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A “quiet victory”: National Provincial, Gibson Hall, and the switch from comprehensive redevelopment to urban preservation in 1960s London

Barnes, V., Newton, L. and Scott, P. (2020) A “quiet victory”: National Provincial, Gibson Hall, and the switch from comprehensive redevelopment to urban preservation in 1960s London. Enterprise and Society. ISSN 1467-2235 (In Press)

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Abstract/Summary

The Victorian City of London’s financial centre expanded and renewed its building infrastructure virtually unimpeded by considerations of urban preservation, conservation, or public opinion. The next phase of massive re-building, during the long post-1945 boom, appeared likely to follow the same pattern. However, by the mid-1960s the freedom of City office owner-occupiers and developers to do as they wished with their buildings had become substantially constrained by rising conservationist sentiment. This article explores this process through the history of the design, building, and eventual aborted demolition of “Gibson Hall”, the Bishopsgate headquarters of the National Provincial Bank for over a century. The paper charts the life of Gibson Hall, in particular its conception, design and, ultimately, its attempted redevelopment. We also consider the longer-term consequences of the re-balancing between economic and conservation objectives for the nature of British urban redevelopment and the adoption of a “throw away” business headquarters style – to remove any risk of popular support for preservation.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Henley Business School > International Business and Strategy
ID Code:90808
Uncontrolled Keywords:banks, banking, financial centre, construction, government-industry relations, urban conservation, preservation
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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