Culture Magazine

A Tour of 55 Broadway

By Janeslondon
Earlier this week I joined a group of London Historians for a tour of the Grade I listed 55 Broadway, currently HQ of Transport For London. When it was opened in 1929 Charles Holden's impressive masterpiece was the tallest building in London. That's changed over the years of course; today it's surrounded by high rise glass. Such is progress.
The design of the building is impressive. The main foyer with its smooth Travertine marble walls and Art Deco features is accessible and visible from street level and St James's Park tube station. Undergound-related clocks, motifs and other devices are everywhere.
The upper levels continue with more of the some, but with acres of panelled wood and beautifully designed fittings.

A tour of 55 Broadway

Original Crittal windows, marble fireplaces, bubbled glass, deco ceiling patterns and door handles and marble hand washing basins at the end of the corridors

A tour of 55 Broadway

The internal stairs that lead up to the seventh floor roof top...

A tour of 55 Broadway

... which is mostly covered with a meadow....

A tour of 55 Broadway

... and great views across London.

It was interesting to note when up there that the noise from the streets was minimal yet a marching band in St James's' Park could be heard perfectly.
Onward and upward into the clock tower...

A tour of 55 Broadway

The main staircase goes all the way from street level to the base of the clock tower. Note how although the basic design is the same as the first one this one is slightly more embellished with more details on the verticals and handrails.

A tour of 55 Broadway

A smaller green utility staircase leads past the boiler house and up to the clock tower roof. What a view!!!

A tour of 55 Broadway

On each of the four sides there are comparative views showing how the architecture around the 55 Broadway has changed since the building was constructed. This is especially noticeable on the South and West facing sides where many important buildings are now obscured from view, in particular Westminster Cathedral which is now hidden by the glass monoliths of Victoria Street.

A tour of 55 Broadway

Looking down over the four terraced wings of the building. The one we visited is shown on the left.

A tour of 55 Broadway

Two lovely views – over St James's Park to the North, and Westminster, Waterloo and beyond.

LRT are moving out soon. The future of this building will mean multiple office spaces, apartments, more retail outlets inc a supermarket and probably a gym too.
There are still some tours available and it's sure to be one of the big attractions on Open House Day this year – go and see it for yourself before it's too late.

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