The City of London’s Lighthouse | Look Up Along Moorgate

Walking along Moorgate in the City of London, look up and you might be surprised to notice a lighthouse.

Moorgate Lighthouse

Today it’s 42 Moorgate, home of Habib Bank. But the lighthouse is a little clue.

Now, we’re a fair few miles from the coast so of course it’s not a functional one, but its inclusion tells us about the previous building’s use.

Moorgate Lighthouse

Built in 1928 and designed by Sir Aston Webb & Son this was the former headquarter of Ocean Accident and Guarantee Corporation Ltd.

Established in 1876, it was mostly offered guarantee insurance – security for advanced payments or contract agreements – but after a merger in 1890 it started to offer accident insurance.

Interestingly RIBA have an early design of 36-44 Moorgate from 1914 which looks quite different to the finished building today. I don’t know if they changed tack or perhaps it was rebuilt?

In any case, as well as the lighthouse there’s some other nautical details which are worth admiring, including the head of Neptune; God of the Sea, under the flower baskets and literal sea horses charging away from the cartouche containing an O and A, presumably for Ocean Accident.

Moorgate Lighthouse

Looking up higher still you can also spot prows of ships cutting through the waves.

Moorgate Lighthouse

Ocean Accident became a subsidiary of Commercial Union in 1910 and is now named as one of the legacy companies of Aviva.

I’ve also read online that at one point in time the lighthouse light actually worked! How lovely would that be to restore?

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  • Stewart Francis


    Brilliant bit of togetherness, — of noticing, writing, photographing, Katie! I will definitely look it up when I’m there, nr Liv St.*
    Good luck with your exams. I hope your book sales are going well.
    *I’m reminded of Browning [My Last Duchess]: ‘Notice Neptune, though,/Taming a sea-horse …’

    June 23, 2021 at 9:33 am
  • Ronald Lloyd


    Dear Katie,
    What a lovely story. I have never noticed the lighthouse etc in Moorgate before you showed us. It really lit up my day. I wih you well and I am sure you will pass your next test with flying colours. Please let us know as soon as you pass the test Love from Ron and Gilly.

    June 23, 2021 at 11:31 am
  • Ronald Lloyd


    Dear Katie, sorry about the spelling mistake. I meant that I WISH you well with your test. The same as all your followers we know you will be outstanding as ever. Love from Ron and Gilly.

    June 23, 2021 at 11:35 am
  • C. Scofield


    Lovely little story and photographs. Sparked some daydreams

    June 23, 2021 at 1:16 pm
  • Julie Bennett


    How wonderful that the building has so many details hidden in plain sight – thank you for explaining their relevance.

    April 8, 2022 at 8:05 am

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