institution/profession, theatre, library, education, community/cultural
Robert C. Murray, 1893
14 Bride Lane, Fleet Street, EC4Y 8EQ
Built in 1893 as a printers' institute in the Anglo-Dutch style, with sandstone dressings, steeply pitched tiled roof and gables; many original features remain including the swimming pool and library reading room.
Blackfriars, St. Paul's
4, 11, 15, 45, 63, 26, 76, 172, 388
Main entrance (step free) via St Bride's Passage, London, EC4Y 8JP
For step free access to our building, use St Bride's Passage from Salisbury Square
The building is in the Anglo-Dutch style, with fine red brickwork, terracotta dressings and a steeply pitched roof. This style, formerly known as Queen Anne, represents a breaking away from classicism with a return to the domestic architecture of William of Orange. Many features have been adapted but, as far as possible, the essential style is preserved as befits a Grade II listed building.
The height of the rooms and the strength of the floors reflect their purpose for the printing school – printing machinery is extremely heavy – and the lithographic school, which is now the public reading room, can take one ton weight per square metre.
There was also a gym which is now a printing workshop and a swimming pool. When the Institute was planned at the end of the 19th century, the intention was not just to create a printing school for local workers, but also to provide facilities to the local community. The baths would be open to the public and "available for the use of the poorer classes".
The swimming pool – believed to be the first public pool in the area – remains in situ today underneath the stage of the Bridewell Theatre and the central skylight and viewing gallery can still be seen. The original towel laundry, where swimming costumes were hired, washed and dried, is also still in place in the theatre bar.
This is a building with a practical purpose which, although the printing school left in the 1920s, still delivers its original aim of providing education and entertainment.
Our Grade II listed building feels like a hidden gem, tucked away from the bustle of Fleet Street. With 5 floors, the building at St Bride Foundation is a unique and memorable setting for a range of events.
With rooms ranging from comfortable meeting spaces to the opulent Salisbury Room and elegant Bridewell Hall, there is a space to suit every occasion, from lectures to board meetings, conferences to wedding ceremonies.
Fleet Street at the end of the 19th century was at the heart of the printing world. A trade paper of 1891 explained that “most of the great morning and evening journals are issued within its precincts, periodicals are printed by the million, books are manufactured by the ton. There is probably no place in the universe of the same size wherein so much printing is done” (British and Colonial Printer May 21, 1891).
The St Bride Foundation, then, was born from a project by St Bride's Parochial Charities to support a community with printing and publishing as its major industry.
St Bride Library opened as a technical and academic collection in 1895 and has grown dramatically since.
With the death of William Blades, Victorian printer and expert on Caxton and early printing, St Bride Foundation had the opportunity to acquire a private library devoted to the history of print, containing exceptionally rare books on the subject. The collection was given its own purpose-built, fireproof room, in which it still rests to this day, as part of St Bride's extensive library of print-related technical and academic works.
Other important collections were also added, including that of Talbot Baines Reed, a type founder and historian, and John Southward, a technical print journalist.
The St Bride Library collection now consists of well over 60,000 books, periodicals and artefacts and is a thriving, international resource for typographers, graphic designers, writers, researchers and many others who simply enjoy the wealth of publications about the printed word.
Join me on a walk through the architecture of entertainment and mass communication, exploring the stories behind a diverse range of iconic buildings and their role in asserting London's status as a globally connected, cultural powerhouse.
scientific, monument, walk/tour, art in the public realm
This new sundial faces East so gets only morning sun. It is 10 m. square and was opened in 2021, and is publicly accessible 24/7
Piers Nicholson, 2021
This sensory walk explores the art of moving mindfully through urban space – focusing on the rhymes, rhythm, volumes, and voids that normally flow past unnoticed. We begin in Inner Temple and wander west to Somerset House, through Trafalgar Square, ending at the Royal Academy.
event, historical house, livery hall
17C livery hall with courtroom and garden. Oak panelling and stained glass windows. Undamaged in WWII. Recently refurbished new rooms and air-cooling within. Selected items from the archives on display. Book binding exhibition in the Hall.
Robert Mylne, 1673
religious, historical house
This Grade I Mansion House, close to St Paul's Cathedral was designed by Edward Woodroofe in 1669 and completed in 1673. The residence of successive Deans of St Pauls until the 1970's today it is the office to the Bishop of London
Edward Woodroofe, 1669
Guided tours of the Triforium space to see: items from the cathedral collections including Christopher Wren’s magnificent ‘Great Model’ made in 1673; the Geometrical Staircase and the stunning view from the West Gallery.
Sir Christopher Wren, 1710
Prince Henry’s Room is located at 17 Fleet Street, one of the few buildings in the city that survived the 1666 London Great Fire. The room, on the first floor contains one of the best-preserved Jacobian-enriched plaster ceilings in London.
Architect unknown, 1610
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