In the 19th Century, a bridge designed to connect the City and the West End put Holborn on the map. Come and visit a new boutique scheme that’s doing the same again in the 21st Century – Pinks Mews.
The Victorians can be credited with much of London’s present-day infrastructure and architecture. In the mid-19th century they undertook a substantial civil engineering and urban planning project which transformed whole swathes of London, and none more so than Holborn. The area became a hive of building work – from the creation of Holborn Circus to the rebuilding of Blackfriars Bridge – the pinnacle of which was the completion of the Holborn Viaduct.
Costing over £2 million at the time, the Holborn viaduct was simultaneously the most expensive improvement scheme of the 19th century and the most ambitious. What resulted was one of the greatest engineering feats of the era. The purpose of the Holborn Viaduct was simple: to cross the old River Fleet and improve access to the city from the western side.
An engineering marvel
As was the case with much of the building work during this era, construction was a major challenge. Rows of buildings had to be demolished and there were a series of legal challenges along the way from disgruntled homeowners, shopkeepers and innkeepers.
The ends ultimately justified the means. The viaduct led to improved access into the City from the West End, with better traffic flow and distribution around the new Holborn Circus. Moreover, the increased flow of commerce generated by the project acted as a catalyst for the creation of several other London landmarks: the construction of Queen Victoria Street, the rebuilding of Blackfriars Bridge, the opening of the Embankment section into the City and the continuation of Farringdon Street as Farringdon Road.
As a commentator in The Builder wrote soon afterwards, “the improvement is so grand and yet so simple, and the direction taken by the new road is so obviously the easiest and the best, that difficulties of construction and engineering details are in a manner lost sight of.”
Traditional and on-trend
Today, the Holborn Viaduct is one of the neighbourhood’s iconic landmarks, symbolizing its status as a bridgehead between the glamour of the West End and the commercial might of the City. But, whereas in the 19th Century one might see the viaduct as a reason to pass through Holborn, in the 21st Century it demonstrates why one should want to live there.
The combination of venerable Victorian architecture (not just the viaduct, but the neo-Gothic Holborn Bars and the staid grounds of Lincoln’s Inn) and trendy, upmarket places to eat and drink gives the area a consistently colourful atmosphere that one could happily while away a few hours, or days, in. Connectivity remains Holborn’s strong suit too, with the Central Line replacing the viaduct as a way of getting from St. Paul’s to Oxford Circus in under 20 minutes.
The Pinks Viaduct
Despite, or perhaps because of, its charm, properties in Holborn are rare. Pinks Mews is one of the few quality developments on the market right now. A boutique 35-unit scheme built on the site of a 15th Century dyers factory, Pinks has the quirky backstory one would expect from a quintessential EC1 home. It’s located just off Chancery Lane too and right by the tube station, meaning residents can experience the convenience of the millennial equivalent of the Holborn Viaduct – but with the added benefits of a concierge, marble bathrooms and bespoke interiors.
Prices at Pinks Mews range from £995,000 to £2,750,000. For further information contact Samuel Aston at CBRE (020 7240 2255), Glen A. Cook at Hamilton Brooks (020 7606 8000) or visit the Pink Mews website to register your interest
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