Offsite meeting in the building at the English Embankment

Offsite meeting of the Music Hall Theatre employees took place on January 18, 2018 in the building of former Anglican Church at the English Embankment, 56. The building was placed under operative administration of the St. Petersburg State Music Hall Theatre to establish new open cultural site - Concert Hall at the English Embankment. At the moment emergency works are being carried out in the builduing. The representative of the Project Organization Research, Production and engineering Company "Northern Pyramid" LLC, art historian Elizaveta Alyoshina told about work flow and shared some interesting facts of history of the Sheremetev House.

Due to the emergency works temporary slab constructions were removed and beauty of the halls was revealed. The visit began at the grand staircase, which was decorated according to the design of architect G. Quarenghi. Ionics (elements of decorative ornament in the form of egg-shaped bulges) still can be seen along the perimeter of the ceiling. The delegation went upstairs the grand staircase and proceeded to the hall of the former Anglican Church library, also made upon Quarenghi project. Ceiling stucco décor is not preserved, but on the walls and ceiling elements of the ornament – ionics - can be seen. Two fireplaces were important part of the library hall furnishing, and one of them still decorates the hall. The archive of the Anglican Church was exported to England in the beginning of the XX century. A small part of this archive is stored in the Russian National Library. It is planned to recreate the historical architectural look of the library hall in the course of restoration works.

There was a chaplain's apartment on the ground floor. It is planned to organize office units for the theatre employees here.

The excursion continued in the basement of the building. Pre-revolutionary level of the floor, which is a meter below the existing, will be restored in the basement. After the war, piles of construction waste were laying in the streets. There were not waterproofing and concreting of floors at that time All post-war garbage was just dumped into cellars and cement screed was made. But as of today there is an order of the city government to bring cellars to historical condition. Restoration of the previous level will make rational use of basement possible.

During emergency works in cellars of XVIII century the secret Masonic Ritual Hall and a sculpture of a lion made of limestone were found. This sculpture was located at the front entrance to the basement from the English embankment. Historical documents show, that on the first watercolor sketch by Quarenghi common lions were depicted, and later engravings by his son picture fantasy sphinxes in nemes (Egiptian headcloth). Leo is an Imperial symbol of England, sphinx is a mythical creature, Gate keeper, Masonic symbol. The sculpture at the central entrance emphasizes that everyone who enters the building find themselves in the masonic sacral space. Elizaveta Alyoshina invited everyone to pat the lion to attract good luck.

Emergency works in the building of the former church are conducted for a month. The roof has been repaired, 60% of the foundation has been strengthened, dismantling works has been carried out, materials for construction works of emergency beams are delivered. The Music Hall Theatre plans to receive audience in the new concert hall in 2019.





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