London Walking Tours    with Joanna Moncrieff

Buildings without a soul

In St James’s recently with a bit of time before a walk I stopped to have a proper look at the redevelopment taking place in Pall Mall. Berry Brothers the esteemed wine and spirit retailer are expanding. One building has been demolished but the façade of no. 62 is being retained. It always strikes me that by demolishing the interior and leaving the shell the soul of the building has gone. I would hate to work in such a place.

I’ve done a search on the Survey of London and of my own books (although have temporarily lost Pevsner) but have been unable to find out why this building was so important. Can anyone help me?

A few minutes’ walk along Pall Mall you come to Schomberg House. All that is left from this historic building is the façade. At least this one is more attractive than the one above and I can see an argument for saving it although it is entirely modern within.
Schomberg House, Pall Mall
Lastly one building which still gets me a bit upset every time I pass it on my Mayfair walk is the former Red Lion in Waverton Street which used to be one of my favourite pubs until it closed in 2008. This is now well on its way to becoming a 5 bedroom house; however the façade has been retained. I’m not sure whether this is a good or bad thing. The name of the pub is remembered in Red Lion Yard so it won’t be forgotten. The interior of the pub has gone; all that is saved is the outside. I just (naughtily) hope that the new house dwellers will get occasional visitors wanting a pint.
Former Red Lion, Mayfair
The author of this blog (Joanna Moncrieff) is a qualified City of Westminster Tour Guide who specialises in food and drink themed walks in the West End. 
Details of all her walks are listed here.
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