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Carlton Crescent Southampton + Samuel Toomer

The City and the Pillars

Carlton Crescent Conservation Area Southampton Architecture © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

What does Pevsner have to say? “The most spectacular piece of Regency development in Southampton… The Crescent starts at London Road and curves northwest, composed in the main of broad three bay three storey stuccoed detached houses linked together by screen walls, mostly sufficiently close to each other for the street, except in a few places, to appear as a piece of unified townscape. The houses vary in detail but are mostly the same in general composition, typical of Southampton with their elements of classical decoration almost without refinements…”

Carlton Crescent Conservation Area Southampton Building © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Carlton Crescent Conservation Area Southampton Townhouse © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Carlton Crescent Conservation Area Southampton House © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Carlton Crescent Conservation Area Southampton Terrace © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

A little piece of Brighton gone west; a miniature Regent’s Park flown south. On the cusp of the maritime city’s decline as a spa resort and its rise as a merchant port, riding the crest of this wave, businessman Edward Toomer (1764 to 1852) fortuitously bought land to the southwest of the verdant pearl that is Asylum Green. Even more fortuitously, his son Samuel (1801 to 1842) was an architect. This provincial John Nash was responsible for designing many of the houses on and around Carlton Crescent.

Carlton Crescent Conservation Area Southampton Balcony © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

The area has a unified appearance, thanks in no small part to being wilfully stuccoed to the nines (except for tile hung flank walls and returns), but was actually developed over two decades beginning in 1825. It is first mentioned in that same year in the Hampshire Chronicle, “Carlton Crescent has this season made its appearance and contains eight handsomely built residences; being detached, these will, when finished, form by far the handsomest line of houses in Southampton.” They still do.

Carlton Crescent Conservation Area Southampton © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

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Leadenhall Building + Heal’s Party London

The City and the Pilaster | Lessons in Love | Head over Heal’s

Cheesegrater Leadenhall Building Skyline © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

If it’s good enough for Richard Rogers’ new office (Level 14) it’s good enough for the Lavender’s Blue wine and cheesegrater party (Level 42). Hurrah! With its head in the clouds, its body sandwiched between Lloyds and the Heron, and its feet formed of escalators between wonky pilotis, the good Lord’s wedge of glass pierces the horizon like an upturned diamond heel. Time to enjoy the high life up the Leadenhall Building. Deep streets intertwine as fissures carved through the built form below. A turquoise tinged gold rimmed violet twilight consumes the sky all around. Later at Lavender’s Blue HQ, luxury caterer Purple Grape present vegetarian canapés to banish the blues forever:

Cheesegrater Leadenhall Building Front © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Cheesegrater Leadenhall Building © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Cheesegrater Leadenhall Building Side © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Cheesegrater Leadenhall Building Rear © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Cheesegrater Leadenhall Building Entrance © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Cheesegrater Leadenhall Building View © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley_edited-3

Cheesegrater Leadenhall Building Sunset © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

All served, obviously, on Lavender’s Blue and white plates. And a cheesegraterStrategic Planning Manager Colin Wilson at the GLA is a fan of height. In a Lavender’s Blue exclusive he says, “We need to get away from objectification – our obsession, the media’s obsession, with tall buildings. Objectification misses the point of the city. The drama of the city is about totality. Appreciate the city for what it is. There are clusters of tall buildings but our capital is predominantly low rise. London isn’t Dubai. Its history and future are very different. Tall buildings aren’t the major issue; housing is.” Quite so. As always, Lavender’s Blue are on a high: uptown, upmarket, upscale, up our own.

Cheesegrater Leadenhall Building Level 42 © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Continuing to kick the heels up, Heal’s, for the well heeled, is the shop that likes to party. On three levels, as it turned out. To mark the finale of London Design Festival, in ascending order of floor, Prosecco, Aspall and Cointreau bars were installed while DJs serenaded guests. There was no time to lounge on Ligne Roset sofas or gossip across Kirsty Whyte designed Pinner tables with wooden spoon carving, ceramic painting, Sipsmith gin mixing and a vodka beetroot salmon gravadlax demonstration by Cambridge Cookery School (fortunately the latter required no audience participation save for the devouring bit) as distractions. Makers and Merchants’ chilli chocolate luscious lips stashed in the goody bag meant nobody left unkissed, if not quite level headed. No time for the flowers of Lavender’s Blue to wilt as Astrid, London’s top hotelier, beckons in the direction of the single level Percy + Founders (the Fitzrovian restaurant with a chapel attached). Taking it to a whole new level, dinner awaits with the Park Lane ambassadress, the Green Park restaurateur and the Beverly Hills realtor – plus a certain Belgravia candle chandler who is a certain Gabhan O’Keeffe’s neighbour.

Purple Grape Catering Canapés © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley