There’s a very 1960s era hotel practically on the doorstep of St Paul’s Cathedral that was once an office block.

Built on land that was cleared following war damage, what was known as Colonial Mutual House was occupied by Australia based Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society. Through a long line of takeovers, the UK arm is now a deeply buried subsidiary of Aviva.

The construction was probably completed in 1964.

Today, it’s one of the area’s few unapologetically post-war buildings, and the bands of alternate glazing and abstractly carved Portland stone panels make for a strong contrast to the mainly vertical lines of the older buildings in the area.

What caught my eye, other than the overall appearance are the four bands of shallow abstract bronze patterned panels that front the building.

A 1999 planning document shows six to be preserved, but that may be an error, as a photo from 1969 shows just the four panels as they are today.

What I’ve been unable to find out is who designed the building, or who designed the bronze panels.

The office block was nearly demolished to be replaced by a modern office at the turn of the century, it was saved and converted into a Club Quarters hotel instead.

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3 comments
  1. Andrew says:

    I believe the panels are aluminium, and were made by Geoffrey Earle Wickham.

  2. Chris Rogers says:

    The building was by Trehearne & Norman, Preston & Partners, 1960-63 per Pevsner, whilst various online obits confirm Wickham as the sculptor of the panels (thanks Andrew).

    • ianVisits says:

      I’ve read a few sources citing Trehearne & Norman for the building – except they were dead when it was built.

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