Unbuilt London - Archive Articles

Unbuilt London: The embankment railway

Imagine a railway, working without steam, running on tall columns along the banks of the Thames — for that was a scheme created to link Blackfriars with Charing Cross in the 1840s.

Unbuilt London: The fake Venice next to Tower Bridge

Rather than full of glassy offices and a testicle, the south bank of the Thames by Tower Bridge should be a neo-Venetian folly.

Unbuilt London: A Bronze Slab Next to Parliament

In the early 1970s, plans were announced to demolish a cluster of old buildings opposite Big Ben and replace them with a vast monolith covered in bronzed glass.

Unbuilt London: The Georgian Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament, that impressive confection of gothic architecture should look a lot plainer — in fact it should be Georgian in style — had plans to erect a new building in the 1730s been carried out.

Unbuilt London: The Oxford Street flyover

Thirty years ago, a plan was shown off to replace the main road running along Oxford Street with a giant flyover.

Unbuilt London: Imperial Monumental Halls

Westminster Abbey is getting a bit crowded someone once thought, with all these monuments to dead people cluttering up the place. What’s needed is a great big extension, and a massive tower.

Unbuilt London: The Millennium Tower

A tower taller and wider than the Shard was once planned to stand in the heart of the City of London. Penned by Sir Norman Foster, the Millennium Tower would have stood more than 380 metres high and looked down on The Shard across the river.

Unbuilt London: The 500 foot high Skyport One heliport

In the early days of the motorcar, architects were already looking to what would replace it as the popular transport of the upper classes, and obviously, private helicopters were to be the transport of choice.

Unbuilt London: A balloon barrage surrounding the city

In 1938, as ideas were being made for the defence of London, plans were shown off to surround London with a massive “aerial mine-field” made from over a thousand deadly balloons.

Unbuilt London: A giant pyramid for Hyde Park

Compared to the great monuments of ancient lands, there are few if any buildings in London which can withstand the ravages of the millennia, and it’s time to build a mighty monument so that future generations can remember the grandeur that is the capital of a mighty empire.

Unbuilt London: Trafalgar Square as a Multi-Storey Car Park

Trafalgar Square’s a big empty space isn’t it? Surrounded by roads full of cars looking for somewhere to park. What a waste of space it is. Let’s turn it into a car park!

Unbuilt London: A cable car across the Thames

There were once plans to build a cable car that would link the Millennium Dome with the DLR on the north side of the river. Obviously, no such cable car was ever built.

Unbuilt London: Turn St James’ Park into a giant roundabout

In the early 1890s, a Scottish architect published a grand scheme to rebuild central London. Away with tired old narrow streets and hello to Parisian boulevards. Goodbye to St James’ Park and hello to a massive road network and roundabout.

Unbuilt London: High Paddington

Today, the land behind Paddington station is an array of glossy office blocks. But they shouldn’t be there. It’s supposed to be a 1960s array of housing towers.

Unbuilt London: The Thames Airport

No not that one, the other one. No, not that one either, the other one. Yes, this one — the giant airport right in the centre of London on the Thames, next to Parliament.

Unbuilt London: The 1960s Fun Palace

In an age where people were thinking the future of mankind was more leisure and less work, thoughts turned to how such pleasure was to be enjoyed.

Unbuilt London: A 500 Foot Tall Monument to the Battle of Britain

A massive pyramid, topped with a pillar, and then some more — not the Post Office Tower, but a monument to the Battle of Britain.

Unbuilt London: Straightening the River Thames

The River Thames is a rather curvy beast, especially around the Isle of Dogs, but had a plan in 1796 been carried out, it would be considerably straighter.