Designs for Post-War London, St Paul's
Charles Holden and William Holford
RIBA no. DR18/3
RIBA Library Drawings Collection
Holden (1875-1960) and Holford (1907-1975) were asked to create a plan for the rebuilding of the City of London following the bombing of World War Two. They carried out a survey of the City in which every building was listed and its area recorded before drawing up their plan for reconstruction and improvement of the area. Their main intention was to achieve a balance between accommodation space and circulation space and the employment of a variety of architectural styles was encouraged except in the vicinity of historic monuments like St Paul's, 'where some form of setting has to be provided that is not entirely out of character with the design of the building'. The needs of office workers and pedestrians were taken into particular account, with parks, walks and traffic system, to create a new east-west route and to tidy up circulation. They envisaged correctly the growth in car ownership and, although they thought it unwise to encourage people to come to the City by car, attempted to cater for it by providing underground car parks, traffic lights and roundabouts.
Special consideration was of course given to St Paul's and the City's other historic buildings. The views of the Cathedral opened up by bombing to the south-east were to be retained and a processional way leading from steps on the river to the south transept was suggested.
Holden and Holford are largely responsible for the layout and appearance of the City today, and the effect of new buildings on the view of St Paul's is still very much a consideration in planning decisions.
Charles Holden is best known for his designs for stations for the London Underground. William Holford was heavily involved with the development of post- was largely responsible for drafting the Town and Country Planning Act 1947.
This drawing can be viewed in the RIBA Prints and Drawings Study Room.