in Paris was an existing building adapted. So, was Lewis's in Liverpool. Lewis's became a department store in 1870s. Lewis's had a store in Church St named after the Paris store, Bon Marche,

    The first building built as a dedicated department store was "probably" Compton House in Church St 1865.

    The largest department store chain in Mexico is called Liverpool.
    http://www.liverpool.com.mx/shopping/store/



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    If you could note down the source of the pics underneath each pic, that would be great

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