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Description: The Admiralty and the Admiralty Screen
Date Listed: 5 February 1970
English Heritage Building ID: 207593
OS Grid Reference: TQ3003880202
OS Grid Coordinates: 530038, 180202
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5058, -0.1277
TQ 3080 SW CITY OF WESTMINSTER WHITEHALL SWl
83/62 (West side)
5.2.70 The Admiralty and
Government offices. 1723-26 by Thomas Ripley, Comptroller of the Works; the
Admiralty screen 1759-61, innovatory early work by Robert Adam. The Admiralty
built of brown brick with Portland stone dressings and portico, slate roof. A
clumsy classical design, hovering between the Baroque and the Palladian, with a
cramped giant portico; U-shaped on plan. 3 tall storeys and dormered attic. 7-
window wide main block with portico and 8-window deep wings with 2-window wide
ends to Whitehall. Architraved and corniced doorway to centre under giant Ionic
portico with pediment containing cartouche carved with Admiralty insignia.
Recessed glazing bar sashes with slightly cambered gauged brick arches. Channelled stone quoins; 1st floor sill band; heavy entablature with parapet. Robert Adam's Portland stone screen to courtyard a monumental, severely Roman facade; central carriage archway framed by pylon-piers with their parapets surmounted by sea horses and flanking screens of Tuscan columns against blind walls supporting entablature, terminating in slightly advanced pedimented pavilions with blind niches; the pediments containing carved reliefs of man o' war prows in the Roman rostral manner. The interior of Ripley's Admiralty (originally largely residential accommodation for the Lord of the Admiralty with a board room and few offices) retains a number of good interiors: entrance hall with coupled pilasters and central niche containing nearly life size model of the statue on Nelson's column by Baily; vaulted corridor behind hall (repeated on 1st floor)with plasterwork panels rather in Vanbrugh manner; staircase at south end with stone steps and wrought iron balustrade, lit by glazed oval dome of 1785-87
contemporary with S. P. Cockerell's elegant work at Admiralty House q.v., next door; the Board Room at the south end would appear to have reset panelled interior from the previous Admiralty building on the site of 1695, the panels articulated by richly carved fluted Corinthian pilasters supporting enriched carved entablature; the marble chimney piece has windcompass overmantel of c.1695, probably by Robert Norden, framed by superbly carved pendant trophies and garlands with nautical instrument motifs very likely by Grinling Gibbons; the coved plasterwork ceiling of 1789; etc. N.B. for Admiralty Offices see The Mall.
R. C. H. M.
Survey of London; vol XVI
History of the King's Works; vol V
Listing NGR: TQ3003880202
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.