July 11, 2012

Farewell, Bush House

If you’re an avid listener to the BBC radio, like I have been for years, you might know that it has always been broadcast from Bush House in London.Bush1 I remember the first time I saw Bush House, I was so excited:

Meg: Look, Mary Alice, there’s Bush House! OMG, home of the World Service! Home of Radio 4! WOW! {furiously snapping pictures}

Mary Alice: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Anyway…

After broadcasting there since the 1930’s, the BBC’s World Service will sign off a final time from Bush House at 1200 BST on July 12th. I hope that I am able to catch the broadcast, but as it will be about 7:00 EST, I might not.

It’s a beautiful building, the most expensive built at the time and now it will be turned into posh office space.image

And its location, in Aldwych in The Strand, makes it especially valuable real estate now. Staircase-at-Bush-House-7lgBut it’s a building that echoes with such an incredible history of thousands of correspondents reporting from the most remote locations and in myriad languages. imageAs I lay in bed at night, both in the US and the UK, I listen to the correspondents’ names and their locations roll off their tongues and try to pinpoint the spot on the globe in my mind. This is Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, reporting from Nicosia, Cyprus for the BBC. In fact, there’s an advert on BBC Radio with the correspondents and their lyrical names, telling their locations. imageThe building is truly massive, as you can see from the first image, imageand with its foreign language services for 28 languages from Arabic to Welsh, it is a veritable tower of Babel.imageAs I fall asleep tonight, perhaps I will hear, for one last time, imageThis is the BBC, broadcasting from Bush House, London,Signing Off…

18 comments:

  1. What an extraordinary building! hope it wont be turned into a Bible museum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Posh office space. It's owned by a Japanese consortium.

      Delete
  2. I was lucky enough to visit when I was a teenager, arranged by our youth club. I remember long corridors, a complete maze of rooms. We met Barbara Windsor and the team from Top of the Pops, but other than that, I can't remember much else - too long ago!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't even imagine what a rabbit warren of rooms and studios this place must be!

      Delete
  3. What fate for the bricks and mortar? Presumably it's listed, so will remain intact?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's listed, so it's converting to posh office space.

      Delete
  4. I would love for you to be our tour guide whenever we return to the UK!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very interesting post!. Thank you. My daughter refuses to follow American news and only gets her news from the BBC. She says it is unbiased. Where is the whole operation moving to? Ann

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The operation is moving to Broadcast House... See comment below for details from a Londoner!

      And I agree about the BBC news. It's more global than the news we get here.

      Delete
  6. Another American who only listens to BBC News here.... so - WHY are they no longer going to stay in that building? So sad! And what a staircase! Hitchcock would have murdered to do scenes on that baby!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that the most amazing staircase? Can you imagine running up and down it. And I am curious why one side is curved...

      Delete
  7. Don't despair. They're moving all the radio and television news to Broadcasting House, which is an even more spectacular 1930s building. They didn't have room previously to put everything under one roof (the television news used to be in west London), but they recently renovated the building and built a new wing on it to house everything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great information! I can always count on you! xo

      Delete
    2. Broadcasting House is really superb. One of the finest buildings in all of London. It's like an art deco ocean liner setting sail northwards from Oxford Circus.

      Delete
  8. The stark classicism is very effective.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi all World historical events,Android apps tamil news,World news on androidBreaking news for iphone

    ReplyDelete
  10. You will love this documentary on the post-war BBC. http://youtu.be/4K37_naDSEA

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading and commenting on Pigtown*Design. I read each and every comment and try to reply if I have your e-mail address.