Aldwych Quarter offices to let signs at Bush House.

Aldwych Quarter offices to let signs at Bush House.

8 June 2013
Bush House in May 2011.

Bush House in May 2011.

May 2011
Entrance to Bush House on Kingsway.

Entrance to Bush House on Kingsway.

May 2011
Bush House in May 2011.

Bush House in May 2011.

May 2011

Bush House

Aldwych, London WC2B 4PH
108,000 sq ft

Description of Bush House

Bush House is an office building in London WC2.

The freehold building is fully let to Mapeley until 2028, with HMRC in occupation.

Architecture and History

Bush House was built by the Bush Terminal Company of New York, and opened between 1923 and 1935. The building was planned in 1919 by American businessman Irving T Bush, who wanted to build a trade centre where buyers could purchase goods in one place. Accommodation was planned, also exhibition galleries, conference rooms, reference libraries, a club and a restaurant. American architect Harvey W Corbett was brought in to design it, and work began.

The building consists of a central block with four wings. At the end of 1921 while the Centre Block was being built, the market slumped and caused the original purpose of the building to be reconsidered. The centre block could not be altered, but the plans for the wings were adapted for use as offices.

Centre Block opened in 1923, and boasts marble walls and floors. Portland stone was used to build it, the floors were made of Indian Hardwood, and the foyers all have Travertine marble on the floor. The foyers are heated by radiators set inside the stone walls, with grilles letting the warm air through into the rooms.

The main entrance is very grand, with two statues and four big columns reaching half the height of the nine-storey building. Inscribed above the doors is the legend To the friendship of English Speaking Peoples. This is rather ironic considering that the World Service broadcasts not only in English, but in 42 other languages as well. The statues symbolise Great Britain and America; they each hold a flaming torch and a shield which have the British lion and the American eagle on them. In between the statues is an altar embossed with a Celtic cross. They are made of Indiana stone, and are expected to have a lifespan of two centuries.

The North-West wing opened in 1928, followed by the North-East wing in 1929. It was in that year that Bush House was declared 'the most expensive building in the world', at a cost of $10,000,000. The South-East wing was opened in 1930, with the South-West1 wing lagging behind until 1935.

While The Strand was being excavated in 1930 to build the eastern wing, a marble head was discovered. Carved from Carrara marble, it depicted a Roman man with a rather grim expression. Despite some slight damage, the head now sits in Centre Block stairwell.

There was once a small 'acoustically perfect' theatre in Bush House. It could hold 100 people.

In June 1944 a bomb landed in Aldwych outside Bush House. Three staff were severely injured, another 40 sustained minor injuries, and one of the statues had its arm destroyed. The arm was replaced 30 years later by an American businessman who saw it while he was visiting his daughter in London. He happened to work for the Indiana Limestone Company, and persuaded his employers to send a replacement, and a stonemason to attach it.

There is a small reminder of the original plans for Bush House; a small arcade that has eight shops in it is on the ground floor. The entrance is on The Strand, and is open to the general public.

- Derwent London

Connected Companies

Property Manager:


The nearest tube, train and bus stations.
Temple Underground Station
Circle, District
Aldwych / Somerset House
1, 168, 172, 188, 243, 26, 341, 521, 59, 68, 76, N1, N171, N343, N68, X68, 11, 15, 6, 87, 9, 91, N11, N15, N155, N199, N21, N26, N44, N550, N551, N87, N89, N9, N91

News: (4)

Bush House, one of the largest refurbishment projects in central London celebrated refurbishment progress with a topping out ceremony, symbolised by the lighting of the Bush House Christmas tree.

Part of the 300,000 sq ft Aldwych Quarter scheme which consists of four office buildings, the 120,000 sq ft, Bush House Centre Block, the iconic heart of the Quarter is undergoing extensive and creative refurbishment under the management of Jones Lang LaSalle. Aldwych Quarter also includes 35,000 sq ft, Melbourne House, 85,000 sq ft, Strand House and 55,000 sq ft, King House.

Andrew Williams, Director in Jones Lang LaSalle’s Project Management team, pivotal in the redevelopment of Bush House said: “The project represents a fine example of innovative refurbishment to generate new life and a strong future from what had been a declining asset. The refurbishment scheme will allow for separation of the blocks in to four standalone buildings each with their own entrance hall and M&E installations, capable of letting individually and on a floor by floor basis.”

