(click image to enlarge)
Study for the etching 'The Adelphi Arches, Lower Robert St, London' c1936. Catalogue raisonné no 45.
The Adelphi buildings were built in the 1770s by the Adam brothers, Robert, James, John and William. Twenty four grand terraced houses were built over vast brick arches and a labyrinthe of underground streets and vaults, used to store goods for Thames shipment. Coal was stored there was taken by horse and cart to the West End. During the 19th century, the area fell into decline and the vaults became home to the poor and destitute. Many of the buildings and vaults were demolished but one remains well hidden at Lower Robert Street and which is still used by cabbies taking short cuts.
Adelphi is the Greek word for 'brothers’ and the Adam brothers gave their names to the streets which are still there today, John Adam Street and Lower Robert Street.