Among examples of architecture wholly, or almost wholly, executed in red brick, I cannot pass over a building built many years ago, little known on account of its obscure situation, but a gem in its way. I allude to the schools designed by Mr. Wilde, and built in Castle street, Endell street.
Of buildings where a small amount of stone is introduced into brickwork we have a good many fine specimens in London. One of the best--probably the best--is the library in Lincoln's Inn Fields. This is a large and picturesque pile, built under Mr. Hardwick, as architect, in red brick, with patterns in the blank parts of the walls done in black brick. It has splendid moulded brick chimneys, and the mullions of the windows, the copings, the entrances, and some other architectural features done in stone. The building is a good reproduction of the style of building in Tudor times, when, as has been already mentioned, brickwork was taken into favor.
Another building of the same class, but not so good, is the older part of the Consumption Hospital, at Brompton. Brickwork, with a little stone, has been very successfully employed as the material for churches, and in many such cases the interior is of unplastered brickwork. Such churches often attain, when designed by skillful hands, great dignity and breadth of effect. St. Albans, Holborn; the great church designed by Mr. Butterfield, in Margaret street; Mr. Street's church near Vincent square, Westminster; and several churches of Mr. Brooks', such as he was kind enough to enable me to illustrate tonight, may be mentioned as examples of the sort. Mr. Waterhouse has built an elaborate Congregational church at Hampstead, which shows the use with which such effects of color may be obtained in interiors, and has kindly lent some drawings. Mr. Pearson's church at Kilburn may also be referred to as a fine example of brick vaulting. Brick and terra cotta seem to have a natural affinity for one another. Terra cotta is no more than a refined brick, made of the same sort of material, only in every respect more carefully, and kiln baked.
Its similarity to brick is such that there is no sense of incongruity if moulded or carved brickwork and terra cotta are both employed in the same building, and this can hardly be said to be the case if the attempt is made to combine ornamental brickwork and stone ornaments.
At South Kensington, a whole group of examples of brickwork with terra cotta meet us. The Natural History Museum, the finest of them all, is hardly fit for our present purpose, as it is as completely encased in terra cotta as the fronts of the buildings in this avenue are in stone. But here are the Albert Hall, a fine specimen of mass and effect; the City and Guilds Institute; the College of Music, and some private houses and blocks of flats, all in red brick with terra cotta, and all showing the happy manner in which the two materials can be blended. In most of them there is a contrast of color; but Mr. Waterhouse, in the Technical Institute, has employed red terra cotta with red bricks, as he also has done in his fine St. Paul's School at Hammersmith, and Mr. Norman Shaw has, in his fine pile of buildings in St. James' street. This combination--namely, brick and terra cotta--I look upon as the best for withstanding the London climate, and for making full use of the capabilities of brickwork that can be employed, and I have no doubt that in the future it will be frequently resorted to. Some of those examples also show the introduction of cast ornaments, and others the employment of carving as means of enriching the surface of brick walls with excellent effect.
Here we must leave the subject; but in closing, I cannot forbear pointing to the art of the bricklayer as a fine example of what may be accomplished by steady perseverance. Every brick in the miles of viaducts or tunnels, houses, or public buildings, to which we have made allusion, was laid separately, and it is only steady perseverance, brick after brick, on the part of the bricklayer, which could have raised these great masses of work. Let me add that no one brick out of the many laid is of no importance. Some time ago a great fire occurred in a public asylum, and about £2,000 of damage was done, and the lives of many of the inmates endangered. When the origin of this fire came to be traced out, it was found that it was due to one brick being left out in a flue. A penny would be a high estimate of the cost of that brick and of the expense of laying it, yet through the neglect of that pennyworth, £2,000 damage was done, and risk of human life was run. I think there is a moral in this story which each of us can make out if he will.
A fireproof whitewash can be readily made by adding one part silicate of soda (or potash) to every five parts of whitewash. The addition of a solution of alum to whitewash is recommended as a means to prevent the rubbing off of the wash. A coating of a good glue size made by dissolving half a pound of glue in a gallon of water is employed when the wall is to be papered.