Astor House
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Astor House

Stunning period preserved house on the Victoria Embankment.


This superb building, called Astor House originally, has been maintained and preserved lovingly by the charity Bulldog Trust as it was when it was built. The elaborate specifications by William Waldorf Astor (later the 1st Viscount Astor) were completed in physicality by architect John Loughborough Pearson, in 1895, as his residence and estate office. Money was not an issue and the quality in the stone edifices and the interiors can be seen today.

The land was reclaimed following completion of the Victoria Embankment in 1870. It stands on would have been the edge of the Thames, in fact the garden was part of a jetty for good sized ships.

Today it can be hired for special occasions and functions, and since October 2011 it has been open as a public gallery - their superb exhibitions are a great opportunity to go back in time and see how the other half lived. There is so much to see from the Great Hall to the President's room.

In July 1944 the building was hit by a German flying bomb but was fully restored. The Library suffered the most damage, the ceiling being destroyed and several works by William Silver Frith were lost.

The stunning staircase hall is overlooked by a gallery featuring a frieze in rilievo which features 82 characters from Shakespeares Othello, Henry VIII, Anthony & Cleopatra and Macbeth. See how many you can spot!

Outside, look up to spot the marvellous weathervane of the ship Santa Maria in which Columbus discovered America. It was executed by J. Starkie Gardner, the English metal worker responsible for all metalwork inside and outside the building.

Location: Two Temple Place, London, WC2R 3BD