Around the corner from St Paul’s Cathedral is an office building with an astrological clock above the front door – and Winston Churchill’s face in the middle.
This is Bracken House, built for the Financial Times after it merged with the Financial News in 1945, and is named after Brendan Bracken, the Tory businessman who founded the modern Financial Times. The newspaper occupied the building until the 1980s, but moved back in 2019.
Apart from the building’s deliberate choice of pink sandstone to match the newspaper’s famous pink print, there’s also the astrological clock on the (former) front entrance, designed by Frank Dobson and Philip Bentham and made by the clockmaker, Thwaites & Reed in 1959.
Although it’s a clock, there are no hands, as the entire outer dial rotates with the current time read by the time appearing at the top of the clock inside a decorative frame. Likewise, the inner dial for the months and astrological symbols also rotates over the period of the year.
Sitting in the middle though is the face of Winston Churchill – and he’s here as he was a close friend of Brendan Bracken, who had been a long term supporter of Churchill’s.
Being an astrological clock, it arguably looks better at night, when backlit, but during the day, it’s much easier to see Churchill’s face, so take your pick as to which aspect of the clock most appeals to you.