Thursday, September 24, 2015


This is a bit of detective work that I did while modelling the lanterns of Soane's banking halls at the Bank of England.  There is an old photo that claims to be the lantern to the Old Shutting Room and I thought it might be interesting to recreate it with a camera shot in Revit.

I was interested to know what the other lantern was, behind and to the left.  The church spire is clearly St Margaret Lothbury, which I photographed on my recent visit.  One of Wren's many City churches I believe. 

I tried to line this up with a candidate space for a dome/lantern, but the nearest fit I could find is the Power of Attorney Office, represented here by an orange pole.  The problem is that this is a semi-circular space.  Doesn't look right to me.

Even worse, when I slotted in Russell's CTO as a link, its lantern popped up into view to the right.  Definitely not matching the photograph.

So then I followed a hunch and took a shot from behind the Stock Office, looking past the CTO towards the spire.  Near perfect match.  What is more if you peer through the dirty glass in the photo you can see the arched window of the CTO, and even more telling, the steel brackets of the Stock Office lantern. That's clear enough for me.  Wrongly labelled photograph, it happens.

If I am right then we have a photo of the exterior of the CTO lantern.  From the interior shot of the same age this appears to be glazed.  Is that dirty glass that we can see?  I think it must be.  The Stock Office on the other hand is clearly covered in sheet metal.  And we know that it had a plastered ceiling, from the photographs and from the reconstructed version.

By the way, the pitched roof in the background is the Consols Library, which is the orange roof in the foreground of the next picture.

This really is a fascinating roofscape.  I definitely haven't unlocked  all its secrets yet, but the pieces are starting to fall into place and it's much more interesting than I had imagined.  You can see why he was keen to impose order to the whole complex with his exterior screen wall.  It really is quite a hodge-podge, and I haven't even started adding the chimneys which you can see in the photograph and deduce from the many fireplaces in the drawings and interior shots.  Of course they had coal fires, all the buildings did, hence the famous London Smog.

I'll leave you with this thought.  The Bank of England is starting to remind me of a box of toys.  When my kids were young we had these large drawers on wheels that went under their beds.  Just gather all the toys up from the floor and wheel them away for the night.  Soane created this cool, suave, exterior screen, a neat and tidy box to contain the chaotic collection of toys that the bank had generated to house its activities over a century or so of piecemeal growth. 

Weekend beckons, let's see what I can come up with :)


  1. Thanks for sharing. It starts taking shape now.

  2. thank for the wonderful post , lots of information gained , visit us Revit Modeling in uk

  3. Stumbled across this as I was looking for a circular roof lantern of sorts ….. very interesting!


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