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Charles Holden's London Underground HQ bumped up to Grade I listing

Charles Holden’s St James’s Park Underground Station and the London Underground Headquarters has had its listed status upgraded from Grade II to Grade I

The 1929 building at 55 Broadway, Westminster was once London’s tallest office building and features sculptures by Eric Gill and Henry Moore.

Listed at Grade II in 1970, the landmark was one of ‘Pevsner’s Fifty’ a list of fifty interwar buildings identified as worthy of official heritage protection by the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner. ’

Architecture minister John Penrose, who approved the upgrade, said: ‘When this building opened it would have represented the height of sophistication and a move towards the development of modernism. I wonder just how many of the thousands of commuters that pass through the station every day are aware of the fantastic features all around them. From 1920 platform finishes to platform benches and the original timber kiosk it remains one of the most unaltered Underground stations on the network.

Henry Moore's West Wind sculpture at 55 Broadway Charles Holden’s St James’s Park Underground Station and the London Underground Headquarters

Henry Moore’s West Wind sculpture at 55 Broadway Charles Holden’s St James’s Park Underground Station and the London Underground Headquarters

Penrose added: ‘The building is also a showcase of pre-Second World War British sculpture with all the major names of the period on show including Henry Moore’s first public commission and what may be his only work to show the human figure in motion.

‘Two sculptures of Night and Day by Jacob Epstein also provoked a fierce debate about whether artistic portrayals of nudity were permissible in a public space. English Heritage’s expert advice to upgrade the listing for this site is based on the building’s exceptional historic and architectural interest and I whole-heartedly agree with them.’

Hannah Parham, Heritage Protection Advisor for English Heritage (EH) said: ‘The daily commute can sometimes prove a dispiriting experience but the next time Londoners use St James’s Park station, I would encourage them to stop and pause. St James’s Park station and the London Underground Headquarters at 55 Broadway are truly jewels in London’s architectural and historic crown.  Combined, the buildings provide unequivocal grade l listed quality. 

‘Perhaps Charles Holden’s finest undertaking – it is complex yet subtle, avoids bulk, offers cutting-edge and provoking sculpture, and captures the spirit of architectural innovation. It is rightly celebrated with the recognition of grade I status and English Heritage is delighted the Minister agrees.’

See attached document for the full EH recommendations to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Jon Wright at The Twentieth Century Society said: ‘We are extremely pleased to hear about the upgrade for 55 Broadway, a key structure in the history of London’s famous transport network and one of the city’s finest twentieth century buildings – we hope that the recent strategic work done by English Heritage regarding the unique, world class heritage of the Tube will soon result in more listings for stations across the capital.’

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