http://www.digitaljournal.com/a-and-e/arts/hidden-london-the-secrets-of-london-transport-s-hq/article/467446

Hidden London: The secrets of London Transport's HQ Special

Posted Jun 10, 2016 by Tim Sandle
London contains many interesting buildings, although many are not open to the public. On a rare occasion, months before it closes, London Transport's headquarters, a magnificent Art Deco complex, was opened to a select group.
Taking in magnificent views of London from atop of the cruciform.
Taking in magnificent views of London from atop of the cruciform.
The tickets to see around the complex were by ballot only. The lucky visitors, who included Digital Journal's London-based reporter, enjoyed an expert -led exclusive tour inside 55 Broadway.
The visit proved popular with users of social media. One of the visitors, Paul Hamilton
(@pauliehamilton) tweeted: "Here we go #tube #nerd #London #tfl @ 55 Broadway."
On Instagram, one visitor Marco Zanell (@marco__zanelli) wrote: "#ldn4all_moonday - stunning view of London from 55 The Broadway, St James park." This was a reference to the spectacular views of London from the rooftop.
A spectacular view from the top of 55 Broadway - the city of London.
A spectacular view from the top of 55 Broadway - the city of London.
55 Broadway was the former headquarters of London Underground. At present it still serves as offices for London's transport operations, although staff will soon be vacating and moving out to east London. 55 Broadway will become a block of luxury flats.
The visit in June 2016 provided the last opportunity for the public to see the building as it was originally designed.
A couple  on the visit  entering the lobby area of 55 Broadway.
A couple, on the visit, entering the lobby area of 55 Broadway.
When the complex first opened it was considered radical and, to some, offensive. This partly due to the overpowering design. The building was built with Portland stone.
The building was designed by Charles Holden and built between 1927 and 1929.
The building was designed by Charles Holden and built between 1927 and 1929.
The complex has an irregular footprint. Unusually, for London, the upper office floors of the building are on a cruciform plan, stepping back towards the central clock tower at the top. This was in place of the customary hollow rectangle format and ti was designed to maximize light for those working inside.
And partly due to the neo-classical nude sculptures embedded at different locations on the outside of the building. The modernist sculptures, called 'Day and Night', were by Jacob Epstein. The sculptor often produced controversial works which challenged taboos.
A sculpture by Jacob Epstein. His larger sculptures were his most expressive and experimental.
A sculpture by Jacob Epstein. His larger sculptures were his most expressive and experimental.
The building was designed by Charles Holden and built between 1927 and 1929. Holden was a was a Bolton-born English architect.
55 Broadway is a Grade I listed building overlooking St. James s Park in London.
55 Broadway is a Grade I listed building overlooking St. James's Park in London.
Inside are features rendered Travertine marble — used extensively in the interior — from Italy.
The marble lobby inside 55 Broadway  with original 1920s features.
The marble lobby inside 55 Broadway, with original 1920s features.
Together with bronze fittings.
Some of the original features of 55 Broadway  in London.
Some of the original features of 55 Broadway, in London.
The lifts within the building, while retaining period charm, are operational.
The lifts (elevators) within the building a fully operational.
The lifts (elevators) within the building a fully operational.
Plus examples of old memorabilia, such as these measurement devices for recording train times.
Circular devices used for recording train times across the London Underground  circa 1930.
Circular devices used for recording train times across the London Underground, circa 1930.
During the early years, the building was managed by Frank Pick. Pick steered the development of the London Underground's corporate identity by commissioning eye-catching commercial art, graphic design and modern architecture. This included early forays into branding and establishing corporate identities such as the adoption of a bespoke font.
The early marketing for London Transport  including the special Johnston font. On show at 55 Broadwa...
The early marketing for London Transport, including the special Johnston font. On show at 55 Broadway.
An instruction from cleaners, from 1962, states the building was to be cleaned using “Just water, a bronze wire brush and elbow grease.”
Old London Underground signs on display within a stairwell inside 55 Broadway.
Old London Underground signs on display within a stairwell inside 55 Broadway.
The Grade I listed building was unveiled in 1929. Grade I means the fundamental features of the building cannot be altered.
The complex was constructed as a new headquarters for the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL), the forerunner of today's London Underground.
Another interesting fact about the building is that it was London’s first skyscraper (as defined in architectural terms of creating a building from a steel frame, with 19 massive load-bearing steel girders spanning the underground railway running beneath the building.) On completion it was the tallest office block in the city.
A view of the 55 Broadway complex  situated above St. James  Park underground station.
A view of the 55 Broadway complex, situated above St. James' Park underground station.
The 14 stories provided plenty of interesting and original features. Guides from Hidden London were on hand to explain the history of the building and its key features.
A Hidden London guide shows some old station signage on show within 55 Broadway.
A Hidden London guide shows some old station signage on show within 55 Broadway.
This included beautifully detailed offices. There was, during the 1930s through to the 1980s, a rigid hierarchy in place, with the standard workers busy on the lower floors and the chairman and executive occupying the walnut veneered upper offices and suites.
Visitors enter the West Wing  on the second floor  where  ordinary  workers would have toiled away.
Visitors enter the West Wing, on the second floor, where 'ordinary' workers would have toiled away.
The original executive floor featured walnut veneer. The visitors pause to examine the features.
The original executive floor featured walnut veneer. The visitors pause to examine the features.
One of the meeting rooms once used by the executive of London Transport. This one had its own execut...
One of the meeting rooms once used by the executive of London Transport. This one had its own executive only bathroom - including an actual bath.
The first chairman was Albert Henry Stanley, 1st Baron Ashfield. Baron Ashfield led London transport during one of the most significant periods in the organisation's history, a period subsequently considered to be its heyday and sometimes called its "Golden Age."
There are also some grand meetings rooms. The function suite on the 10th floor of the building was formerly set up as a dining room for the chairman and senior executives.
File photo: A boardroom at 55 Broadway  NY. A guide explains the history to visitors.
File photo: A boardroom at 55 Broadway, NY. A guide explains the history to visitors.
There are also two roof gardens.
One of the rooftop gardens  with solar power cells.
One of the rooftop gardens, with solar power cells.
At the top, the building provided a new perspective on the U.K.'s capital city.
To get to the very top  after 14 stories  a series of stairs needed to be climbed.
To get to the very top, after 14 stories, a series of stairs needed to be climbed.
Taking in magnificent views of London from atop of the cruciform.
Taking in magnificent views of London from atop of the cruciform.
The London Underground flag flies atop of 55 Broadway.
The London Underground flag flies atop of 55 Broadway.
The rooftops views were truly stunning. One Twitter user, called Neek (@vitscot), tweeted: "Fantastic views of #London from Charles Holden's 55 Broadway building for Underground Electric Railways Co., 1927-9."
The group of 20 odd visitors are shown an historic train map within 55 Broadway  London.
The group of 20 odd visitors are shown an historic train map within 55 Broadway, London.