New Futures for Birmingham`s Historic Buildings

Friday Photo – Legal and General Assurance Society, Waterloo Street

Posted October 18th, 2019 by Dave Evetts with No Comments

These commercial offices were built by S. N. Cooke and E. Holman between 1931-33. Today they are apartments with a restaurant at street level. The design was a modern take on classical elements such as the Portland stone exterior which is not masonry but is cladding on a steel-framed building. Along the top of the front wall are Greek urns that have been so streamlined they don’t look like urns any more. Other buildings in Waterloo Street aren’t much older but are Victorian ideas of Roman and Greek temples. The Legal and General must have looked so bright and futuristic by comparison when it was built.
Large rectangular carvings on four panels of figures representing wisdom, fortitude charity and faith around the top are by William Bloye in his signature low-relief style. Bloye also fashioned the roundel over the front door that shows the Society’s badge, the Temple Bar Gate that once stood in Westminster. The bronze front door originally led to the banking hall. Access to the offices upstairs was by the tower on the right, set back from the street across a small courtyard.

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