This edited article about Robert Adam originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 113 published on 14 March 1964.
There was chaos in the Strand. Thousands of people were jamming the Thames Embankment. All over central London the horse-drawn traffic was held up and thrown into confusion.
All the trouble was caused by sightseers flocking to see one of the greatest re-development schemes ever undertaken. The four Adam brothers, Robert, James, John and William, were rebuilding a whole section of central London.
The date was 1769, and even then London was suffering from that bursting-at-the-seams feeling that characterizes the city’s development today. That was why the Adam brothers, all famed architects, had produced their ¬£140,000 scheme for rebuilding a riverside area at the back of the Strand, one of London’s busiest and most crowded streets.
And what a plan! New buildings and roads were to be laid on top of a great platform supported by arches – and the site was to incorporate wharves and storage facilities for goods brought up the Thames by ship.
But the bold plan of the Adam brothers was dogged by ill-luck. First, to make it work, it was necessary to reclaim land from the Thames, but the Corporation of the City of London refused the brothers’ permission to drain part of the river.
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