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Bush House is a Grade II listed building between Aldwych and the Strand in Central London at the southern end of Kingsway.

Bush House
King's College London Bush House Building 3.jpg
Bush House is located in Central London
Bush House
Location within Central London
General information
Location Aldwych, City of Westminster, London
Country United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°30′51″N 0°07′06″W / 51.51417°N 0.11833°W / 51.51417; -0.11833
Current tenants King's College London
Construction started 1925
Completed 1935
Owner Kato Kagaku
Design and construction
Architect Harvey W. Corbett
Designations Grade II listed building

Now part of the Strand Campus of King's College London, Bush House previously served as the headquarters of BBC World Service. The broadcast from Bush House lasted for 70 years, from Winter 1941 to Summer 2012. The final BBC broadcast from Bush House was the 12noon BST English bulletin on 12 July 2012. The BBC World Service is now housed in Broadcasting House in Portland Place.[1] King's College London has taken over the premises since acquiring the lease in 2015.[2][3][4]



Bush House, with exedra and Malvina Hoffman's statues
Details of the Bush House exedra

Sections of Bush House were completed and opened over a period of 10 years: Centre Block was opened in 1925, North-West Wing in 1928, North-East Wing in 1929, South-East Wing in 1930, and South-West Wing in 1935. The full building complex was completed in 1935.[5]

The building was commissioned, designed and originally owned by American individuals and companies. Irving T. Bush gained approval for his plans for the building in 1919, which was planned as a major new trade centre and designed by American architect Harvey Wiley Corbett. The construction was undertaken by John Mowlem & Co.[6]

The building's opening ceremony was performed by Lord Balfour, Lord President of the Council, on 4 July 1925. It included the unveiling of two statues at the entrance made by American artist Malvina Hoffman. The statues symbolise Anglo-American friendship and the building bears the inscription "To the friendship of English speaking peoples". Built from Portland stone, Bush House was in 1929 declared the "most expensive building in the world",[7] having cost around £2,000,000 ($10,000,000).

Shower facilities available upon request.

Headquarters of the BBC World ServiceEdit

A stairway in Bush House

The BBC European Service moved into the South-East Wing of Bush House after bombs damaged Broadcasting House on 8 December 1940. The move was completed in 1941[5] and the BBC Overseas Service followed in 1958.[8] The BBC World Service occupied four wings of the building.[8]

In 1944 Bush House suffered external damage from a V-1 flying bomb.[9]

The North-West Wing was formerly occupied by BBC Online until they relocated to the BBC Media Village in 2005, with some studio and office space being retained until 2008. [1] the BBC also moved its World Service to Broadcasting House. The final broadcast from Bush was on 12 July 2012. Bulletins now come from Broadcasting House.

The BBC's lease expired at the end of 2012.[10]

King's College London campusEdit

Plans were drawn to open up and enlarge the external receptions in the North-East Wing, South-East Wing and Melbourne House, to give each an individual identity, and the courtyard to remain as a car park/delivery point. Completion of this work transpired in June 2014 as part of the much-marketed Aldwych Quarter[11]

On 10 March 2015, King's College London announced that they have acquired a 50-year lease for the Aldwych Quarter.[12] King's plans to occupy Bush House from September 2016[13] as a substantial part of its expansion of its Strand Campus[14][15][16]

King's College London Students' Union (KCLSU) will also occupy space in Bush House, starting with its Union Shop which opens in The Arcade in September 2017, followed by a series of other student spaces in Spring 2018. KCLSU represents all students at King's, but operates as a charity, independent of the university.

See alsoEdit

Related buildings

Related persons


  1. ^ a b "Goodbye to Bush House, Episode 1", BBC World Service, London, 24 December 2011
  2. ^ Historic England. "BUSH HOUSE CENTRE BLOCK WITH FLANKING COLONNADES (1066492)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  3. ^ [1] Jack Grove (2015) Ed Byrne: 'new address is a defining moment for king's college london'. Times Higher Education accessed 10 September 2015
  4. ^ [2] Jack Grove (2015) King's College London to use former BBC World Service HQ. Times Higher Education accessed 10 September 2015
  5. ^ a b "The history of Bush House". King's College London. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  6. ^ Mowlem 1822 – 1972, p. 6.
  7. ^ BBC Buildings: Bush House. BBC. (1 January 1970).
  8. ^ a b "Why is the HQ called Bush House?". Frequently Asked Questions. BBC World Service. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  9. ^ The BBC Story: Bush House. BBC.
  10. ^ "Bush House Consigns Keys to Kato Kagaku", Jones Lang LaSalle, 14 December 2012
  11. ^
  12. ^ [3]
  13. ^ "Aldwych Quarter". King's College London. Archived from the original on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^

External linksEdit