Posts Tagged ‘harrods’

London — By Andrea Kirkby on February 18, 2010 at 2:31 pm
Filed under: featuredarticle, harrods, london shopping

Harrods – the secret entrance!

Like most people Ihave always known Harrods by its Knightsbridge frontage – the long windowed facade and the central dome which looks down imperiously on the busy road.

But Harrods has a secret entrance, too, with some outrageous and fascinating architecture.

I couldn't resist taking a snapshot of the secret water tower!

Just look at this – a huge tower of ornately carved reddish stone, topped by a secret water tank! To reach it, you go down Hans Road[map], to the west of the department store (that is, the other end from Knightsbridge tube station).

This really is architecture gone mad, a splurge of profuse carving and ornament. It’s a bit later than the rest of the store,dating from 1906-11. You can see, though, as you walk down Hans Road, how it links to the mansion apartment block that forms the corner of Knightsbirdge and Hans Road (and is part of the Harrods building) – the windows, the ornamental details, the stone are all the same.

I’m not sure where the architect got these ideas from. A lot of the ornament is Gothic or classical in inspiration, but the whole thing feels to me like an Indian temple – massive, every space filled with decoration, impressive and over-stuffed.

It’s a steel frame building, by the way – the stone and terracotta on the outside is just cladding. That’s what made it possible to build such a huge building for its date – this may look quaint, but it’s a triumph of building technology!

Guess where the other water tank is by the way? It’s actually hidden in the great dome on Knightsbridge – which is why you can’t see the dome from inside.

So if you’re heading to Harrods, make sure you wander down Hans Road to see this amazing sight. If not, I really think you’re missing one of the most amazing, over-the-top sights in London.

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