The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Crown Estate to Demolish Regent’s Palace Hotel – Historic People’s Palace faces the chop while Government Dithers

The Crown Estate, the government body that is responsible for its buildings, has applied to Westminster City Council for Conservation Area Consent to demolish the historic Regent’s Palace Hotel, which has graced Piccadilly Circus, London for the last 90 years. It plans to replace it with a bland office block. In the meantime, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has spent nine months dithering over whether to list the building or not.

Both SAVE Britain’s Heritage and the Twentieth Century Society are vigorously opposed to the demolition of this lively baroque fronted building, completed in 1915 to the designs of WJ Ancell, H Tanner and FJ Wills. The hotel contains outstanding art deco interiors by Oliver Bernard as well as providing a major landmark in the Regent Street conservation area. The aim of the hotel was initially to make the luxuries usually available only to the very rich open to the less well-off. More recently the building has been deliberately neglected by its owners and tenants and although not in bad condition is in need of some repair. Both SAVE and the Twentieth Century Society firmly believe the building merits listing at Grade II.

Cordula Zeidler of the Twentieth Century Society said “The hotel with its impressive neo-Baroque façade is a truly outstanding building that adds much to the character of the area around Piccadilly Circus . When it opened it was the largest hotel in Europe with more than 1000 rooms. The interior still shows the hotel’s original glamour, with Oliver Bernard’s 1930s Atlantic Bar and Restaurant, his Titanic Bar that features stunning plasterwork, original light fittings and metal works and most impressively Dick’s Bar, a sumptuous and beautifully detailed art-deco space – one of the most intact interiors of that period in the country. The Regent’s Palace Hotel deserves to be listed and preserved. If demolished, London will lose a fascinating 1930s building and one of the most important landmarks in the Piccadilly area.”

Adam Wilkinson of SAVE Britain ‘s Heritage said “It seems unbelievable that this building could not be converted, with a little imagination into a hotel of the highest quality. Given its location at the heart of London it would surely be very popular with tourists. Its demolition and replacement with a monotonous office block would not preserve or enhance the character of the conservation area, and improvements could easily be made at street level without having to demolish it: Westminster ‘s planners must stand firm against these proposals. The reasons for demolition are weak. Surely government bodies should follow government’s own advice on historic buildings.”

For more information please contact:

Cordula Zeidler or Eva Branscome
Tel: 020 7250 3857

Adam Wilkinson
SAVE Britain ‘s Heritage
Tel: 020 7253 3500
Mobile : 07973 382 948