The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 19 From Charing Cross To St Paul's Cathedral

Lyceum Theatre

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Beyond the Savoy the Strand crosses Wellington Street, a wide street leading on the right, past the west facade of Somerset House, to Waterloo Bridge, and on the left, passing the Lyceum Theatre, to Bow Street). Opposite the Lyceum is the office of �The Morning Post', a �flat iron� building between Wellington St. and Aldwych. We have now reached the west end of the extensive alterations of 1898-1905, which widened the Strand and revolutionized a large slum area on the north by the construction of Aldwych and Kingsway as a new thoroughfare to Holborn. Holywell St. (known also as �Booksellers� Row� from its bookshops), which ran parallel with the Strand from St. Mary's to St. Clement's, has disappeared. On the left, as we follow the Strand, is the Gaiety Theatre, an imposing edifice by Norman Shaw, with a colonnade on the third storey. Farther on is the Marconi House, next door to which is Short's, claiming to be the oldest wine-bar in London (rebuilt). Then comes the towering Bush House, an �international sales building,� built in 1920-24 by Harvey Corbett, architect of the Bush Building in New York. The first cornice is kept at the same height as the cornice of the adjacent church, so as to avoid dwarfing the latter. The north (Aldwych) entrance of Bush House is a colossal archway surmounted by a sculptured group, by Malvina Hoffmann (1925), symbolizing the friendship of Britain and the United States. The porter will conduct visitors to the roof (view). The large building, with tall Italian Doric columns, at the corner of Melbourne Place, is Australia House, erected in 1911-18, from the designs of A. M. and A. G. R. Mackenzie, as the office of the Commonwealth of Australia. Flanking the entrance are groups representing Exploration (Burke and Wills; died 1862) and Shearing and Reaping, and high above appear the Horses of the Sun, by Sir B. Mackennal. The wood and marble used on the decoration of the interior are exclusively Australian. On the ground floor is an exhibition of Australian products, and a cinema of Australian scenes is shown daily (free).