In 1973 our first investigations relating to the career of Enoch Bassett Keeling (1837–86) were published as an illustrated paper in Architectural History; so this brief Postscript is intended to augment and correct the information previously noted. We ended our paper with a plea that Keeling’s work should be reassessed ‘before his last buildings vanish’, but, in spite of our modest suggestion, many more demolitions and alterations have taken place.
One of Goodhart-Rendel’s ‘Rogue Goths’, Keeling has not been treated with kindness by posterity. The late Mr Gordon Barnes referred to ‘poor old Bassett Keeling’, a valedictory remark from which it would be difficult to dissent, for not only were his buildings often panned during his lifetime, but they were savaged by later critics. The church of St Mark, Notting Hill (1862–63), for example, was denounced as an ‘atrocious specimen of coxcombry’ in Building News, and Pevsner perceived that work as endowed ‘with all the ham-fisted ugliness which [Keeling] commanded’. The façade, to Pevsner, was ‘madly asymmetrical’, and the interior employed a ‘wild use of multi-coloured brick’. Professor George L. Hersey has likened the arrival of Butterfield’s church of All Saints, Margaret Street, in a world ‘not greatly disturbed by Pugin’, to a ‘Congo chieftain’ bursting ‘into a performance of Les Sylphides’, but the simile perhaps is even more apposite in the case of St Mark’s, the barbaric uproar of which was more strident than anything Butterfield achieved. St Mark’s was demolished in the 1970s, a fate that has befallen many of Keeling’s creations, while other surviving fabric has been neglected or altered almost beyond recognition.