“I have half of a room, two girls, and half of a typist.”*

*T.S. Eliot, in a letter of 22nd May 1918, written to his mother from 18, Crawford Mansions. (Marble-arch.London) “American born poet and playwright T.S. Eliot moved into 18 Crawford Mansions with his wife, Vivienne, in March 1916, shortly after the publication of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, the poem that made him famous.”

Robert Fay wrote at full-stop.net on January 15, 2013:

“…T.S. Eliot worked in the foreign transactions department at Lloyd’s bank from 1917 until 1925 (from the age of 29 until he was 37). He punched in Monday through Friday (plus one Saturday a month) from 9:15 am to 5:30 pm…The novelist Aldous Huxley visited Eliot at Lloyd’s and wrote: “(Eliot) was not on the ground floor nor even on the floor under that, but in a sub-sub-basement sitting at a desk which was in a row of desks with other bank clerks.”

From Oxforddnb.com:

“…in spring 1917 he found steady employment; his languages qualified him for a job in the foreign section of Lloyds Bank at 17 Cornhill in the City of London, where his work consisted of evaluating a broad range of continental documents. The job gave him the security he needed to turn back to poetry, and in 1917 he received an enormous boost from the publication of his first book, Prufrock and other Observations, printed by The Egoist with the silent financial support of Ezra and Dorothy Pound.

For a struggling young American Eliot soon acquired extraordinary access into British intellectual life…”

From: Seybold, M. (2017). Astride the Dark Horse: T. S. Eliot and the Lloyds Bank Intelligence Department. In J. Morgenstern (Author), The T. S. Eliot Studies Annual (pp. 131-156). Liverpool University Press:

“Each acknowledges that T.S.Eliot’s economic opinions likely derived, at least in part, from his experiences as a banker, but as yet no scholar has offered a serious analysis of the various occupations Eliot held during his nearly eight years of employment at Lloyds, including, from at least 1922 onward, daily engagement in writing, editing, and publishing on the bank’s behalf. Nor has there been any acknowledgement of the peculiar culture of Lloyds itself, an international trailblazer in interbellum banking. Lloyds actively fostered the intellectual and aesthetic pursuits of its employees in a fashion antithetical to the dispassionate bureaucratic automation of contemporary finance. Contrary to the myth propounded by Bel Esprit, in this essay I argue that Eliot did not conceive and compose The Waste Land and the other celebrated works of this period in spite of the bank, but, to the contrary, the peculiar perspective gained via such employment was essential to literature he produced contemporaneously.”

From: alondoninheritance.com:

“During construction of the Lloyds Bank building in 1927, the roadway in Cornhill collapsed, with the result that part of the original Commercial Union building also collapsed. The damage was so bad that the Commercial Union building had to be rebuilt. It was completed in 1929 and it is that building we see today.

The collapse of the roadway was put down to the loose condition of the soil due to the Walbrook stream having once flowed across this part of the City down to the Thames.”


From the Historic England entry:

“GV II* Includes Nos.15-22 CORNHILL EC3 (shown above) Lloyd’s Bank Headquarters. 1927-30 by Sir John Burnet, Tait & Lorne; Campbell-Jones, Sons & Smithers, executive architects. Portland stone, granite coursing to ground floors. Metal windows. Westmoreland slates to roof. The Cornhill front is 146 ft long; the Lombard Street one, 198 ft.. Projecting side bays with single openings, flanking the tall attic: this is inscribed, in sunken Roman lettering, LLOYDS BANK LIMITED, between wreaths; empty inscription panel over centre.

INTERIORS: the building retains an exceptional sequence of intact interiors, reflecting its status as the headquarters of a leading bank. Features include the following. A large marble-lined banking hall (now reception), ringed with giant Ionic columns carrying an entablature, with a glazed ceiling above. The original counters have gone, but the ornate bronze side doors to north and south, by the Birmingham Guild, remain in situ, with the Lloyd’s Bank shield flanked by horse supporters, over palms and fillets. The fronts of the mezzanine floor are faced in stone, and embellished with carved depictions of historic coinage. The side walls at the east end are embellished with archaic style reliefs of husbandry and agriculture. At the west end is a Neo-Grec war memorial (altered in 1949 to accommodate WW2 references), flanked by bronze lanterns, consisting of three name panels surmounted by a scallop with a statuette of Peace; in front is a ledge for tributes. In front, set into the floor, is a low relief bronze roundel depicting the Lloyd’s black horse in mosaic, by Gilbert Bayes. Behind the memorial is an imperial stair, rising up to the fifth floor, with bronze balustrades and marble-clad dado. Original bronze-lined lifts remain in situ, with Moderne embellishment. 

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the Lombard Street elevation has a Corporation of London ceramic plaque stating ‘In a house on this site lived Gregory de Rokesley eight times Mayor of London 1274-1281 and 1285’. Other plaques record the award of the 1932 RIBA London Architecture Medal, and the 1999 City Heritage Award.

HISTORY: Lloyds Bank was established in Birmingham in 1765. It established itself in London in 1884, on acquiring a subsidiary, and erected new premises on Lombard Street thereafter. The building is one of the most impressive commercial headquarters buildings of its time, and was designed by one of the leading firms of the day (along with a separate team of executive architects). Its imposing interiors, designed in a blend of late Beaux Arts Classicism and ‘Moderne’ detailing, survive largely intact. The banking hall retained its 22 counter positions until 1989. Drawings for the banking hall and the Lombard Street front by Cyril Farey were shown at the 1927 Royal Academy.”

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