Bananas and brown bread

Image (Wikipedia): “Leicester Square Underground stationLeslie Green – architect of original station building

• Charles Holden – (1875-1960) architect of new ticket hall and entrances”

From Wikipedia:

“Charles Henry Holden Litt.D, FRIBA, MRTPI, RDI (12 May 1875 – 1 May 1960) was a Bolton-born English architect best known for designing many London Underground stations during the 1920s and 1930s, for Bristol Central Library, the Underground Electric Railways Company of London’s headquarters at 55 Broadway and for the University of London’s Senate House. He also created many war cemeteries in Belgium and northern France for the Imperial War Graves Commission.

After working and training in Bolton and Manchester, Holden moved to London. His early buildings were influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, but for most of his career he championed an unadorned style based on simplified forms and massing that was free of what he considered to be unnecessary decorative detailing. Holden believed strongly that architectural designs should be dictated by buildings’ intended functions. After the First World War he increasingly simplified his style and his designs became pared-down and modernist, influenced by European architecture. He was a member of the Design and Industries Association and the Art Workers’ Guild. He produced complete designs for his buildings including the interior design and architectural fittings.

Although not without its critics, his architecture is widely appreciated. He was awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA’s) Royal Gold Medal for architecture in 1936 and was appointed a Royal Designer for Industry in 1943. His station designs for London Underground became the corporation’s standard design influencing designs by all architects working for the organisation in the 1930s. Many of his buildings have been granted listed building status, protecting them from unapproved alteration. He twice declined the offer of a knighthood.

Around 1898 Holden began living with Margaret Steadman (née Macdonald, 1865–1954), a nurse and midwife. They were introduced by Holden’s older sister, Alice, and became friends through their common interest in (Walt) Whitman. Steadman had separated from her husband James Steadman, a university tutor, because of his alcoholism and abuse. Steadman and her husband were never divorced and, though she and Holden lived as a married couple and Holden referred to her as his wife, the relationship was never formalised, even after James Steadman’s death in 1930.

The Holdens lived in suburban Norbiton, Surrey (now Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames) until 1902, when they moved to Codicote in Hertfordshire. Around 1906, they moved to Harmer Green near Welwyn, where Holden designed a house for them. The house was plainly furnished and the couple lived a simple life, described by Janet Ashbee in 1906 as “bananas and brown bread on the table; no hot water; plain living and high thinking and strenuous activity for the betterment of the World”. The couple had no children together, though Margaret had a son, Allan, from her marriage. Charles and Margaret Holden lived at Harmer Green for the rest of their lives.”

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