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New York City has often been on the forefront of architectural  ingenuity. Concurrently, many of the City’s notable buildings were inspired by Old World  architecture. Presented below, the fourth part of our series provides a survey of New York City buildings and their British inspirations (Part I: France,  Part II: Italy, Part III Greece). The authorities differ on the authenticity of some of these claims, after comparing them let us know what you think.

1. Salisbury Cathedral/New York Life Insurance Building

Salisbury Cathedral, or the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was  completed  in 1258 and possesses the tallest spire in England. The  cathedral contains the best preserved copy of the Magna Carta and the world’s oldest working clock.

Salisbury Cathedral

The  cathedral served as the inspiration for the Cass Gilbert New York Life Insurance Building.

The New York Life Insurance Building is located on the site of the first two Madison Square Gardens

2. Magdalen Tower and Oxford Close/General Theological Seminary and  Church of the Ascension  

Magdalen Tower is located in Oxford and was completed in 1509. It is part of  Magdalen College which was founded in 1458.

Magdalen College’s courtyard

Magdalen Tower and the Oxford model campus, where a  quadrangle  is centered around a close, served as the inspiration for General Theological Seminary’s bell tower, and accompanying Chapel of the Good Shepherd, and its overall campus design.

Check out our tour of General Theological Seminary to learn more about it

The Richard Upjohn designed Church of the Ascension was also modeled after the Magdalen Tower.

At the Church of the  Ascension, President Tyler became the first president to wed in office

The tower of the Fourth Universalist Society was also  modeled after the one in Magdalen College.

3. Hotel Carlton/Plaza Hotel

The 1899 Hotel Carlton, in London, was run by Swiss hotelier César Ritz and demolished in 1957.

The Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel, which has served as a setting for in many  novels and films including  The Great Gatsby, was modeled after the Palm Court in the Hotel Carlton.

Source: Luxist

4. St. Martin in the Fields

St. Martin in the Fields is the eighteenth-century, James Gibbs designed, London church which abuts Trafalgar Square.

St. Martin’s served as a model for St. Paul’s Chapel, which is the the oldest surviving church building in Manhattan.

St. Paul's Chapel lower manhattan trinity george washington  The Church has memorialized George Washington’s  pew

5. Kew Gardens/New York Botanical Gardens

The Palm House, located at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, was  the first large-scale structural use of wrought iron.

Lord and Burnham designed the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Gardens based on the Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew and London’s Crystal Palace.


Stay tuned for further articles in the series Inspired by Europe.

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