Open House Festival

T J Boulting


Herbert Fuller Clarke, 1903

59 Riding House Street, W1W 7EG

Red brick and Portland stone corner building with three prominent signs in Arts & Craft style lettering in green and gold mosaic for the company 'TJ Boulting & Sons'.

Getting there


Warren Street, Great Portland Street, Oxford Circus, Goodge Street





Accessibility notes

The building is not accessible as there is a short flight of steps up to the front door and a long flight of steps down to the gallery space which is lower ground



The Sir Isaac Newton pub was recorded by 1777 as long being stood on this corner and at the two houses to the east, the furnishing ironmongers John Boulting and son had established themselves perhaps as early as 1808, according to the firm's foundation date inscribed on the present building. Successive John Boulting's died in 1863 and 1874, and the dissolution of a partnership between a third John and Thomas John Boulting was announced in 1879. Thereafter the firm was known as T.J. Boulting & Sons. TJ Boulting is said to have installed the first flushing toilet in Windsor Castle but evaded a Royal Warrant which was awarded to Thomas Crapper in 1886 following his work at Sandringham. Among the sons was Percy Boulting, born around 1876 and seemingly architect trained, to whose youthful aspirations the present buildings may well have been due. The firm had done well enough for members of the family, at first the father and then Percy's brothers, to branch out into small property dealings on the Portland estate from the late 1890s. And naturally, they took a special interest in rebuilding around their works.


Herbert Fuller Clark is usually credited with the flamboyance of the Boultings’ cluster. Clark's masterpiece is the recasting of the Blackfriar pub in the city of around the same time, whose distinctive Arts and Crafts/Art Nouveau lettering in green and gold mosaics are also found adorned here. Otherwise Clark’s work is little known, though he claimed to have a substantial practice. Tower House, York House and Oakley House, encompassing the building's former premises and the Sir Isaac Newton pub were built in 1903-04. The architects were described as Fuller Clark and Percy Boulting, and the builders were Smith & Co of Mount St.

Distinctive Features

Among the tricks set to work are brickwork bands of startling hues, bay projections both canted and square, a bristling roofline and three separate fancily lettered mosaic panels with the firm's name and descriptions of its business:


Colour was an evident preoccupation. Originally, three different cements were used. While the window joinery was all white apart from the bay windows finished in stained oak. Despite the hint of Voysey about these elevations, they are entirely individual, and indeed this building was attributed to Clark alone when it was republished.

Recent History and Today

Boultings survived at 59, Riding House Street until the 1960s. In 1978, the freehold of 59 and the surrounding flats passed to the Community Housing Association, who still own the buildings today. The flats are predominantly social housing, whilst the lower and ground floor of 59 are a contemporary art gallery and publisher Trolley Books. The gallery was established in 2011 by current Director Hannah Watson and the late Gigi Giannuzzi and takes its name from the landmark building it inhabits, TJ Boulting. The gallery represents a small group of artists with several shows a year including thematic group shows combining contemporary and historic artists with guest curators.

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