London’s Red Lion Square

450px-FennerBrockwaystatue Red Lion Square is a small square on the boundary of Bloomsbury and Holborn in London. The square was laid out in 1684 by Nicholas Barbon, taking its name from the Red Lion Inn. According to some sources the bodies of three regicides – Oliver Cromwell, John Bradshaw and Henry Ireton – were placed in a pit on the site of the Square.
By 1720 it was a fashionable area: the eminent judge Bernard Hale was a resident.

The centre-piece of the garden today is a statue by Ian Walters of Fenner Brockway (a British anti-war activist), which was installed in 1986. There is also a memorial bust of Bertrand Russell. Ian Homer Walters (9 April 1930 – 6 August 2006) was an English sculptor. Born in Solihull, Walters was educated at Yardley Grammar school and under William Bloye at the Birmingham School of Art. After National Service in the Royal Army Medical Corps, he taught sculpture first at Stourbridge College of Art and then from 1957 to 1981 at Guildford School of Art.

A committed socialist from his schooldays, Walters took part in Josip Broz Tito’s public sculpture programmes in Yugoslavia in the early 1960s and worked with the African National Congress in the 1970s. His work includes the memorial to the International Brigades in Jubilee Gardens South Bank, London and a large head of Nelson Mandela (now outside the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London). He had finished the 9-foot-tall (2.7 m) clay sculpture for the statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square, but died of cancer before it was cast in bronze. He also sculpted a statue of Fenner Brockway in London, a statue of Harold Wilson in Huddersfield. A statue of Stephen Hawking at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology in Cambridge was his last public work. Conway Hall—which is the home of the South Place Ethical Society and the National Secular Society—opens on to the Square. On 15 June 1974 a meeting by the National Front in Conway Hall resulted in a protest by anti-fascist groups. The following disorder and police action left one student – Kevin Gately from the University of Warwick – dead.

Red Lion Square, today, is home to the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the College of Emergency Medicine. Lamb’s Conduit Street is nearby and the nearest underground station is Holborn.

The first headquarters of the Marshall, Faulkner & Co, which was founded by William Morris, was at 8 Red Lion Square.

About reginajeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and contemporary novels.
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