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Senate House

London's tallest secular building when it opened in the 1936 as the administrative HQ of the University of London, this Grade II listed landmark Portland stone structure balances classicism and Art Deco elements beautifully. Handsome, lavishly-panelled interiors and original period features. Senate House Library will be open for visitors, showcasing its 'Shakespeare: Metamorphosis' exhibition.

Architect

Holden, Charles/BDP (refurb)

Date

1933-36/2009.

Useful links

www.lon.ac.uk

University of London, Malet Street WC1E 7HU

Sat 10am-5pm. Informal tours. Max 250 at one time.

Russell Square, Goodge Street, Euston Square

Euston, King's Cross St Pancras

7, 10, 24, 29, 68, 73, 134, 188

  • Access for wheelchair users
  • Refreshments available
  • Regularly open to the public at no charge
  • Toilets available

SENATE HOUSE Designed by British architect Charles Holden, who is also credited with the design of many of London_s Underground stations, Senate House was created to house what became the world_s largest purpose-built University. The landmark Art Deco building, which is one of the few buildings in London to boast original 1930s features, was the University_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. Senate House, consisting of 19 floors and standing 210 feet (64m) high, was the tallest secular building in Britain on completion. It was constructed of the finest materials then available, including Portland stone, Travertine marble, English walnut and South American cypress. Acknowledged as a building of great architectural significance, it was listed as Grade II* in 1969. During the Second World War, Senate House was home to the Ministry of Information and inspired George Orwell_s description of the Ministry of Truth in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Besides being an architectural gem and a literary landmark, Senate House is also subject to urban mystification – allegedly Hitler planned to install the headquarter of Nazi dominion in Briton in the building on Malet Street. Senate House is also the home to the world-famous Senate House Library which holds one of the world_s largest humanities collections and currently showcases its first major exhibition _Shakespeare: Metamorphosis_. Based on the _Seven Ages of Man_ soliloquy from _As you like it_ the exhibition explores the metamorphosis of Shakespearean text and scholarship over four centuries. Many visitors are surprised to discover that the building is generally open to the public for a host of events, conferences and private functions. It is also a popular location for TV and film productions such as Batman Returns and Richard III.