Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Sign of the Seagull

The pub that used to be the Seagull is in Broad Street, Old Portsmouth, Hampshire. It was built for Jewell's brewery in 1900 and ceased to be a pub in 1970. An Estate Agents now occupies the premises. My own photos of the pub are intended to highlight the valuable photographic resource that is "RIBApix, a growing database dedicated to providing you with exceptional and unique images from the collections of the British Architectural Library at the Royal Institute of British Architects, the world’s most extensive visual archive devoted to architecture."

The black and white photograph from the RIBA collection shows the mosaic wall sign in 1952, taken by Reginald Hugo de Burgh Galwey, (1917-1971).

Click on my exterior photograph to see that the attractively decorative pair of "Jewell's Ales" lower-windows have since disappeared. Also to be noted is the distinctive modelled seagull under the corner turret. The RIBApix collection has a close-up, again taken in 1952 by Reginald Hugo de Burgh Galwey. Compare his image with my own (below). The half-timbered and turreted exterior design is characteristic of the Portsmouth pub architect Arthur Edward Cogswell (1858-1934) and the Portsmouth Pubs website notes that The Seagull "is of very similar external design to the Florist on Fratton Road ", also a Cogswell pub. Nonetheless, the Seagull is listed on excellent website of Portsmouth local historian, Stephen Pomeroy, as having been designed by local architect George Charles Vernon-Inkpen, with a date of 1904.

The following abbreviated information on this architect is taken from Pomeroy's website. "George Charles Vernon-Inkpen (1857-1926) was born at Bethnal Green, the son of a carpenter, and had a practice in London in 1879, but in 1881 he was lodging in Oving, probably because his practice from 1882 to 1890 was at The Cross, Chichester. In 1887 the practice of Inkpen and Stallard (Stallard is unknown and the only recorded work of the practice was in the Old Kent Road, London) appears in Southsea and Havant and in 1891 Inkpen was living in Southsea. In 1893-94 with a partner called Swinburne he had addresses in Midhurst and Bognor. Swinburne has also not been identified for sure, but Frank Swinburne (b. 1863), architect and surveyor of West Street, Emsworth, who was also surveyor to Warblington Urban District Council, seems a likely candidate. He was a Londoner by birth, but later lived with his parents in the town; in 1891 all three of them were supported by their own means".

"By 1895 Vernon-Inkpen (his use of the hyphenated form does not appear earlier) was alone at 6 Kings Road, Southsea and in that year his status was sufficient to be elected a Borough Councillor, which he remained in 1899. During this time he moved, for in 1898 he was living, still on his own, at 75 Kings Road, though in 1901 he was at Idsworth, near Petersfield. Between 1914 and 1926, when his business address was 40 Commercial Road, Southsea, he was also without a partner, yet a year after his death, there was a branch of Inkpen and Rogers (who must have been the last of his elusive partners, if only briefly) in South Street, Chichester. Inkpen designed schools, and domestic, commercial and industrial work, mostly in the Portsmouth area or Dorset. In 1898 he proudly announced his possession of a Special Diploma in Sanitary Sciences."