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The site of Adelaide House is inextricably linked to London Bridge which has moved further westward since the first bridge was built by the Romans in the 1 st Century AD. The first Adelaide House, adjacent to the bridge, lasted through most of the nineteenth century and beyond the First World War.

Even during the lifetime of the present Adelaide House there have been two London Bridges, one open in 1831 and one in 1973. The 1831 bridge was sold to the McCulloch Oil Corporation and rebuilt at Lake Havasu City in Arizona. Substantial parts of the 1831 bridge abutments remain however, which can be seen adjacent to the Adelaide House access to the Thames. Click to see full size
Click to see full size

When Adelaide House was built in 1925, the office building was ground-breaking. At 148 feet high it was the tallest block in London at the time and the first to be constructed using the steel frame technique already much used in New York and Chicago . The design included many Art-Deco touches on the facade, which was otherwise modelled on a typical American hi-rise office block of the period.

However, Adelaide House was also one of the first commercial buildings in London to break away from the precedent of classical design. Architects, Sir John Burnet & Partners, instead used Egyptian influences in the final design, which is most noticeable in the huge cornice that runs along the top of the building. The forms other Partner, Thomas Tait, played a key role in the evolution of the final design. Click to see full size
Click to see full size Adelaide House was the first building to have vertically grouped toilets, central ventilation, an internal mail system and telephone/electric connections throughout all the floors. Employees as well as having a fine view over London Bridge and the Thames could also relax after work with a game of miniature golf on the huge flat landscaped roof.
Although the building has changed in details over the years, it has always been maintained in pristine condition by its owners, with its imposing Portland stone façade being regularly cleaned. It is presently being given a full refurbishment by its present occupiers, the law firm, Berwin Leighton Paisner. Click to see full size
For more information on BLP and Adelaide House, visit their website.

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