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Latitude: 51.4904 / 51°29'25"N
Longitude: 0.0686 / 0°4'6"E
OS Eastings: 543708
OS Northings: 178852
OS Grid: TQ437788
Mapcode National: GBR NJ.XL9
Mapcode Global: VHHNK.4SLV
Entry Name: Equitable House
Listing Date: 7 August 2001
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1389382
English Heritage Legacy ID: 488040
Location: Greenwich, London, SE18
Electoral Ward/Division: Woolwich Riverside
Built-Up Area: Greenwich
Traditional County: Kent
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London
Church of England Parish: Woolwich St Mary Magdalene with St Michael and All Angels
Church of England Diocese: Southwark
TQ 4378 GENERAL GORDON PLACE
07-AUG-01 Equitable House
Building Society Headquarters, 1935. (Lionel U.) Grace and (W. G.) Farmer, architects. Thomas & Edge, Ltd, contractors. Portland stone walls, Westmoreland slate tile roof. Three-storey-plus-attic range of 11 bays with central entrance and prominent two corner site.
PLAN: Rectangular range with main and corner entrance to General Gordon Place. Main entrance to central banking hall. Offices to side wings at each floor with later internal partitions or open plan. Panelled offices above entrance at first floor; panelled Board Room above entrance at second floor.
FACADE: 3 storeys of Portland Stone with mansard roof of Westmoreland slate tile. Central projecting portal in Baroque Deco style with pairs of columns framing openings. Five bays of windows to each side. Rusticated plinth at ground floor. Keystones at ground floor windows. Double brass panelled doors to main and side entrances with 'EQUITABLE HOUSE' in serif capitals over. First and second floors plain stone with recessed metal-framed multi-pane windows. Streamline wings motif at facade- with human face to main entrance and owl face to side entrance. Projecting cornice above second floor with parapet. Secondary corner entrance with broken segmental-arch pediment at ground floor. Double-height window in curved corner portal with clock and parapet.
INTERIOR: Entrance and Banking Hall of Hopton Wood stone walls, coursed and polished Derbyshire fossil skirting. Double-height entrance hall with semi-circular windows at first floor to outside and offices above. Niche at both sides, each with historical panels framed in Derbyshire fossil, and deco-style brass vent. Steps up to double-height Banking Hall defined by square piers with blank wall and windows above. Dentil moulding and shallow classical detail to piers, walls and entablature. Tray ceiling with large glass panel with brass Greek-key and deco ornament. First Floor offices panelled in wood with deco detail. Second floor Board Room in panelled oak carved in floral motif to top and at doors. Three staircases. Vaults and storage in basement with separate staff entrance.
HISTORY: Woolwich Equitable Building Society founded in 1847 and this was their headquarters after moving from Powis Street also in Woolwich. The left-hand side of the building was leased to National Westminster bank and remains under separate tenancy at time of inspection (April 2001). It is a handsome and monumental building of solid neo-classicism that inspired customers' confidence and also expressed modernity with elegant Deco detailing throughout.
SOURCES: Berry Ritchie, We're With the Woolwich 1847-1997: The Story of the Woolwich Building Society. James & James, 1997.
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