The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
The Court of Commissioners of Bankrupts.
This building occupies the site of the principal part of the eastern front of Blackwell hall; it is a large substantial building of brick, but without much pretensions to architectural effect. It is built upon a granite plinth, in which are low windows lighting the rooms on the basement. The superstructure is stuccoed in imitation of rustic, to the height of the story. The front in shows a centre and lateral divisions. In the former are arched windows and an entrance; and in the latter other arched windows of larger dimensions, partitioned by uprights into divisions in the story. The story has a series of arches in relief; the intervals being formed into windows in the centre, and Venetian windows in the lateral divisions. Above them are a series of small windows lighting the domestic apartments. The south front has windows on the ground floor of the same character as those in the lateral divisions of the front described. The upper story has a series of Venetian windows, alternating with blank arches in relief, and smaller windows above, as in the other front. The western elevation of the building, which is separated by a small court from the law courts, is a counterpart of the front in just described. The north front is built against by the houses in the street. In the centre of the building is an oblong square court; the east and west sides consisting of a piazza of semicircular arches, sustained upon square pillars of granite; above which is a gallery to correspond. The north and south sides have each arches sustained on pilasters, to correspond with the piazza and gallery; but the arches are filled in with windows. A continued architrave and cornice surrounds the building above the crown of the gallery story; over which is an attic with windows as before. The ground floor is occupied by various courts for the accommodation of the commissioners, except the northern wing, which is wholly occupied by a hall and staircase to the story. On the landing of the latter is an arch in blank; in the head is the royal arms, above which is inscribed
and a long pannel below has the following inscription:--
The upper part of the walls is ornamented with a series of arches in relief, corresponding with the portions already described, and the roof is flat and pannelled. The floor is portioned into other courts and rooms for private meetings; the floor is occupied for domestic purposes. The courts are neatly fitted up; at end is an enclosure containing a platform, on which the commissioners are seated, with an elliptical table before them, at which the solicitors to the various commissions sit, to conduct matters in which they are concerned. To those who recollect the crowded and inconvenient places, in which the commissioners formerly sat, and the indecorous intermixture of spectators, solicitors, and commissioners, the latter only distinguished from the surrounding crowd by their heads being covered, the present arrangement will be acknowledged to be of the greatest improvements in the metropolis.
The only buildings in this ward, exclusive of those just mentioned, are the following:--