Do you wear a face mask?

I am very serious about wearing a face mask on public transport, in shops and all designated places but it’s good to keep your sense of humour. This life-size statue caught my eye the other day.

It is called Taxi and its by John Seward Johnson (1930-2020) whose grandfather co-founded the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company. He became a sculptor specialising in life-size painted statues of people doing everyday things, like this office worker hailing a cab. Johnson created a sculpture park in New Jersey called Grounds for Sculpture where his and other artist’s work can be seen.

The statue was commissioned by the Chemical Bank in 1983 and was unveiled outside its offices in New York. The bank merged with Chase Manhattan who in turn merged with JP Morgan. In 2014 the piazza and statue were unveiled at the end of refurbishment work to join two buildings, in front one from the 1880s and behind a 1980s block. The combined blocks are now the Europe, Middle East and Africa HQ of the JP Morgan Asset Management team.

This sideroad is John Carpenter Street and is named after a City administrator who bequeathed property to the City of London in 1442 to provide money for food, lodging and an education to four poor boys. This aid was supposed to continue in perpetuity but It seems that although some boys were educated, the income from the property bequeathed exceeded the amount spent. Eventually, in 1800s to comply with the spirit of the bequest the City founded the City of London School. The stone building on the right of the statue, designed by Davis & Emanuel, now JP Morgan, was the school from to 1883-1987. The school is now next to the Millennium Bridge.

On the left of the statue is a brick Tudor style building called Sion Hall. It was designed by Arthur Blomfield and built in 1886 to house the theological library of Sion College. The college began in 1630 as a sort of guild for the clergymen of City churches not a school type of college. The building was sold in 1996 and the library has been split up with books going to Lambeth Palace and Kings College London. The building has been modernised as offices.

STOP PRESS : STOP PRESS : STOP PRESS : Join me on a virtual tour, A Walk Around the Gherkin tour £8. For details and to book highlight the link then click the Go To Eventbrite option https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-walk-around-the-gherkin-tickets-116099269039 Or for a walking tour? Meet me at 10am on 26th September for my Hampstead Artists tour. Maximum group size 5 people, book as a group or individually £35 per person. Contact me for details and to book.

About the author: Gail Jones