Millbank Tower

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Millbank Tower
Millbank Tower, Westminster, London, 24Apr04.jpg
Millbank Tower
Record height
Tallest in the United Kingdom from 1963 to 1964[I]
Preceded byCIS Tower
Surpassed byBT Tower
General information
StatusComplete
TypeOffice
LocationWestminster
London, SW1
United Kingdom
Coordinates51°29′32.0″N 0°07′33.5″W / 51.492222°N 0.125972°W / 51.492222; -0.125972Coordinates: 51°29′32.0″N 0°07′33.5″W / 51.492222°N 0.125972°W / 51.492222; -0.125972
Completed1963
OwnerDavid and Simon Reuben
Height
Roof118 metres (387 ft)
Technical details
Lifts/elevators11:
4 × low rise Otis 411 Elevonics
5 × high rise Otis 411 Elevonics
1 × Otis 411 fire/goods all floors
1 × Otis 10UCL Ground to Basement Goods
Design and construction
ArchitectRonald Ward & Partners
Main contractorJohn Mowlem & Co.

Millbank Tower is a 118-metre (387 ft) high skyscraper in the City of Westminster at Millbank, by the River Thames in London. The tower was constructed in 1963, and has been home to many high-profile political organisations, including the Labour and Conservative parties, and the United Nations.

History[edit]

The tower was constructed in 1963 for Vickers and was originally known as the Vickers Tower. It was designed by Ronald Ward and Partners and built by John Mowlem & Co.[1] It is a landmark on the London skyline, standing beside the River Thames, half a mile upstream from the Palace of Westminster. The tower has been owned by David and Simon Reuben since 2002,[2] while still being managed by its former owner Tishman Speyer Properties. It is a Grade II listed building.

The 2003 edition of the Pevsner architectural guide says that the Millbank Tower is "one of the few London office towers to have won affection", and contrasts it with the "boxy structure" of the Shell Tower at Waterloo.

Occupants[edit]

Throughout its history, the Millbank Tower has been home to many high-profile political and other organisations. From 1994 to 2002 the Labour Party rented two floors in the base at the south of the site, for use as a general election campaign centre. Labour ran its 1997 General Election campaign from these offices; after the election, the party vacated its headquarters at John Smith House, Walworth Road SE17, to move to Millbank. Just five years later, however, the £1 million per annum rent forced the party to vacate the tower and take out a mortgage of £5.5 million to relocate to 16-18 Old Queen Street, overlooking St James's Park, which had 11,200 square feet of open plan premises.[3]

The United Nations also had offices in the tower, but moved out in June 2003, also citing high rents. Other public bodies have continued to occupy the building, including the Central Statistical Office, the predecessor of the Office for National Statistics; the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; the Local Government Ombudsman; the UK India Business Council; and the Ministry of Justice Records Management Service.[4]

Since 2006, the Conservative Party has based its campaign headquarters at 30 Millbank, in the same complex as Millbank Tower.

Other floors in the tower are occupied by various organisations and commercial companies, including Environment Agency, the World Bank, Altitude 360 London, foreign exchange specialists World First, the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, the UK India Business Council, Canonical (company), the Audit Commission, event caterers Salt and Pepper, Private Food Design, the firm Lewis PR, the London office of the Open Society Foundations, the Local Government Boundary Commission for England and XLN Telecom.

The building also houses the studios for RT UK.[citation needed]

Since April 2018, the central People's Vote office has been based in the tower.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

The tower featured in the 1973 film, The Vault of Horror, in which several characters are trapped in a lift in the building. It was also used for the location filming of the Doctor Who serials The Invasion (as the London offices of International Electromatics) and Terror of the Zygons (as the venue for the World Energy Conference).[citation needed] The tower also featured in The Persuaders! episode "Someone Like Me" (1971), in which Danny Wilde (Tony Curtis) is seen going into the building to stop Lord Brett Sinclair (Sir Roger Moore) who has been programmed to shoot his friend Sam Milford (Bernard Lee). In 2010 the building was surrounded and invaded by a large student protest called by the National Union of Students which was campaigning against the Coalition governments increase of tuition fees.

Future[edit]

In 2016, the Reuben brothers made a successful application to redevelop the building, notwithstanding its listed status, and convert it into a hotel and luxury apartments.[6][7]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mowlem 1822 - 1972, p.7
  2. ^ Who owns Millbank Tower? - Financial Times, 10 November 2010
  3. ^ "Labour announces new HQ location". The Guardian newspaper. 19 March 2002. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  4. ^ "About HM Courts & Tribunals Service". Hmcourts-service.gov.uk. 1 April 2011. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  5. ^ https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/05/inside-headquarters-britain-s-anti-brexit-brigade
  6. ^ Ramesh, Randeep; Booth, Robert (4 May 2016). "Goldsmith received £46,000 linked to luxury flat developers". The Guardian: 12. Retrieved 4 May 2016. …despite the scheme proposing the demolition of a Grade II listed building – considered a gem of modernist architecture.
  7. ^ "Our Vision". JAN & Associates. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
Records
Preceded by
CIS Tower
Tallest Building in the United Kingdom
1963—1967
118m
Succeeded by
Post Office Tower
Preceded by
Battersea Power Station
Tallest building in London
1963—1967
118m
Succeeded by
Post Office Tower