- 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
King Street - South
This, the principal street in the 4th Earl of Bedford’s original development, was named in honour of the monarch who had granted him the licence to build. Nothing now survives from its first building in 1633-7; however, most of the original sites retain their integrity, presenting a complementary mixture of 18th and 19th century builds and scale. By the 1970s, when the vegetable market withdrew from Covent Garden, many of the buildings in the Piazza end of the street had become severely dilapidated; today, with James Street, King Street appears the most prosperous of the five streets approaching the Piazza, doubtless because each functions as a conduit between two fashionable shopping districts.
1-4 King Street: Dr. Martens
This building is unbalanced by the added mansard roof which upsets the symmetry of the arrangement with No.34 Henrietta Street on the other side of St. Paul’s Church. A full restoration of the building’s character would have needed this feature to be demolished. The iron fire-escape is an eyesore, which although currently essential could surely be better handled in future. The opportunity to restore the original Clutton design has not been taken and the new shop fronts are modem designs, but good of their kind.
5 King Street : Canadian Muffin Company
The joinery of the shop front could be improved by a small adjustment, namely by prolonging the two mullions upwards above the transom to the top of the window. The joinery should be painted a strong traditional colour. The sign is nicely lettered but a bit timid; it could be improved by being enlarged to fill more of the fascia. The front door with its plethora of little panels introduces a whiff of fake Spanish from the Costa Brava. A painted four panelled door with a glazed rectangular fanlight is the recommended treatment here.
6 King Street: The Essex Serpent
The dark painting of the pub front, the verre eglomise fascia sign and the hanging sign are all excellent The window boxes and hanging baskets provide an example of good lavish planting.
7 King Street: Reflexions
The minimalist glazed shop front is a bit of a lost opportunity. There is scope here for the restoration of a full-scale Victorian shop front, with all the joinery painted the strong cheerful red.
8 King Street: Abelard House
The sub-fascia spoils the shop front. The main fascia should be restored and brought back into use with a painted sign and finished with a moulded cornice to match that at No. 7. The varnished neo-Georgian shopfront is inappropriate here and should be replaced with a proper Victorian design with painted joinery and the glazing carried up to the underside of the entablature.
9 King Street: Bradleys
It is unfortunate that the entrance and the shopfront are painted differently. An attempt should be made to secure a co-ordinated treatment for the whole of this ground floor which is a single architectural unit.
10-11 King Street: Dorling Kindersley Books
The gold lettered design is comprised of well-chosen type and symmetrically related to the fascia. The shop front joinery would benefit from being coloured rather than the whole frontage being painted
12-13 King Street
The cleaning of the upper part has revealed the green and white faience panels above the first floor windows. The ground floor is painted traditional cream. The two open-book DK signs (for Dorling Kindersley Books) on the glass of the ground floor window are a good, distinctive and original
14 King Street : The Irish Shop
This frontage has been well restored. Ideally the colouring of the architectural surround of the shopfront - rusticated quoin pilasters and entablature - should match the upper part of the building. It is regrettable that this shop, in common with many in the Covent Garden Area, regularly obstructs the narrow footway with an unnecessary and illegal ‘A’ board sign.
15 King Street : Tsar
The stock brick of the upper parts of this Georgian frontage would benefit from soot washing. The shopfront is let down by the weak cornice on top of the shopfront and its incorrect classical moulding. A great improvement could be achieved here by replacing the present moulding with a fully scaled Ionic cornice.
16 King Street : Midland Bank
The restored ground floor frontage of this prominent corner with Bedford Street is disappointingly weak. The fascia could be improved by adding a classical, moulded cornice and transforming the Midland Bank signs into a good recognizable type. The ground floor window joinery should be painted, not varnished.