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William Dickes building at Farringdon Road
Dickes 109-111 Farringdon Road Clerkenwell EC1
Dickes advert from Peter Parleys Annual 1868

109 - 111 Farringdon Road as it appears today and as shown in an advertisement for William Dickes from Peter Parley's Annual 1868

William Dickes moved from his address at Old Fish Street to a new purpose built premises at 109 - 111 Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell, London circa 1864 – 65. By this time he was obviously running a profitable business as an artist, engraver and colour printer. He had taken a licence to use Baxter’s process around 1850 but then went on to invent his own process, perhaps a more simplified and commercially economic process.

It has recently been bought to my attention that the old building, still in existence, went through redeveloped circa 2012 and, although totally modernised for today’s modern business use, still retains many of the original features, not surprising as the building was Grade II listed in 1972 so very limited as to what they could do to the exterior.

Images of the Farringdon Road building can be found in Docker’s book ‘The Colour Prints of William Dickes 1924’ and is interesting to compare with a current exterior of the building, virtually unchanged.

For an in-depth description of the building I note the entry in the Historians File, English Heritage, London Division: 1990.

“Grade II listed building

Printing Warehouse. 1864-1865. By Henry Jarvis for William Dickes, chromolithographer. Red brick set in Flemish bond with painted stone dressings, extensive glazing; roof obscured by parapet. Fine Venetian Gothic Style. Five storeys; 6-window range (each with tripartite sashes) all in pointed form. Windows diminish in height as they go up. 2nd and 3rd storeys have 2-light windows with colonnettes. Tripartite sashes to top storey with pierced trefoil decoration to stucco recess above windows. Pierced parapet with Gothic style balustrade. Round-arches to ground-floor set beneath pointed archivolts; bays articulated by engaged columns. Entrance at left end bay with doors of Gothic design; entrance at right end has been replaced by window.”

In addition to that the latest planning application gave a little more detail in its heritage statement and said that “it was built by William Henshaw of City Road Basin in 1865 with carved ornamental detail by William Plows.”

William Dickes Colour Printer offices at Farringdon Road

A photograph of the building from Docker's 1924 book that most probably dates from that period

A new occupier of the building felt that some physical reference to its original use should be held there and a copy of Docker’s book can now be found on the premises.

Two interesting videos of the building that were made by the developers show the building in part and finished state.

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