The changing face of
HMSO’s London office buildings
by Reg Walker
Early in May 2005 I had occasion to stay overnight in London. With a couple of hours to kill, I was tucking into a pint of Young’s Special in The Prince William Henry, Blackfriars Road, when it occurred to me that Pocock Street was just around the corner. I wondered what had happened to St Stephen’s Parliamentary Press, and soon found out. It has been completely redesigned as Blackfriars County Court.
This put me on the trail of other buildings in which I had spent some time. A walk around the back of theWellington pub in Waterloo, down Cornwall Road, found that the man who had for years repaired vintage Citroen cars from a house at the corner of Brad Street had gone and the White Hart was heaving with what might be called Yuppies. A bit further along and a look in the window of what was once the Reveille canteen revealed the worrying site of sweaty bodies heaving up and down on weights, static cycles etc. It has been turned into the King’s College London Students’ Union, to serve the UCL College opposite — some of us may remember it better as Cornwall House. And the old hospital on the corner is now the Schiller International University.
The Mulberry Bush, a Young’s pub on Upper Ground, is now surrounded by the Coin Street housing development, and opposite the ITV offices. Further down Stamford Street, at what was the Sainsbury’s end, is a Fuller’s Hotel and Pub, The Mad Hatter. A previous visit to the Borough area revealed that Britannia House, Trinity Street, has been modernised and now serves as a branch of Arrow Therapeutics.
Over the bridge, Oddbins is still under the arches on Farringdon Road. The old entrance to Atlantic House opposite is now Vivat Bacchus wine bar. At Hart’s Corner, corner of Charterhouse Street, there is Simply Sausages and a café. Diagonally opposite, on the corner of Charterhouse and a seriously revamped Saffron Hill, the Victoria has been pulled down and replaced by DTC Diamond Corporation. I wonder where Harrison Marks and his Kamera are now? Atlantic House itself has been completely rebuilt, although it retains its name, and is inhabited by a firm of lawyers — Levells. The old Daily Mirror building is Sainsbury’s Business Centre; Gamages is a rebuilt office block; Holborn Bookshop is Starbucks . . . but Leather Lane survives. Trust the barrow boys to come through smiling.