JOHN NASH’S contributions to the face of London is immense. Every part of the city was touched by the hand of Nash’s neo-classical style so admired by the Prince Regent, later George IV. In my mind, I have been organizing a visit to London built around the theme: IN SEARCH OF JOHN NASH. Such a search would lead me to almost every part of London and further afield, even to Brighton on the south coast of England. There would be several WALKS, CANAL RIDES, VISITS TO THE THEATRE, train rides, and even a TOUR of such buildings as Buckingham Palace.
Let’s talk about John Nash for a moment. Nash’s work attracted the Prince Regent’s attention in 1811 who commissioned the architect to develop an area then known as Marleybone Park. With the Prince’s backing, he developed a master plan for the area which stretched from St. James’s northward and included Regent Street, Regent’s Park and its neighboring streets, terraces, and crescents of elegant town houses and villas.
Nash took on the task of remodeling the Prince’s Ocean Pavilion at Brighton on the south coast, originally designed by Henry Holland. By the early 19th century, the Ocean Pavilion was transformed into the Brighton Pavilion which still stands today as a tribute of his work and the Prince Regent’s exotic taste.
Nash was also a director of the Regent’s Canal Company set up in 1812 to provide a canal link from west London to the Thames in east London. Today, this canal along with the surrounding buildings is one of the most scenic neighborhoods of central London.
Nash remodeled Buckingham House into Buckingham Palace, designed the Royal Mews, Marble Arch (once stood in front of Buckingham Palace), Trafalgar Square after the Royal Mews was moved to Buckingham Palace, Haymarket Theatre, Carlton House Terrace, and Cumberland Terrace. He also designed his home called East Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight which unfortunately was torn down after heavy use during World War II–it was strategically located on the Isle of Wight guarding Portsmouth Harbor.
Let me post some images of Nash’s architecture for those who might be interested in a trip to London in search of John Nash and his supreme architecture of the Regency Period.
2. CLARENCE HOUSE -The residence of Prince Charles and his family
3. MARBLE ARCH – Formerly the arch in front of Buckingham Palace, moved when the four wing was added to the Palace by Queen Victoria
4. CARLTON HOUSE TERRACE – Formerly the Prince Regent’s Carlton House was located here but torn down when Buckingham Palace was to be his residence.
5. THEATER ROYAL HAYMARKET
6. THE WEST FACADE OF BUCKINGHAM PALACE
7. NASH’S CONSERVATORY AT KEW GARDENS
8. THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE ARCADE
9. THE REGENT’S CANAL
George IV and his architect NASH had almost transformed London into one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Nash’s master plans were so amazing and EXPENSIVE that his contemporaries were overwhelmed by the city’s transformation and the costs of the King’s enterprises. But for us today, Nash’s designs and creations are some of the most magnificent destinations in the city.
A visit to London to FIND NASH would be an exciting project. It would tie together some of the most beautiful architecture and give unity to a city that has grown far beyond the master plan of this amazing architect. Parliament learned early on that such splendid transformations in a bustling capital like London do not come cheaply; after the death of King George IV, Nash was let go from many of his projects like Buckingham Palace to be finished by architects and artists with less talent and less understanding of Nash’s GRAND DESIGNS.
FABULOUS, for sure!
Thomas Moore email: TMooreSr@me.com Telephone: 801.791.9918