Getting past the planners

January 6th, 2015, 5pm

Thanks to the extensive re-jigging of some rail routes for the next two years while major rebuilding work is undertaken at London Bridge Station, my route home now requires a change of train at Blackfriars. This isn’t actually as annoying as it may seem, as the view at night from this station is a beautiful one, especially now that this station completely spans the River Thames.

I don’t carry a tripod around with me, so trying to take pictures in the dark with a hand-held camera is a bit of a challenge, which is my excuse for the blurriness of the photo. It shows part of Sea Containers House, with the Oxo Tower standing to the west of it.

Sea Containers House only dates back to the 1980s and is named after its original tenant - a company called…, well, you take a guess!

It’s neighbour though is older, with parts of the Oxo Tower Wharf building dating back to the end of the 19th Century. Although originally built as a power station for the Post Office, it was acquired in the 1920s by the company that made Oxo beef stock cubes (Liebig’s Extract of Meat Company) and largely rebuilt. When the tower itself was built (1928/9), the hope was that illuminated advertising signs could be mounted on it, but planning permission was refused. So the architect (a very creative Albert Moore) came up with the idea of windows aligned vertically on each of the four sides which just happened to be shaped as circles either side of a cross (OXO), with a narrow vertical window below (I). He thus managed to side-step the planning rules and end up with a building that served as an advert for Oxo Incorporated for all to see.

The current owners of both buildings have installed coloured lighting that really adds to the beauty of this part of the South Bank at night. Perhaps one day I’ll take a tripod along and get a better shot!

Shu, Steve, Christine and David Wade said thanks.

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Adrian Tribe

A follower of Jesus Christ, a husband and father, a Kentish Man (not a Man of Kent), a commuter to London

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