Not reading this is thoughtcrime.

Senate House lies just north of the British Museum, east of Tottenham Court Road, and south of Euston Rd. Built in the Art Deco style between 1932 and 1937, it was built to house the growing University of London, and WWII served as the Ministry of Information.

Rumor has it that George Orwell based the dreaded Ministry of Truth in 1984 on this (somewhat fascist in architecture) building, and when I saw it for the first time it was the embodiment of what I imagined the Ministry of Truth to be. Senate House is 64 m tall, which is 19 floors. When it was built it was the second tallest building in London after St.Paul’s Cathedral. This is due to the London Building Act of 1894 which deemed no building in London should be taller than a height roughly that of St. Paul’s Cathedral (111m). One of the noticeable factors that give London its character is the short structures, and now we know why!

The act has been widely ignored since the middle of the 20th century, and St. Paul’s is now the 35th tallest building in London. The Shard has recently taken the pedestal as the tallest building in Europe and the UK (309.6m, 87 floors)

Another rumor associated with the Senate House bloomed out of the strange fact that it was not bombed during WWII, despite being prominent and bright on the skyline. It is said that Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe pilots not to bomb Senate House because he was fond of the architecture and planned to make it the administrative center of the Nazi party after he conquered Britain. Whether true or not it certainly reveals what locals think about Senate House which sticks out like a sore thumb in the midst of beautiful Victorian Bloomsbury architecture.

Senate House currently houses the School of Advanced Studies, administrative offices of University of London and constituent colleges as well as the extensive Senate House Library. Occupying 4th -18th floors of the building (with public access to 4th-7th) the library mainly covers arts, humanities, and social sciences.

In fact, you may have seen Senate House in some famous films:

Richard III, 1995

Nineteen Eighty-Four (Ministry of Love)

Blue Ice

Batman Begins, 2005 (hall of the courthouse)

The Day of the Triffids, 1962 (The London Tower)

And many more.


One comment

  1. I was going through and revisiting bloggers blogs who I haven’t seen activity from in a while.. this was a great post… I know there are many more waiting to be written 🙂


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