“thoroughly unsubtle, but…hold[s] its own”

Louise Dransfield reported at egi.co.uk on 03/03/2020:

“The Conley family has secured planning approval from Westminster Council to revamp Shell Mex House, 80 Strand, WC2. The Grade II listed art deco property will have a new entrance pavilion added as well as a two-storey conservatory-style space for the inner courtyard. In addition, new roof terraces will be created and four floors of office space will be refurbished.

Designed by Duncan Mitchell Architects and PDP London, the revamp will reposition the 90-year old building to attract new occupiers. Cushman & Wakefield is marketing 160,000 sq ft across floors 1-4.”

From Wikipedia:

“Shell Mex House, also known as 80 Strand, is a grade II listed building located at number 80 Strand in London, England. The building was opened in 1932 on the site of the Hotel Cecil and stands behind the original facade of the hotel, between the Adelphi building and the Savoy Hotel. Broadly Art Deco in style, it was designed by Frances Milton Cashmore of the architectural firm of Messrs Joseph.

Standing 58 m (190 ft) tall, with 537,000 sq ft (49,900 m2) of floor space, Shell Mex House has 12 floors (plus basement and sub-basement) and is immediately recognizable from the River Thames and the South Bank by the clock positioned on the south side of the building. The clock is flanked by four large, hieratic marble figures at the south corners sculpted by William Charles Holland King. The clock, which was known for a time as “Big Benzene”, has the largest clock face in the UK, at 7.62 metres in diameter, just 0.02 metres more than the clocks on the Liver Building in Liverpool; it was supplied by Gillett & Johnston of Croydon…

Sarah Jane, at alondoninheritance.com
November 2, 2020 at 7:27 am
“My grandad Albert samuel macfadyen was the tool maker who supplied the workers to build the clock on the shell mex/ BP house in 1962”

…The building faces the river and the Strand. It was described by architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner as “thoroughly unsubtle, but…hold[s] its own in London’s river front.”

The building was for many years the London headquarters of Shell-Mex and BP, for which it was originally built. Shell-Mex and BP was a joint venture company created by Shell and British Petroleum in 1932, when they decided to merge their United Kingdom marketing operations. Upon the UK marketing separation of Shell and BP in 1976, Shell Mex House became the head office of Shell UK, which was Shell’s UK operating company. Changes in the way that Shell was run in the 1990s led to the disposal of the property by Shell. Today, simply known as 80 Strand, most of its floors are occupied by companies belonging to Pearson plc.


The entrance of the building, which is set back from the Strand, is through a large gated archway. A green plaque was affixed to the wall just inside the gate in March 2008, proclaiming: “The Royal Air Force was formed and had its first headquarters here in the former Hotel Cecil 1st April 1918”.

In the final scene of the 2016 feature film Assassin’s Creed, directed by Justin Kurzel, the hero Callum Lynch and two other surviving assassins stand astride Shell Mex House and survey London.”

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