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Capel House, 56 New Broad Street, London EC2

Date: 1906

Client: Sydney Claridge Turner and Essex & Suffolk Equitable Insurance Company

Listing: Grade II

 

Pevsner's London 1: The City of London (with Simon Bradley, 1997) says:

New Broad Street. CABLE [sic, CAPEL] HOUSE, a long front by Paul Hoffman, 1905-6, red brick above stone. Symmetrical but loose, like a mansion block (Hoffman’s speciality). It is specially interesting for what remains of Voysey's only surviving commercial interiors, 1906-10, designed for the Essex & Suffolk Equitable Insurance , whose Secretary SC Turner commissioned a Voysey house at Frinton, Essex in 1905. They have been partly re-created by William Nimmo & Partners (for Haslemere Estates), who rebuilt Cable House behind the façade in 1986-9. Voysey is announced in the hanging oak sign by the E entrance and in the R windows, with even glazing bars and heraldic glass panels. In the area below, more windows and a simple oak door with tapering ironwork, all reset. Though his furniture has gone, Voysey's unique blend of friendliness and fastidiousness can still be enjoyed. Tall black-marble lobby fireplace, with shaped gabled overmantel and gilt crosses for ornament. Simple stripey tiled hearth. Stairhall behind with characteristic close-set oak balustrade screen (originally unvarnished), square newels and arched iron overthrows. Reconstructed to lead down to the basement, where two former ground floor rooms are reassembled in their old relationship. Their semi-open layout was more spacious than the Edwardian commercial norm. The Clerks' Office has simple semicircular openings to the corridor. Inside, a shallow colonnade of square black marble-faced piers. Two more fireplaces here, with semicircular gables. The L one has the company’s arms, the R an octagonal-faced clock. Two more on the Manager's Office. A glazed opening overlooked the clerks at work. Panelled dado with built-in cupboards, their hinges and locks with Voysey's trademark heart-shaped piercings.

 
Capel House interior


Page last amended 4th August 2021