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Bush House

Bush House

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Bush House is a building between Aldwych
Aldwych
Aldwych is a place and road in the City of Westminster in London, England.-Description:Aldwych, the road, is a crescent, connected to the Strand at both ends. At its centre, it meets the Kingsway...

 and The Strand
Strand, London
Strand is a street in the City of Westminster, London, England. The street is just over three-quarters of a mile long. It currently starts at Trafalgar Square and runs east to join Fleet Street at Temple Bar, which marks the boundary of the City of London at this point, though its historical length...

 in London at the southern end of Kingsway
Kingsway (London)
Kingsway is a major road in central London in the United Kingdom, designated as part of the A4200. It runs from High Holborn, at its north end in the London Borough of Camden, and meets Aldwych in the south in the City of Westminster at Bush House. It was built in the 1900s...

. The BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 World Service
BBC World Service
The BBC World Service is the world's largest international broadcaster, broadcasting in 27 languages to many parts of the world via analogue and digital shortwave, internet streaming and podcasting, satellite, FM and MW relays...

 occupies the Centre Block, North East and South East wings. The North West wing was formerly occupied by BBC Online until they relocated to BBC Media Village
BBC Media Village
The BBC Media Village was opened in 2004 and is the second phase of development at BBC White City. It was built on the same site as the 1908 Summer Olympics and parts of the swimming pool were discovered when the foundations were laid.-Buildings:...

 in 2005, with some studio and office space being retained by the World Service until 2008. The wing is now serviced office space, with the majority occupied by Dundas & Wilson
Dundas & Wilson
Dundas & Wilson LLP is a leading commercial UK law firm with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. The firm is based in Scotland, but like other large Scottish law firms, it now has an established practice in London, which earns 39% of its total revenues...

. The South West wing is occupied by HM Revenue & Customs.

Sections of the building were completed and opened over a period of 13 years:
  • 1923 - Centre Block
  • 1928 - North West wing
  • 1929 - North East wing
  • 1930 - South East wing
  • 1935 - South West wing


This quintessentially British building was commissioned, designed and originally owned by American individuals and companies. Irving T. Bush
Irving T. Bush
Irving T. Bush was an American businessman. His father was the wealthy industrialist, oil refinery owner, and yachtsman Rufus T. Bush. As founder of the Bush Terminal Company, Irving T...

 gained approval for his plans for the building in 1919, which was planned as a major new trade centre and designed by American architect Harvey Wiley Corbett
Harvey Wiley Corbett
Harvey Wiley Corbett was an American architect primarily known for skyscraper and office building designs in New York and London, and his advocacy of tall buildings and modernism in architecture.-Early life and career:...

. The construction was undertaken by John Mowlem & Co
Mowlem
Mowlem was one of the largest construction and civil engineering companies in the United Kingdom. Carillion bought the firm in 2006.-History:Founded by John Mowlem in 1822, the company was awarded a Royal Warrant in 1902 and went public on the London Stock Exchange in 1924. It acquired SGB Group in...

.

The building's opening ceremony was performed by Lord Balfour
Arthur Balfour
Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, KG, OM, PC, DL was a British Conservative politician and statesman...

 on 4 July 1925. It included the unveiling of two statues at the entrance made by American artist Malvina Hoffman
Malvina Hoffman
Malvina Hoffman , was an American sculptor and author, well known for her life-size bronze sculptures of people...

. The statues symbolise Anglo-American friendship and the building bears the inscription ‘To the friendship of English speaking peoples’. Built from Portland stone
Portland stone
Portland stone is a limestone from the Tithonian stage of the Jurassic period quarried on the Isle of Portland, Dorset. The quarries consist of beds of white-grey limestone separated by chert beds. It has been used extensively as a building stone throughout the British Isles, notably in major...

, Bush House was in 1929 declared the "most expensive building in the world", having cost around £2,000,000 ($10,000,000).

In January 1930 during the Bush House excavations for the south east wing, a marble head was uncovered from a pile of rubble. The head is an elderly, balding Roman man carved from Carrara marble. He has a finely chiseled face and a rather grim irritated expression. The point of his nose has been bitten off, and his ears have been damaged. There are various ideas to its origin. It could be a remnant from a Roman bath or villa outside the walls of Roman London, or it could have been an Italian copy imported in the 18th Century and used as a garden ornament. Old maps of the area show a large house occupying a site close by. The marble head is now on display in the Centre Block of Bush House.

After a landmine damaged Broadcasting House
Broadcasting House
Broadcasting House is the headquarters and registered office of the BBC in Portland Place and Langham Place, London.The building includes the BBC Radio Theatre from where music and speech programmes are recorded in front of a studio audience...

 on 8 December 1940, the BBC European Service moved into the south-east wing of the building; the rest of the Overseas Service followed in 1958.

In 1944 Bush House suffered damage from a V-1 flying bomb
V-1 flying bomb
The V-1 flying bomb, also known as the Buzz Bomb or Doodlebug, was an early pulse-jet-powered predecessor of the cruise missile....

 dropped in the Aldwych
Aldwych
Aldwych is a place and road in the City of Westminster in London, England.-Description:Aldwych, the road, is a crescent, connected to the Strand at both ends. At its centre, it meets the Kingsway...

. One of the statues lost an arm. The statue remained damaged until 1970 when an American visiting his daughter at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

, which is nearby, saw the damaged statue. He worked for the Indiana Limestone Company and persuaded the company to send a new arm and a stonemason to attach it in time for the Silver Jubilee celebrations of Elizabeth II in 1977.

The BBC's lease with Kato Kagaku (the Japanese company that owns the building) expires at the end of 2012. The BBC plans to move World Service to Broadcasting House
Broadcasting House
Broadcasting House is the headquarters and registered office of the BBC in Portland Place and Langham Place, London.The building includes the BBC Radio Theatre from where music and speech programmes are recorded in front of a studio audience...

 following its ongoing expansion and renovation programme, known as the W1 Project. There have been renewed rumours that the neighbouring London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

may purchase Bush House to expand its campus.

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