Senate House London Photo, Architecture Bloomsbury, English Art Deco Building

Senate House London Building

Art Deco Building Bloomsbury design by Charles Holden Architect, England, UK

6 Sep 2017

Senate House London Bloomsbury

Date built: 1932-37

Architect: Charles Holden

Senate House to feature in Open House London

The University of London’s Grade II* listed landmark Portland stone building, Senate House, will feature in London’s largest annual festival of architecture and design, Open House London.

On Saturday 16 September 2017, the University of London will provide visitors with an insight into the construction and architecture of its headquarters through tours, pop-up lectures and film screenings. There will also be access to Senate House Library, one of the world’s largest humanities collections, through separate guided tours.

Photos © University of London

Senate House London |

Designed by British architect Charles Holden, who is also credited with the design of many of London’s Underground stations, the landmark Art Deco building is one of the few buildings in London to boast original 1930s features. It was the University of London’s first permanent home after a century of being housed in a series of temporary premises.

King George V laid the foundation stone on 26 June 1933 and the building welcomed its first occupants in 1936. Consisting of 19 floors and standing 210 feet high, Senate House was the tallest secular building in Britain on completion and was constructed of the finest materials then available, including Portland stone, Travertine marble, English walnut and South American cypress.

Crush Hall:
Senate House London Building Crush Hall |

Holden’s attention to detail is absolute – ceilings, ironwork, bespoke furniture, even the drain pipes are little crafted artworks in their own right. It was also one of the first large buildings to be fully heated by electricity. Acknowledged as a structure of great architectural significance, it was listed as Grade II* in 1969. With stunning features like these the building set the scene for many TV series and Hollywood productions such as Black MirrorJekyll & HydeBatman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises.

Senate House London Building exterior | Senate House London Building facade |

During the Second World War, Senate House was home to the Ministry of Information. George Orwell’s wife Eileen worked here and her experiences inspired Orwell’s portrayal of the feared Ministry of Truth in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, which he describes as “enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace three hundred meters into the air.” Visitors will be able to visit Senate House’s own Room 101 – hopefully a slightly less chilling visit than Winston Smith’s.

Besides being an architectural gem and a literary landmark, Senate House is subject to urban mystification – allegedly Hitler planned to install the headquarter of Nazi dominion in Britain in the building on Malet Street.

Chancellors Hall (left); Senate Room (right):
Senate House London Building Chancellors Hall | Senate House London Building Senate Room |

Senate House opening hours

10.00 – 17.00

Senate House guided tours

25 people per tour, pre-booking at arrival desk required

10.30, 11.00 (Ministry of Information focussed tour), 12.30, 13.30, 14.30, 15.30

Pop-up talks

The Ministry of Information worries about Readers and Reading

Professor Simon Eliot, Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study

11.30, 12.30

Hope and Fear Abroad: The Ministry of Information in Latin America

Dr Chris Bannister, Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study

14.30, 15.30

Senate House Library tours

15 people per tour, pre-booking at arrival desk required

11.00, 13.30, 14.30, 15.30

Open House London

3 Aug 2009

Senate House London Art Deco Building

Location: Bloomsbury
Date built: 1932-37
Architect: Charles Holden

Senate House London Building by Charles Holden architect
photograph © Nick Weall

Senate House London
photo © Nick Weall

19 storeys, 210ft high
Style: Art Deco

Central property of the Federal University of London and, as such, is constitutionally independent of all London Colleges (UCL, Birkbeck, LSE, etc).

Senate House Senate House UCL
photos © Adrian Welch

Location: Senate House, University of London, Malet St, London, WC1, England, UK

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UCL Buildings

UCL Main Building – Neoclassical portico & dome:

UCL Main Building
photos © Adrian Welch

British Museum, north facade – just south of the Senate House:
British Museum
photos © Adrian Welch

Church just north of the Senate House:
Church near Senate House
photo © Adrian Welch

Address: Senate House, University of London, Malet St, WC1

Main Building – Neoclassical portico & dome:
University of London
scanned photo from 1996 by Adrian Welch

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Design: Roman and Williams
NoMad London Hotel in Covent Garden
photo © Emsie Jonker
NoMad London Hotel in Covent Garden


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