Is this tarmac-surrounded statue the most endangered Victorian architecture in London?
By Mike Pollitt
18 October 2012, 15:43
The Victorian Society thinks so. It has named Holborn Circus, and the statue of Prince Albert at its centre, in its list of the UK’s 10 most endangered buildings 2012.
The society says:
“Holborn Circus, meeting point of six highways, was designed by engineer William Haywood in 1867 as a commanding and visually striking junction. The highways all terminate at the same point – a statue of Prince Albert. This device gives the termination of Holborn Viaduct its visual focus. The City of London now intends to obliterate the Victorian plan by moving the statue off to the side and blocking one of the roads. This will result in a vast area of tarmac without focus.”
With the statue already adrift on a vast tarmac ocean, you could argue that any focus old Albert used to enjoy has already been lost. But it gets worse. A planning appraisal for the proposed new junction blames him for causing accidents:
“Holborn Circus is the worst personal injury accident hotspot in the City…The statue blocks sight-lines for road users, causing confusion and accidents particularly for the more vulnerable road user. Holborn Circus has an average of 7.6 personal injury accidents per annum over the last 3 years, compared to an annual average of 3.0 for junctions across the City and 2.9 for Camden.”
A tough call for practically-minded history lovers.
Image – Google Streetview