But it’s also home to some less well known architectural gems, the best of which are here…
London Architecture: Hidden Gems
Table of Contents
1. Abbey Mills Pumping Station, Stratford
It seems a bit strange to start this series with what is in effect a sewage farm, but this delightful pumping station is a hidden gem of Victorian architecture.
2. Somerset House
Just off the Strand in central London is the imposing Somerset House. Formerly home to several Government Departments, it now hosts several arts and other bodies, including the world-famous Courthald Gallery.
3. Imperial War Museum
The Imperial War Museum was originally set up to commemorate the First World War and the British Empire soldiers’ exploits. The building was originally a hospital but was rebuilt in the early 1800s with its imposing cannons.
The museum’s mission has recently been amended to “provide for, and to encourage, the study and understanding of the history of modern war and ‘wartime experience.”.
4. Battersea Power Station
This disused power station was built during the art deco boom of the 1930s. It has lain unused for the past 30 years but is now getting a new lease of life with a major redevelopment of apartments and shops.
5. Banqueting House, Whitehall
The only remaining part of Henry VIII’s Whitehall Palace was one of the first buildings of the neo-classical style in England.
The ceremonial and administrative centre of the City of London and its Corporation, construction began on this ancient building in 1411.
7. BBC Broadcasting House
Home to one of the UK’s great institutions, the BBC, Broadcasting House was built in the art deco style in the 1930s.
One of London’s many world-famous department stores, Liberty’s distinctive store was built at the height of the 1920s fashion for Tudor revival.
9. St Pancras Station
George Gilbert Scott’s gothic masterpiece is actually a hotel built above the main St Pancras railway station in the late 1800s. It recently reopened as a hotel: the St Pancras Renaissance
10. Soho Square Cottage
This Tudor style small cottage is actually a twentieth century cover for an electric substation. Nocewr than the usual concrete block anyway…
11. Royal Albert Hall
Named after Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, the Royal Albert Hall is one of the UK’s premier concert venues, including the famous annual Proms series.
12. Greenwich Naval College
Built by Sir Christopher Wren, this Greenwich building operated as the Royal Navy’s key training college for much of its life until 1998. It’s now a great place to visit and sample some of Britain’s fine naval history.
13. Tate Modern
Like Battersea Power Station above, Tate Modern was once a power station but now turned into one of the world’s great modern art galleries.
14. Admiralty Arch
This imposing entry to the Mall – linking Trafalgar Square with Buckingham Palace – this was once the home of the First Sea Lord.
15. Bank Of England
Home to the UK’s central bank since 1734, the Bank Of England headquarters were originally built by Sir John Sloane (later, and controversially, redeveloped in the 1920s).
16. Lloyds Of London Building
The only modern style building to make this list, the Lloyds building with its ‘inside-out’ design, is not everyone’s cup of tea. But we like it…