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 tact 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 shops 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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