Now the UK headquarters of Nomura, the Japanese investment bank, the building was originally a cathedral to the business of the postage stamp. Formerly known as the North Range of the General Post Office Headquarters between St Martin’s le Grand and King Edward Street is one of the remaining buildings of the former G.P.O Headquarters the other being The King Edward Buildings now Merrill Lynch HQ across the street.
Sir Henry Tanner, architect and surveyor in the Office of Works, designed the new building to take full advantage of its island site, with frontages to three streets and to gardens to the north. Faced entirely in Portland stone, its most prominent features were the corner towers, now capped with mansard roofs. Built from 1889-9 it housed the General Post Office’s headquarters staff and meetings from 1895 to 1984.
The Nomura Group bought the site in 1986. The building was then rebuilt internally by the Fitzroy Robinson Partnership behind the original façades, which were retained and cleaned. The Italianate cliffs of Portland stone with banded rustication and flat pilasters above are characteristic of the Georgian approach to public building. Relief from the severity is provided by the more lyrical stone carving.
These photographs were commissioned by Thames & Hudson / View Pictures for an upcoming book on the architecture of the City of London
Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010