Sunday, 15 September 2013

Country Boy Goes to Town

Went to London on Friday for a conference in the Lloyd's Building. 

I'm always shocked by visits to The Smoke, despite having worked there for most of my commercial life until moving to the sticks some 10 years ago. The pace of change in relentless and hardly a visit goes by without some dramatic change to the skyline. 

One of my former offices is unrecognisable, and another seems to be destined for some major surgery.

This place used to be the site of The Baltic Exchange, where I first ventured into commercial life after leaving my shipping company. My MD at this place narrowly missed (by less than 30 minutes) the IRA bomb that destroyed it. On the destruction of that venerable building we relocated out to the Docklands, to the very office in which I'd worked before joining the company (it was owned by my shipping company).

Through this portico is St Helen's Place, a narrow cul-de-sac which is frequently used as a filming location for period dramas. I had an office on the 3rd floor on the right. Now some hideous Frankenbuilding seems to be under construction within its confines, unless it's just renovation (which seems more likely, as it's listed). 

It is the fate of all new buildings to be initially hated as an eyesore. I wonder how many of these new edifices will still be standing in 200 years time?  I dare say some will stand the test of time and become much-loved landmarks - a bit like the Lloyd's Building, which is generally accepted now as part of the architectural canon that is London Town.

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