please empty your brain below

A really interesting and helpful article - thank you.
I would abolish the protected views of old buildings.
Excellent post, thank you.
A fascinating article, thank you.

Re the 11 storey Faraday building constructed in the 1930s, I am surprised it survived the attention of Herr Goering's 1940/41 demolition contract.
I do not see why a building old or new should be protected from having its view from a distance blocked.
If I am on a hill or other highpoint around London I am happy if I can, "say look you can see the Shard" etc. It does not have to be St Pauls.
When the Post office Tower was built I was thrilled that I could see it from Twickenham. Now I am happy to see the Shard.
St.Pauls and the other old buildings are still there and you can still see them and visit them.
I like 1930,s cinemas but I did not protest when the Hammersmith Flyover was built right in front of the Odeon Hammersmith Facade blocking the view of the building, I would have complained if they wanted to pull down the Odeon as I also would for St Pauls.
Well I for one am grateful there were people in the past who put measures in place to protect London from future overdevelopment.
Now we have a nice mix of old and new all jostling up together. Thanks for explaining how they achieved it.
One benefit of looking at these various maps is that it makes it possible that the view of 20 Fenchurch Street (Walkie Talkie) may be blocked out at some point or at least softened by other buildings clustering around it. At the moment it feels to me like a large clunking mass that utterly dominates all views from the river.

I am pleased we have protected views but the building I do miss being able to see from a distance is the Gherkin. A building I absolutely love and is distinctive, but is now blocked out from places such as Hungerford Bridge.
A tower is to be built on the western side of the Walkie Talkie, which will break up its impact a little bit. Details here.
The old Eiffel Tower joke applies equally to the Sky Garden.
I was very interested in the links to the history of Faraday House, and must admit although I worked there for more than three years I never noticed the carvings on the facade. Sadly I didn't have a view of St Pauls from my desk as I was on the ground floor, so all I could see was parked tourist coaches.

It is a puzzle to me how it could have been "the world's first International Telephone Exchange". What was it connecting calls to?

re the Faraday Building, if you look at post-Blitz pictures most of the buildings north of St Paul's and between St Paul's and the river were destroyed.

The Faraday goes down almost as far as it goes up. There was a highly protected exchange deep below Carter Lane, probably still in place after the northern extension of Faraday was knocked down a decade or so ago (there's a hotel there now).

Just as the best view of Paris is from the Tour Montparnasse, because you don't see the Tour Montparnasse, the view from the top of Faraday House is stunning.

I'm also grateful that some protection was given to certain views, although I would have preferred the Paris-style option of restricting skyscrapers to docklands. With modern technology it's very easy to build large ugly buildings that dominate their surroundings. In previous centuries the huge investment (labour, capital and time) that a tall building required meant that a lot of thought would have gone into either form or function. Today that is not necessarily true.
Very interesting, thanks. While some of these new buildings are to me a bit OTT and frankly unnecessary - there's no NEED for vast amounts more office space in the City - I agree the with compromise the City has, which protects certain views without Fossilising the area.
This is a classic DG post, making a seemingly dull topic interesting.
At least the Monument one makes sense. I mean, why did I climb up it (5 years ago, to the month) only to see myself surrounded by skyscrapers?
The limitation on tall buildings in strategic views also applies behind some buildings, notably St Pauls, which is why there are few very tall buildings in the Liverpool Street area (they would stop the dome of St Pauls being seen against the sky as seen from Richmond Park). The policy of course applies not just in the City but in any other borough affected by the sight lines. Newham's planning department apparently was not included (who'd build a skyscraper that far out?) but, probably due to an oversight, a 42 storey block opposite Stratford International station, 5 miles away, has recently partly intruded.
Yay, this post just hit Metafilter.
(and it feels like 2005 again)
Perhaps Herr Goering liked the Faraday Building much as he reputedly liked Senate House.
A great post D G making something complex much more simple for the layman. How sad that we keep wanting to block out the past when the future will see the present soon obliterated. I would recommend anyone to walk through Richmond Park to Pembroke Lodge and pause for a moment to enjoy the St Paul's View. It really is amazing that you can still do it. Just think how pleased Henry VIII would have been to stand on his mound directly behind the view and hear the cannon boom out from the Tower as Anne lost her head. Unfortunately they say he was miles away at the time!
Very interesting post DG. Another great look around the City.

I agree with Anders; we refer to that awful building as the Sore Thumb. It just seems to be in the way of everything.

The view of St Paul’s and the Shard from Primrose Hill sticks in my memory from years ago when the Shard was being built.
Fascinating post. And also strangely reassuring...

TridentScan | Privacy Policy