Culture Magazine

Congress House, Dyott Street

By Janeslondon
Last week I paid £10 to go on a 'tour' of Congress House, the modernist building created on the corner of Great Russell Street and Dyott Street for the TUC.
I write 'tour' because it was really disappointing as we never went higher than the ground floor. And it was all done and dusted in less than an hour.
Congress House, Dyott Street
The 'tour' started with talk in the foyer of the new entrance on the corner which is now called The Rookery*. This talk turned out to consist of not much more than could be found neatly presented within frames on the wall by the stairs behind the front reception.
I have always wanted to have a peek in there – I really expected more.
I saw Jacob Epstein's piece from, ooh, 20 metres away because it is sited across a 'courtyard' that you can't actually enter let alone stand or sit in; basically, it's a huge lightwell.
We also saw the architect's scale model though I am sure you can see that if you stop off to chat to the front desk any time. The lower ground floor contains the auditorium which is, yawn, just that, an auditorium with a sprung wooden floor and a stage. I was more interested in the stacked chairs.
And I was also intrigued by the appalling bit of 'make good' using red and white tape at the top of the stairs. Nice!
*The Rookery! What a stupid name – ditto that hotel of the same name in Cowcross Street – oh do come and visit my filthy, over-crowded, germ-laden slum full of thieves, whores, drunks and destitutes!!

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