• First-up, we’d like to wish you all a happy St Patrick’s Day! And if you missed the St Patrick’s Day Parade and free festival in London last Sunday, don’t worry, there’s still plenty of Irish cheer on the city streets with the London Eye and Battersea Power Station both turning green to mark the occasion while the green beer is flowing at the city’s many Irish pubs.

The building some believe served as a model for the workhouse in Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist has been saved from demolition with a Grade II listing. Completed in 1778, the Covent Garden Workhouse in Cleveland Street became the workhouse of The Strand Poor Law Union in 1836 and was later used as an infirmary before more recently serving as the outpatients department of the Middlesex Hospital. The workhouse is believed to the most well preserved of the three surviving 18th century workhouses in London. Announcing the listing this week, John Penrose, Minister for Heritage and Tourism, said that while it is unknown whether or not the building was the inspiration for the workhouse featured in Oliver Twist, “we know that it is the sole survivor of the workhouses  that were operating in the capital when Dickens wrote his famous novel and that as a young man he lived just nine doors along from it”. Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said the listing also recognised the association between the workhouse and Dr Joseph Rogers, whose direct experience of the workhouse when working as Chief Medical Officer led him to launch important reforms of the system of healthcare provision for the poor.

David Gestetner, a key player in the development of office copying technology, has been commemorated with a blue plaque outside his former residence at 124 Highbury New Park in Islington. The Hungarian-born Gestetner lived at the property for 41 years until his death in 1939. The plaque was unveiled on Tuesday by two of his great grand-children.

On Now: Watteau: The Drawings. The first retrospective exhibition of the drawings of French artist Jean-Antoine Watteau opened last Saturday at the Royal Academy of Arts. Watteau is known for inventing the genre of fetes galantes (small pictures of social gatherings of elegant people in parkland settings) and for his mastery of the ‘three chalks’ or trois crayons technique using red, black and white. The exhibition features more than 80 works on paper. There is an admission charge. Runs until 5th June. See http://www.royalacademy.org.uk for more information.

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