Esoteric London

No. 438: King William Street, EC4

Posted in Architectural, Sport by esotericlondon on November 2, 2011

Adelaide House, King William Street, London, EC4. Photo © Roger Dean 2011

The construction of Adelaide House, using the stone cladding over a steel frame method already widely used in New York and Chicago at the time, commenced in 1924 and was completed the following year. Standing 148 feet high it was the tallest block in London at the time and the design by architects, Sir John Burnet and Partners, included many Art-Deco touches together with Egyptian influences, the most obvious of which is in the huge cornice running along the top of the facade.

However, the building’s attractions were not all visible to the passerby. It was the first building in London to have vertically grouped toilets, air conditioning, an internal mail system and telephone and electric connections throughout all floors. Employees, as well as having a fine view of the Thames, could relax after work with a game of miniature golf on the landscaped roof.

The building is now Grade II Listed.

A short clip from a film by British Pathé showing the roof garden can be seen by clicking here. R.D.

One Response

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  1. Jo Hall said, on November 6, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Fab film Rog, so good to see that what we think of as a new thing, bees in the city, was there all along. And really interesting to see how the idea of hiding the steel structure was more important than flaunting it (ad nauseum!). Jo


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