Ceiling above gate of Bush House, former HQ of BBC World Service
London calling. Bush House, London
This ornate ceiling is part of the iconic façade of Bush House in central London, once known as the home of the BBC World Service. The BBC celebrates its 100th anniversary this year and was formed on 18 October 1922, by a group of wireless manufacturers. Initially a private venture, it was replaced with a public corporation in 1927, established by Royal Charter.
The BBC World Service, then known as the Empire Service, began radio broadcasting in 1932 and started the move into Bush House in 1940, after its original offices were bombed. The building had opened in 1925 and was designed to be a luxurious international trade centre, with statues symbolising Anglo-American friendship which stand over the entrance. This explains its opulent detail and the message over the entrance gate: To the friendship of English-speaking peoples.
However, following the retreat of companies from London during World War Two, the BBC World Service became its tenant in 1940 and stayed until 2012, broadcasting historic events from General Charles de Gaulle’s broadcasts to the Free French and speeches by Winston Churchill to the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11. It was extensively renovated before its new tenant, Kings College London, moved in in 2016.