Buildings of the Port of London Authority

Detail of 10 Trinity Square, London EC3, above: Historic England “Above rises broad tower embellished with order of Corinthian pilasters and piers, arched niche and colossal figure sculpture. Stepped upper part.” Ornamental Passions “Father Thames has a truly memorable flowing beard and is something of a body-builder (‘muscles like penny rolls’ as R.L. Stevenson put it). He stands on an anchor and holds a trident, his free hand pointing downriver towards the sea.”

From Wikipedia:

“The Port of London Authority (PLA) is a self-funding public trust established on 31 March 1909 in accordance with the Port of London Act 1908 to govern the Port of London. Its responsibility extends over the Tideway of the River Thames and its continuation (the Kent/Essex strait). It maintains and supervises navigation, and protects the river’s environment. The PLA receives no funding from the government and is entirely self-financing. Revenues are raised from conservancy charges on vessels and cargo, pilotage charges, annual port dues, hydrographic services, river works licence fees and charges for other services.”

From Wikipedia:

“Charterhouse Street, London EC1, was the home of several refrigerated warehouses serving Smithfield Meat Market including the Central Cold Store, the Metropolitan Cold Stores at 77A and Port of London Authority Cold Store.” (see image above)

Joanne Shurvell wrote at on Mar 30, 2017:

“The Four Seasons hotel at Ten Trinity Square, across from the Tower of London, has just opened and is as well appointed as its London sister hotel on Park Lane in Mayfair. And, better still, it is stunningly beautiful, inside and out. The Grade II listed building, designed by architect Sir Edwin Cooper, has retained all its original features from the imposing neo-classical exterior…

“Edwin Cooper had commissioned his favourite sculptor, Albert Hodge, to create massive symbolic figures for the PLA building. He had created sketch models of three groups including the monumental figure of Father Thames when he suddenly died in 1917, at the age of just 42. His assistant Charles Doman executed Hodge’s designs and added two of his own (including “Commerce”, above, in Muscovy Street). Ornamental Passions
Bob Speel “another female Navigation, the splendidly muscular one ascribed by some to Albert Hodge, but actually by his follower, Doman. (If you like her physique, then see the page on Warrior Women.) We see the wheel, the globe, and she leans on a book with the emblem of a sun suggesting it contains navigational charts. At her feet a variety of accoutrements associated generally with shipping, which is not uncommon in figures of Navigation.”

…to the art deco lighting fixtures and marble flooring, to the wood panelling and carving on the walls. And, as is often the case when buildings are restored, several Roman archaeological finds were uncovered while strengthening the foundations, including a well and a cesspit.

The historic building was opened in 1922, having cost over £1 million, a small fortune at the time, as the headquarters of the Port of London Authority. The building played a vital role in London’s shipping trade with over 1,000 people a day coming to the central glass domed rotunda (now the bar) to pay port fees for ships arriving in London…

[“Architects’ Journal 13 AUGUST 2009 “Completion of Cooper’s Beaux Arts design was delayed by the First World War (it was finished in 1922) and its central grand rotunda – a 30m-wide reinforced concrete construction – was bombed in the Second World War. Woods Bagot’s proposal reinstates this central focal point in the form of a glazed canopy that creates a circular central well. This requires the demolition of a nine-storey pentagonal extension added by Mills Group Partnership in 1976. Woods Bagot worked with English Heritage to preserve as much of the building’s existing fabric as possible. A document drawn up in conjunction with heritage consultant Donald Insall Associates identifies a number of key areas of special interest.”]

…After the Port of London Authority moved from the building, it housed an insurance company…

In 1977 the building was refurbished and acquired by the Willis Coroon Group.

…before lying dormant until 2010. Following six years and a multimillion pound renovation, Ten Trinity Square opened as a Four Seasons hotel in January 2017.

The 100 rooms and suites, all a decent size, are decorated in stylish greys and muted fabrics. The rooms are on the first few floors of the building and look out into an internal courtyard so they’re not overly bright but the interiors are chic and comfortable. I really liked the dark green wood panelled walls in the hallways and the original fire doors, again all protected by the Grade II listing. The hotel, club and public areas have been designed by Parisian designers Bruno Moinard and Claire Bétaille of 4BI & Associés, renowned for combining the disciplines of creator and artist with a master craftsman’s attention to detail. The upper floors, not yet open for my visit, house the private residences and the private club. The 41 luxury apartments start at around £5 million pounds and when I visited this month, some were still available for sale. They range in size from one to five bedrooms, with designs drawing inspiration from the building’s origins in the 1920s. Apartment owners will have full access to the hotel facilities, including the spa and gym.

“The leading architect, Sir Aston Webb, organized a competition for a design and the one chosen was from Edwin Cooper. John Mowlem & Company began construction in 1913 but there were delays from the start, not improved by the outbreak of war. Lord Devonport laid the foundation stone in June 1915 and the building was finally opened by the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, in October 1922.” Peter Stone

Cocktails are served in the Rotunda Bar and Lounge which sits at the centre of the hotel. The spectacular art-deco style domed ceiling is a replica of the dome that was destroyed during the Blitz. Traditional afternoon tea (or in our case, champagne) is served in the bar with daily live music from 3-5pm. There is also a plan to have a regular programme of DJs in the bar to promote it as a destination for outside visitors as well as hotel guests.

The cocktails are also inspired by the history of the building and include the Forget-Me-Not, which uses Earl Grey tea, along with gin, sparkling wine, coriander seeds and tiny blue flowers at the base of the glass. This drink is a nod to the maritime history of Ten Trinity Square and sailors’ wives who wore forget-me-nots to pay tribute to their husbands at sea.

La Dame de Pic is the first UK restaurant by Anne-Sophie Pic, the only French female chef to hold three Michelin stars for her eponymous restaurant in Valence, south of Lyons. La Dame de Pic is her first London venture and is housed in a chic dining room with dark orange leather banquettes, mirrored walls and art deco lighting fixtures.

We loved the calm vibe and lovely setting of La Dame de Pic so were delighted to find that breakfast could be taken there too.

Despite suffering extensive bomb damage during the Blitz in WWII, Ten Trinity Square survived to host the inaugural assembly of the United Nations in 1946 in what is probably the most beautiful space in the hotel, the UN Ballroom. More recently, the building starred in the James Bond film, Skyfall, as the location where M (Dame Judi Dench) met Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes)…”

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