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.
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.
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.
Looking up higher still you can also spot prows of ships cutting through the waves.
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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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 …’
Ooh I’ll have to look that one up, nice link! Will of course keep you updated about the exam 🙂 Glad you liked the post!
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.
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.
Thank you Ron! I will keep you updated of course but thank you, I think it went ok! All the best and glad you enjoyed this week’s post!
Lovely little story and photographs. Sparked some daydreams
Thanks Chris! Glad you liked it
How wonderful that the building has so many details hidden in plain sight – thank you for explaining their relevance.
Mr Olufemi Awoniyi
I am interested in who owned/managed the building during the years of 1986 forward. This is a “sensitive personal subject” however, The City of London Police have been unhelpful. So I am left to pursue my own enquiries. Can anyone help? I lived in the building for a few years in the penthouse apartment with its then manager and cannot accept that this period and my residence go unrecognised. I worked from there and even attended my first year @ University. I also had a studio in its vault!