Edwin Lutyens’ Britannic House

See background of image above.

From the City of London’s Finsbury Circus Draft Character Summary and Management Strategy SPD – July 2015:

“…On the NW corner leading on into Moorgate, the Circus’s most outstanding building which is reflected in the Grade II* status, is Edwin Lutyens’ Britannic House. It was built for the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later B.P), 1921-5, with care and at great expense, and is comparable with the former Midland Bank, Poultry (also by Lutyens and built at a similar time). The low ratio of void to solid is particularly striking, with mostly small windows which are deeply set. There are six storeys below the top cornice, divided horizontally into two stages of three. The lower stage projects slightly towards Finsbury Circus. The rusticated ground floor, with a few accentuated first floor windows are flanked by recessed columns in a very typical way. Above, a storey behind a balustrade makes a plinth to a giant Corinthian order, with the cornice broken forward above each column and garlands between the capitals. The building has a plain attic and plain hipped Coniston-slated roof. There are carved figures by Derwent Wood, distributed about the various corner set-backs, and some fine lesser carvings by Broadbent & Son. The plainer south elevation is without the giant order. The Moorgate front (west side) is a straight, slightly over- extended version of that to Finsbury Circus. Britannic House has been modernised several times, and part of the original interior remains including the stair core, the ground floor, and the original board room which has been moved to the basement. On the Moorgate elevation there has been some opening up of the shop front in a sensitive way, which successfully preserves the original atmosphere of the building. The building won a City Heritage Award in 2009.”

From the Victorian Web:

“In his magisterial and massive history of architecture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Henry-Russell Hitchcock points out that “it fell to Lutyens’s lot to build some of the biggest business structures erected anywhere outside America” (404) in the first three decades of the twentieth century. “Lutyens’s most successful big business building is doubtless Britannic House of 1924-7. This profits from the site between Finsbury Circus and Moorgate Street, the curve of the circus giving to the eastern front a certain major Baroque drama that is echoed in the versatile play with seventeenth-eighteenth-century in the detailing” (408).”

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