I worked in Bristol for several years and frequently diverted my route across the city to see the Edward Everard building. Everard was a printer who bought the site, demolished the existing building and awarded architect Henry Williams the contract to construct a new one in 1900. It was a triumph.
The frontage has Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the press with movable type in Europe on the left, and William Morris the designer, poet, activist and Arts & Crafts polymath on the right. In the centre is a woman, a symbolic woman, rather than a real one. She’s the Spirit of Literature.
The gates show elaborate initials with beautiful capital ‘E’s surrounded by Oak and Mistletoe. It appears someone was inspired enough to kiss the copper initial:
The rest of the building? It’s just a facade. It was destroyed by NatWest bank and incorporated into their ugly and uninspired red brick conglomerate in the 1970s. The bastards. At the top of the gable is another figure, yet another symbolic woman, Light and Truth. She’s still there, but Light and Truth themselves have have been hollowed out and demolished and left as just a facade, an empty front to disguise the dark financial centre at its heart.