City landmark makes way for '1930s wireless'

AFTER 35 years of controversy, three public inquiries and even the intervention of the House of Lords, the landmark Mappin & Webb building in the City of London is to be demolished in the next few weeks, to make way for what the Prince of Wales once described as a '1930s wireless'.

Demolition of the Grade II listed decorative building and its replacement with a Post- Modern design follow a battle spanning five decades and two generations. Lord Palumbo, the former chairman of the Arts Council, took over the plans for the site at No 1 Poultry from his father, and the final design for the site was the work of the late Sir James Stirling.

Last week, the project manager, Alstadt Bau, announced that demolition of the Mappin & Webb building will start in late May. Construction of the Stirling building should be completed in 1996.

The battle for No 1 Poultry began in 1958, when Lord Palumbo's late father, Rudolph, bought the first freehold of the site. He spent the next 25 years acquiring 12 other freeholds and 345 leaseholds to form a wedge-shaped site for redevelopment. It was Lord Palumbo himself who commissioned the German-born Modernist Mies van der Rohe to design a skyscraper for the site. It, too, incurred the Prince of Wales's wrath - he described it as 'a glass stump more suited to downtown Chicago'.

At first it seemed that Palumbo would nevertheless get it built, for in 1969 the City Corporation gave conditional approval. However, after a protracted battle it was turned down at a public inquiry 15 years later. Palumbo, determined not to give up, then relinquished that design and commissioned Sir James Stirling, who is best known for the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart.

A second public inquiry followed in 1988, and consent was given to demolish eight listed buildings. Then followed a lengthy High Court battle with conservationists, ending three years ago when the House of Lords finally approved Palumbo's plans. After one more public inquiry, on the closure of a narrow road on the site, only the fine details remain to be worked out - including the future of four outstanding mid- Victorian terracotta panels depicting the Lord Mayor's Show procession.

The planning permission given for the Stirling building included a condition that the panels should be preserved. They are to be removed and refurbished and will be relocated over the public walkway through the building. The interiors of two pubs - The Shades and The Green Man - may also be re-used.

An excavation of the site and a search for human remains will be carried out because the buildings stand on the site of the old Church of St Benet Sherehog. (Photographs omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Full Stack Developer (.NET 4.0, ASP.NET, MVC, Ajax, WCF,SQL)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Full Stack ...

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pillar 1, 2 & 3) Insurance

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pilla...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn