An urban view — 03 January 2014

Every month CabbieBlog hopes to show you a little gem of a building which you might have passed without noticing and this one you pass very closely indeed.

Situated on the western side of Regent’s Park next to the dominant Central London Mosque this very English building was originally was known as West Gate, but this was soon changed to the more familiar Hanover Gate Lodge.

The 1994 film The Madness of King George recounted the sad tale of King George III who, not only lost England its American colonies during his reign, also lost his mind.

The Royal family seem to have been a pretty unimaginative bunch for the King’s eldest son was also named George and in 1811 was officially made Regent to rule in his father’s place due to his incapacity.

The son, by all accounts, was a thoroughly nasty piece of work, extravagant, self-indulgent and a disloyal friend, but his one redeeming feature was a passion for art and architecture. His holiday home in Brighton, The Royal Pavilion, gives you some idea of his extravagance and self-indulgence.

hanover_gate1827 Shepherd TH. West Gate, Regent’s Park, 1827

For Londoners we should be eternally grateful the Prince Regent took architect John Nash under his wing. Regent Street and Regent’s Park with its surrounding houses are London’s only major piece of centralized planning, the speed with which his proposals were accepted led to some speculation about the relationship between Nash’s attractive wife Mary Anne and the Prince.

Grade II Listed Hanover Gate serves as one of four gates to Regent’s Park, namely the west gate. The other three gates are Macclesfield Bridge (the north gate), Gloucester Gate (the east gate) and York Gate (the south gate).

With its channelled stucco and painted stone the picturesquely monumental Hanover Gate Lodge was designed by John Nash in 1822 and is an absolute delight if you could but see it for it is surrounded by street furniture and an inappropriately planted conifer.

The two storey heavily rusticated small baroque lodge with its chamfered corners is usually taken to be octagonal for the leaded pyramidal roof rising to a central chimney stack give that impression. A series of swags above the four huge projecting porches, two of which have statues within its niches, give a sense of grandeur beyond its humble function.

Its name gives a nod to the Hanoverians of which the Prince Regent was the fourth of that ruling dynasty he would go on to predictably name his son – George.

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