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Sampson House

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Wednesday 21 July 2004 11.33am
does anyone know what the preliminary plans are for this site on Hopton St.?(the LLoyds clearing house)
recent press articles about the possible sale of Minerva property group have mentioned a 2 million sq. metre development designed by Foster & Partners. my guess would be that would constitute a tall building - but as far as I know it hasn't had much publicity.
Wednesday 21 July 2004 12.06pm
Any plans for a redevelopment certainly slipped under my radar.

Obviously the site will be massively more valuable if the south bank entrance to a reconstructed Blackfriars Thameslink Station is eventually opened next to it.

Some might argue that the current building is now part of our heritage.
Will the Twentieth Century Society press to have it listed as one of the first buildings designed for IT?

(Lloyds Bank window in Christ Church Southwark on Blackfriars Road)

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 21 July 2004 12.09pm by Lang Rabbie.
Wednesday 21 July 2004 1.34pm
it's very interesting to see the window - particularly in the context of its original purpose:

my undrstanding is that the building was designed as a bullion and cash store to withstand an atom bomb atttack on the city as well as any subsequent looting if it happened - hence the over-hanging design of the first few floors. during the late 60s and 70s it was used as one of the primary stores of gold bullion in london and there are rumours of a tunnel linking it under the Thames to the Bank of England.

after the advent of the hydrogen bomb, its design became redundant from a bomb-proof point of view, and its current use as a cheque clearing house started.

any developer will certainly have a big demolition bill due to the vast concrete structure - can't see it being converted to trendy lofts as it is, somehow!
Wednesday 21 July 2004 2.09pm
Fascinating, I've always wondered why this building was designed with the lift shafts facing the view of the river. Minerva also own the Express building squeezed into the site over the other side of the railway - maybe owning both gives additional opportunities for eventual redevelopment.
Wednesday 21 July 2004 2.36pm
Lang Rabbie,
Great window image. I'm very interested in your point about the train station. Is there talk of easier access to Blackfriars station or even an auxiliary platform on the Southbank?

Wednesday 21 July 2004 2.37pm
Sorry to spoil the fantasies but I had to move out of premises in Bankside in the 1970's when this monstrosity was built. They were not allowed to occupy it until they built a new river walk and also provided the council flats just behind the Founders Arms. It was built as a computer centre for Lloyds Bank . The architects were Fitzroy Robinson who may be able to help you with any queries regarding tunnels etc.
Wednesday 21 July 2004 3.31pm
How does one demolish an atom bomb-proof building without an H-Bomb?
Wednesday 21 July 2004 3.40pm
hot puppy

The proposals for Blackfriars Station are all part of the Thameslink 2000 plans - there is a poorly advertised (other than James' article and another post on this site) series of exhibitions on going on - they apparently had the detailed drawings of Blackfriars southern entrance at Holland Street by the Tate last Tuesday.

The detailed drawings should also be available (you may need to ask for them to be brought from under the counter) at the London Bridge exhibition session, which is TODAY - Wednesday 21st July 12-7pm
London Bridge station, station forecourt, Station Approach.

One of the least commented on elements is that they plan to close the river walkway between Blackfriars Road and Hopton Street for the duration of the construction works and to close Blackfriars Underground station for up to two years!

Wednesday 21 July 2004 3.52pm
Some nice conspiracy theories.

The official establishment explanation was that the small windows and overhanging storeys were to minimise solar gain - the building was one of the first to be constructed with heavy duty air-conditioning to cool the large scale mainframe computers.

Many computer centres also had systems to pump in halon - an inert gas - to suppress any fires that could put the multi-million investment in computers at risk - I don't know if Sampson House was one of those.

Urban myth had it that staff typically had 40 seconds from the sirens sounding before the shutters would fall and they would be asphxiated - in the early 1970s the death in service benefit payable to the widow was only about 10% of the cost of a new computer.
Wednesday 21 July 2004 3.56pm
thanks Lang Rabbie - looking at the image Im suprised that the unused bridge supports are not being more imaginatively incorporated into the scheme?
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