Smith Square

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Smith Square

Smith Square is a square in the Westminster district of London, just south of the Palace of Westminster. The centre of the square is occupied by St John's, Smith Square, a Baroque church now used as a concert hall. Most of the square is now taken up by offices and the location means that they are mostly occupied by organisations associated with government, or that need to be near it for lobbying purposes. In the mid 20th century the square hosted the headquarters of both the main parties of British politics, and it is now home to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Local Government Association and the London base of the European Parliament and European Commission.

History[edit]

The square was named after the Smith family, on whose land it was developed in the early eighteenth century. The original development of the square was carried out by Sir James Smith around 1726. Numbers one to nine on the north side are part of this original development.[1]

Buildings[edit]

Green plaque on the Lord North Street side of No. 5

Sir John Smith, who was Conservative M.P. for Cities of London and Westminster from 1965 to 1970, lived at no. 1. The campaigning journalist William Thomas Stead lived at No. 5 from 1904 until his death on board the Titanic in 1912. Another famous resident was Rab Butler, the Conservative Deputy Prime Minister.

No. 17 is Nobel House, built in 1928 for the newly formed Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). ICI leased it to the government in 1987, and it is currently headquarters for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Next door is Transport House which from 1928 to 1980 was the headquarters of the Labour Party - and also the offices of the TGWU until the 1990s. It is now the headquarters of the Local Government Association and is known as Local Government House.

No. 32 served as Conservative Central Office, the Conservative Party's headquarters between 1958 and 2003.[2] It stood empty until 2007 when it was sold for £30.5m to Harcourt Developments who planned to redevelop it as flats before the 2008 credit crunch hit.[3] It is now Europe House, the London base of the European Parliament and the European Commission.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 51°29′46″N 0°7′37″W / 51.49611°N 0.12694°W / 51.49611; -0.12694