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25 November 2020

Introducing One Bartholomew Close

In recent times the Cambridge, Reading, and Southampton offices of BDB Pitmans have all moved to new offices more suited to modern means of communication and with a better environmental footprint. Now London’s turn has come. One Bartholomew Close was chosen in part for its attractive environmental credentials: the building is rated ‘excellent’ by ‘BREEAM’ standards which focus on sustainable value during building and fitting out, and in ongoing use. An added bonus is that the building is situated in one of the most interesting and historic parts of the City of London. Susan Johnson, joint head of our art and heritage group, takes readers on a brief tour of the immediate surrounding area.

The entrance to One Bartholomew Close is on Little Britain and if you follow this south as the road bends round to the right there is a wonderful view of St Paul’s Cathedral. 

Walking on, across the road on the left is Postman’s Park, a tranquil green space containing the G F Watts memorial to ‘heroes of everyday life’, commemorating ordinary people who died saving the lives of others. Beyond St Paul’s the Millennium Bridge gives access to Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Alternatively, if you follow Little Britain north you will encounter an area of real and unusual interest, which was once outside the City limits. 

Walking towards the central arch of Smithfield Market, on the right is the Tudor gatehouse to St Bartholomew the Great, London’s oldest parish church and familiar to many from the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. Smithfield Meat Market (animals have not been slaughtered here since the 1850’s) remains the largest wholesale meat market in the UK. The market has always opened so early that some pubs around Smithfield still have historic early licensing hours, making it possible to enjoy a full English breakfast with a pint (or other beverage of your choice) prior to a morning meeting! 

Smithfield was also the site of many public executions. Memorials can be found on the wall of St Bartholomew’s Hospital (better known as St Bart’s) on West Smithfield to Wat Tyler who led the revolt against King Richard II in 1381, to the Scottish hero William Wallace who met a gruesome end in 1305, and to the many burnt at the stake for their religion in Tudor times. 

The entrance to London’s oldest hospital (no A&E) is through Henry VIII’s gate; almost immediately on the left is St Bartholomew the Less where the architect Inigo Jones was baptised. Further on is the entrance to the hospital’s museum and the Great Hall with murals on the staircase painted by Hogarth. 

Off West Smithfield is Giltspur Street giving views of the gilded statue of Justice on the top of The Old Bailey, the premier criminal court of England and Wales and the location of many notorious trials. To the right is Pie Corner with its golden, rather tubby, cherub marking the furthest reach of the Great Fire of London in 1666. Nearby, the Barbican hosts theatre, cinema and concert halls. 

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