Christmas Lunch at Reuters

Saturday 7 December 2002

Those of us who had attended the Christmas drinks party at Reuters in 1994, knew we were in for an architectural and gastronomic treat – which indeed we were.

No.85 Fleet Street, the Reuters and Press Association Building, was built by Lutyens in 1935 for his old friend Sir Roderick Jones, Chairman of Reuters, whose house in Hyde Park Gate Lutyens had altered in 1928. It is the last of Lutyens’s great city works. Hussey describes it as his most modern building, its exterior unmistakeably Lutyens and also a subtle exercise in geometry.

On arrival our party of 40 was whisked up to the seventh floor and immediately felt at home in the octagonal central hall, a typical grand Lutyens ante-room. There we were greeted by John Entwisle, the Reuters Group archivist and admirer of Lutyens, who, with Paul Waite, had organised our lunch; also Charles Lutyens who was acting as our chairman for the day. John Entwisle gave us a brief outline of the building’s history and took us on a tour of the Lutyens rooms: the Conference Chamber and the Chairman’s room with its marvellous view of St. Paul’s Cathedral; then up a floor to the room now used as the dining room, a rather low room formerly the staff canteen. We were given a particularly delicious lunch and conversation flowed.

Dr. lain Black gave us an interesting talk about Lutyens’s city buildings and Charles Lutyens wound up by thanking John Entwisle and Paul Waite for making the occasion such an enjoyable one. It was our third Christmas lunch and such a success that it seems set to become a yearly event.