Keystone   

ICI - 4 - McGowan

Imperial Chemical House - 9 portrait keystones ICI - 4 - McGowan
Inscription

Harry McGowan

Site: Imperial Chemical House - 9 portrait keystones (10 memorials)

SW1, Millbank, 9, Imperial Chemical House

For an idea of what this area used to be like see this 1894ish map. It was all redeveloped following the 1928 flood. This block was designed by Sir Frank Baines and built in 1929-31 as HQ for Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd (ICI). Aka 'Nobel House' it is now, 2016, occupied by Ofgem, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets. The frontage boasts 9 portrait keystones of chemists and ICI directors: Cavendish is on the Horseferry Road frontage, Mendeleeff on the junction corner, the other 7 are on the river side, left to right: Lavoisier, McGowan, Nobel, Alfred Mond (ICI), Ludwig Mond, Priestley, Liebig. Each 5th floor keystone decorates an integrated window arrangement with the identifying name on the 4th floor balcony. In his book on London statues Osbert Sitwell reports a journalist  writing that these "masks" are "four times life-size" but he also writes that they are "seven storeys above the ground" so we have to allow for some exaggeration.

On the 5th floor are four magnificent statues by Charles Sergeant Jagger. See A London Inheritance for photos. As well as these keystones Fagan did most of the other sculpture on the building, including the massive bronze entrance doors.

2017: We watched the 1947 film "Mine Own Executioner" which uses a few London locations. We recognised that of the last scene - a suicide at the top of a building - and thought it might be this one. But it's actually the MI5 building immediately to the south of Lambeth Bridge, Thames House, which was built by ICI at the same time as IC House and not used by MI5 until 1994.

There are two more portrait keystones on Nobel House, behind this building.

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
ICI - 4 - McGowan

Subjects commemorated Information

Harry McGowan

Born Glasgow. Aged 15 he joined Nobel's Explosives Company and worked his way...

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This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
ICI - 4 - McGowan

Created by Information

William Bateman Fagan

Born Bermondsey. Andrew Behan's researches have found that when he was baptis...

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This section lists the other memorials at the same location as the memorial on this page:
ICI - 4 - McGowan

Also at this site Information

Faraday on the ICI building entrance doors

These doors are in the centre of the river frontage of the building. Mapping...

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ICI - 5 - Nobel

Alfred Nobel

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Nearby Memorials

Henry Raikes keystone

Henry Raikes keystone

EC1, St Martin's le Grand, Nomura House

Raikes was the Postmaster General who commissioned this building for the General Post Office. This portrait keystone was brought to our a...

1 subject commemorated
Carpenters' Hall - Inigo Jones

Carpenters' Hall - Inigo Jones

EC2, London Wall, 1 Throgmorton Avenue

This memorial used to be in Puzzle Corner until walking guide Ian Swankie pointed out the unarguable resemblance to Inigo Jones. 

1 subject commemorated
Nobel House - Berthelot

Nobel House - Berthelot

SW1, Smith Square, 17, Nobel House

Nobel House is in the south-east of this square, mainly facing north but with a short west-facing facade. The portrait keystones are both...

1 subject commemorated, 1 creator
Grimaldi keystone

Grimaldi keystone

N1, Pentonville Road, Grimaldi Park House

Grimaldi's grave is just around the corner, in the churchyard.

1 subject commemorated
Carpenters' Hall - Vanbrugh

Carpenters' Hall - Vanbrugh

EC2, London Wall, 1 Throgmorton Avenue

The building projects over the pavement with an arched colonnade for pedestrians. On the keystone of each arch, at the ends and along the...

1 subject commemorated