The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Buildings at risk

Richmond House, Whitehall, London

Status: Still at risk

Save Richmond House front entrance
Richmond House, Whitehall, London Photo © SAVE Britain’s Heritage

The turrets flanking the entrance to Richmond House are its public face, seen in the background of the Remembrance Day ceremony. Much more lies behind this, including the elaborate cathedral-like staircase with a working portcullis. Architects William Whitfield and his partner Andrew Lockwood (1982-6) exercised great skill and sensitivity on this prominent site, adjoining and weaving behind a Regency terrace façade and Norman Shaw’s New Scotland Yard, echoing their style with a substantial presence of their own. The offices are beautifully lit and the extensive leadwork of the complex roofs is rigorously detailed. Richmond House was previously occupied by the Department for Health and Social Security (DHSS). Whitfield, who died in March aged 98, has been described as one of the most distinguished architects of his generation. As announced in April 2019, Whitfield’s work is due to be demolished for a temporary House of Commons chamber and offices while the Palace of Westminster undergoes a multi-billion refurbishment. Only the Whitehall façade would then survive, and that will be obscured by a security pavilion. C20 is working with SAVE Britain’s Heritage on a campaign to reverse this decision.

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