Against “utter shabbiness and uneventfulness”

Fiona MacCarthy: William Morris (1994) Chapter Sixteen: Farringdon Road, Two: 188790:

In the summer of 1885, the Socialist League, formed by William Morris as a rival body to the Social-Democratic Federation, moved north from premises in Farringdon Street to No. 113, Farringdon Road (pictured).

“…Hubert Bland, a visiting member of the Fabian Society, found the scene depressing in the “large barn-like loft” in Farringdon Road: “When we called there we generally found it occupied by a tousle-haired young man in shirt-sleeves and slippers smoking a pipe over the fire. The very look of the place gave an impression of feebleness and want of method. Nobody seemed to have anything to do there.”

The Tables Turned; or Nupkins Awakened was written by William Morris. “This political mini-farce was first performed in the Socialist League hall in Farringdon Road on 15 November 1887…

…(G.B.) Shaw recollected he had never attended a first night so ecstatic:

I can still see quite clearly the long top floor of that warehouse in the Farringdon Road as I saw it in glimpses between my paroxysms, with Morris gravely on the stage in his bands at one end; Mrs Stillman, a tall and beautiful figure, rising like a delicate spire above a skyline of city chimney-pots at the other; and a motley sea of rolling, wallowing, guffawing Socialists between.

At the end of the performance Morris could be seen “capering forward with a joy lit face” as he joined with the cast in the singing of the final hymn of thankfulness for Socialist victory.

From Historic England entry:

NUMBERS 113-117, Farringdon Road (ODD) (pictured) AND ATTACHED RAILINGS

Includes: Nos.1-7 RAY STREET. Works and Foundry. Front block, 1864-1865; rear block, giant stack and top storey all c.1875-1876. By Arding and Bond for J and R M Wood (front block) and for V and J Figgins (rear block), both typefounders. Buff brick set in Flemish bond with spare use of stone dressings; roofs obscured by parapets, bearing wall brick stacks and tapered giant attached rear stack also of brick. Italianate Style. Six storeys; main elevation front block (Farringdon Road) 3 bays wide (3:3:1), side elevation front block (1 Ray Street) 1 bay wide (2-window range); main elevation of rear block (3-7 Ray Street) articulated as 3 bays (3:5:3) the centre-piece breaking forward, side elevation rear block (Herbal Hill) of 4-window range plus rear extensions (U-shaped plan) and stack; recessed connecting wing between front and rear blocks in Ray Street of 1-window range…

… Ground-floor moulded keyed stone hoods to segmental arched openings; modillioned stone cornice. Iron-bracketed crane to Ray Street return wall at 1st-floor level…

…Elevator shaft to Herbal Hill elevation. Dramatic tapered brick chimney stack attached to rear, otherwise rear elevations similiar but plainer than front. Attached cast-iron railings with firm’s initials on them.

History: Wood’s closed in 1872 and the stock was bought by Figgins; St. Bride Printing Library has some of the firm’s type specimens and an engraving of the foundry c.1900 which proves that the building survives almost intact. The building is an outstanding survival of the typefounding industry, and extremely important for its early date, its size, and its state of completeness. It is one of the earliest surviving buildings in the Farringdon Road. (Historians File, English Heritage, London Division: 1990-).

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