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Some London gems

I was lucky enough to visit some fabulous buildings in London last week, and to be reminded just how many there are, and how unseen they are by many.

Architect Hugh Broughton opened a new entrance to the TUC headquarters this week. while his work, which provides access to an independent area of offices called the Rookery, is great, what was really special was seeing was seeing the rest of the building. Hugh has worked there for 27 years (starting with a toilet refurb!) so he knows it well.  The most impressive area is the central courtyard, with an Epstein pieta remembering the dead of two world wars.

I’m sure this is relatively easy to access – they have conferences there all the time – but it is not strictly public. But I also went to the Regent Cinema, which is open to all. This is the earliest cinema to be built in the UK – well it was built as a theatre but was the first place to show a film –  restored a couple of years ago. It is now part of the University of Westminster but open to the public and has a working cinema organ, with recitals before some film showings.

I also went to an exhibition about Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of the blood, at the Royal College of Physicians. The exhibition was frankly a little lame, but Denys Lasdun’s building is a joy to visit.

Three very different buildings, but all of such quality and able to give such pleasure. What a lot London’s architecture has to offer.

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