Survey of London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1960.
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Pall Mall, South Side, Existing Buildings
No. 123 Pall Mall
No. 123 Pall Mall was built between 1880 and 1882 for the Life Association of Scotland. (fn. 1) The architect was Alexander Peebles, and the contractor was James Morter of Stratford, E. The carved friezes were the work of William Plows. The architect's drawing was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1881. (fn. 2) The building appears to have been designed for use as chambers and offices (fn. 3) with two shops fronting the street. (fn. 4) The ground floor is now occupied by the Mercantile Bank of India, for whom the front windows were altered to their present form in 1955–6. (fn. 5)
The stone-built front is a composition of three stages, divided into three bays—narrow between wide—and detailed in a florid Renaissance manner. The lowest stage, comprising the ground storey and mezzanine, is divided by rusticated pilasters, the central pair flanking the entrance, before which is a great pedimented porch with paired Doric columns. Greater emphasis is placed on the second stage, formed by the second and third storeys, where the order is Composite, with fluted three-quarter columns flanking the centre, and panelled pilasters at each end, their shafts and the entablature frieze being profusely decorated with carved arabesque ornament. The secondstorey windows have Composite tabernacleframes, with balustraded pedestals, plain-shafted columns, and triangular pediments. The squat pilasters of the attic stage have panelled shafts and crude Ionic capitals, and the entablature is surmounted by a balustrade.