Technical Study: Old Admiralty Building, London by BDP

BDP_5105_Old Admiralty Building

Source: BDP

After a £60m refurb, the top-secret former haunt of Churchill and Ian Fleming is back in Her Majesty’s Service, writes Elizabeth Hopkirk

Westminster’s grand Old Admiralty Building is the backdrop to many of the nation’s most important ceremonial events. Its turrets and handsome red brick and Portland stone facades face both The Mall and Horse Guards Parade, scene of Trooping the Colour and the Olympic beach volleyball in 2012. This summer, on the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, the actor Hugh Bonneville clambered through a window while vintage newsreel was beamed across the facade.

These 130-year-old walls, enclosing almost a hectare of prime land in a highly secure area of Whitehall, are all that most people will ever see. But it is within them that some of the most significant – and classified – events in the 20th-century history of the UK have taken place.

It was from here that Winston Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, waged a naval arms race against the German empire in the run-up to the First World War. It was also here, in 1917, that cryptographers cracked the Zimmermann Telegram, changing the course of that war.

This is premium content. 

Only logged in subscribers have access to it.

Login or SUBSCRIBE to view this story

Gated access promo

Existing subscriber? LOGIN

A subscription to Building Design will provide:

  • Unlimited architecture news from around the UK
  • Reviews of the latest buildings from all corners of the world
  • Full access to all our online archives
  • PLUS you will receive a digital copy of WA100 worth over £45.

Subscribe now for unlimited access.

Alternatively REGISTER for free access on selected stories and sign up for email alerts