Visit to Midland Bank, Poultry and Britannic House, Finsbury Circus

Saturday 16 September 2006

In 1924, in conjunction with the firm of Gotch and Saunders, Lutyens designed a ‘Palace of Finance’ at Midland Bank’s Head Office in Poultry. During our visit we saw the banking hall, with its green verdite marble casings for the columns and pilasters and visited the safe deposit area via the marble staircase. We also toured the fourth floor management areas and the fifth floor, with its double height Board Room and directors’ reception area and dining room. Throughout our visit there was a wealth of detail to see including chairs, clocks, door handles and the cabinets for the directors’ top hats. Our guides, all members of HSBC staff were most helpful and even made sure that we had an opportunity to photograph the spectacular spiral staircase running the height of the building.

Following a short walk we managed an impromptu visit to Britannic House, Finsbury Circus designed in 1920 as the headquarters of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (now BP plc). This is another outstanding Lutyens corporate building and we were able to see the ground floor and the magnificent marble staircase.

Our thanks to Gavin Chappell for organising two truly outstanding visits.

Andrew Barnett