“Since Spring 2013 the old BBC offices and studios have been stripped out, a vast undertaking which involved the removal of over 11,000 tonnes of waste of which nearly 99% was recycled. The Centre Block’s listed art deco features, marble halls and staircases will be retained and fully restored to their former glory while the building will have a BREEAM rating targeted at ‘Excellent.”

Paul Cossell, Managing Director of ISG’s fit out and engineering services business – the main contractor tasked with delivering this high profile project, commented: “Reaching this significant milestone highlights the key importance of a collaborative approach when delivering projects of the scope, scale and complexity of the Aldwych Quarter redevelopment. By working in such close co-operation and really understanding our customer’s requirements, we have developed an innovative programme that significantly reduces project duration and provides the option for phased occupation.”

John Robertson, Director of John Robertson Architects, said: “This is a very important project for Aldwych and the Strand. The team’s challenge has been to restore Aldwych Quarter to its original status as an economic anchor for the area: providing the client and future tenants with market-leading accommodation and facilities while celebrating the valuable and unique heritage of the buildings.”

The topping out ceremony on the 16th of December 2013 was hosted by Sadao Kato, Managing Director of Kato Kagaku and will be attended by key design and construction team members for the project including ISG and John Robertson Architects as well as Jones Lang LaSalle’s development, project and cost management teams.

Japanese owners Kato Kagaku appointed Jones Lang LaSalle to market the 300,000 sq ft Aldwych Quarter scheme in July 2012.

The four buildings are scheduled for completion and delivery to the market during Q2 2014.

Source: Jones Lang LaSalle 17.12.2013

18/12/2013 19:23 by Buildington

ISG has been awarded a circa £52 million project by Japanese owner Kato Kagaku Co. Ltd to substantially refurbish the iconic former home of the BBC World Service – Bush House in central London. One of the largest commercial office refurbishment schemes to be awarded in 2013, the completed project, which encompasses four buildings on site, will be renamed the Aldwych Quarter.

The project sees ISG deliver over 300,000 sq. ft. of lettable high specification Cat A office accommodation across the four buildings and central courtyard with under-croft, that make up the Aldwych Quarter. ISG will sensitively strip out the buildings to shell and core and comprehensively upgrade and modernise the internal space, installing new mechanical and electrical services, replacing 14 of the existing lifts and delivering an additional lift to enhance accessibility.

Three of the buildings are targeting a BREEAM Excellent environmental performance rating and ISG will achieve significant sustainable enhancements through improved insulation and the highly efficient services installation. The contractor will re-roof all four buildings, clean the façades, carry out masonry repairs and replace a number of windows as part of an external envelope package of works. Numerous architecturally listed elements will also be cleaned, repaired and preserved, including the Bush House portico, staircases and lobby areas.

ISG will reconfigure and rationalise space across all four buildings to create a contemporary open plan office layout. The Cat A fit out includes the installation of raised access floors and suspended ceilings, four new high specification reception areas, new cycle facilities and toilets. The programme has been carefully designed to enable the phased handover of accommodation, enabling the marketing agent, Jones Lang LaSalle, the opportunity to provide potential tenants with flexible occupation scenarios.

David Lawther, ISG Chief Executive, said:
"We are witnessing growing improvement in activity across the London Fit Out market and this latest win reinforces ourposition as the sector’s lead contractor.”

Source: ISG May 2013

29/05/2013 21:45 by Buildington

Permission granted for:

Alterations at roof level to facilitate the installation of new plant equipment, extension of north east fire escape staircase from second to ground floor, opening up of windows on north and south side of eighth floor for access to new terraces, removal of ancillary plant floorspace to create double-height plant areas, internal works including installation of five passenger lifts, removal of BBC studios, installation of new raised floors and ceilings, air conditioning ductwork and equipment, removal of asbestos lined radiant panels, insulation of external walls and provision of secondary glazing.

Source: Westminster City Council
Ref. no: 12/07076/FULL
Decision date: 28.01.13

05/03/2013 10:04 by Buildington

The BBC World Service will be relocated to Broadcasting House at Portland Place W1 in early March and Bush House should be empty by summer. The BBC World Service has been housed in Bush House since 1940.

01/03/2012 11:12 by Buildington

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