- Background & Introduction
- Buildings - Facade
- King Street - South
- King Street - North East
- King Street - North West
- Henrietta Street - South
- Henrietta Street - North
- Market Building - West and East
- Market Building - North and South
- The Piazza - West and East
- The Piazza - North
- The Piazza - South
- South Elevation/ Russell Street
- East Elevation to James Street/East Piazza
- Russell Street/Part Bow Street Elevation
- Russell Street - North and South
- Southampton Street - West
- Southampton Street - East
- James Street - West
- James Street - East
- Space between buildings
- Management & Implementation
James Street - East
The Royal Opera House extension dominates the eastern side. Market stalls are now pitched at the junction of the Piazza with its south-eastern corner. The Nags Head, at No.10 James Street, is its only listed building, a public house built in 1900, in neo-Jacobean style. A pub of this name has stood on this site since at least the 1670s.
16-13 James Street. This large brown brick box replaces three original buildings. Big and bland, it was designed in 1978 and represents a lost opportunity, unworthy of its gateway site in the Conservation Area. Much of the character of James Street, as of the other principal streets in the Covent Garden Conservation Area, derives from the fact that the original narrow 17th century building plots have survived subsequent reconstruction of the houses in the l8th and l9th centuries. When, as here, several of the old plots are amalgamated to make one larger site, it effectively destroys the grain of the Conservation Area. All new development proposals must take account of this important local characteristic and little can be done to improve the existing building.
12-11 James Street: French Connection. The cleaning of the facade has greatly enhanced the appearance of the upper part of its idiosyncratic Arts & Crafts elevation with its fret-patterned polychrome brickwork. The shop front is neatly fitted into the segmental arch, but it could be more effectively painted; the background of the fascia transom would be best painted dark with light or gilt lettering rather than the reverse. The light fittings are obtrusive and would be better omitted or replaced with smaller, more sensitive designs.
10a-10 James Street: The Nags Head P.H. Listed Grade II. The cleaning of the elevations of this listed building has brought out the high quality of the red brickwork and buff terracotta decoration. The smart red and gold fascia signs, the high quality engraved and gilt glass window signs and the hanging bracket sign are all models of traditional pub signs and could not be bettered. The luxuriant summer hanging baskets on this frontage are also an example to be emulated by the more starved versions elsewhere in the Conservation Area and used in this fashion are a highly effective street ‘greening’ approach.
9-5 James Street: Royal Opera House. This large Italianate, stuccoed block surprisingly dates only from 1980-2 when the Royal Opera House was extended back to James Street, repeating the design of E. M. Barry in the 1850s, by the architectural practice of Gollins Melvin Ward. This infill development is a model of tactful keeping-in-keeping in the Conservation Area, and it is to be hoped that the next phase of the Opera House extension will be handled with equal sensitivity. The shop fronts are a more recent insertion and help to enliven this stretch of the street, but it is a pity that they are plate glass with metal frames rather than having smart painted joinery similar to that used on the upper windows. More serious is the way in which they unnecessarily and arbitrarily cut through the original moulded first floor cornice. When the opportunity arises, serious thought should be given to redesigning the shop fronts in order to integrate them properly into an otherwise handsome design. The uniform red roller blinds are a good touch. The first colour scheme of Crown Estate cream for the stucco and the dark Windsor green for the window joinery was a perfect choice for this building. The present grey of the upper window joinery is less satisfactory.
3-1 James Street. Currently an empty site awaiting redevelopment by the Royal Opera, as the return elevation of the restored North Eastern Piazza.