Survey of London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1960.
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Nos. 67 and 68 Pall Mall
Previous history of this site is described on pages 381–4
The former Junior Naval and Military Club building was demolished in 1930 to make way for a block of business premises and flats to be known as Marlborough Court. Construction was begun in August 1930, and by June 1931 the new building was completed in carcase. The architects were Messrs. Romaine-Walker and Jenkins, in collaboration with Sir Edwin Lutyens, who designed the elevations. The builders were Messrs. Prestige and Co. Owing to its prominent position in Pall Mall and to its proximity to Marlborough House and St. James's Palace the Commissioners of Crown Lands attached great importance to the design of the building. They stipulated that it should harmonize as far as possible in both height and horizontal mouldings with the adjoining Midland Bank. Windows were to be permitted in the south wall overlooking Marlborough House, but these were to be filled with opaque glass. The final designs were approved by the King and Queen, and by the Prince of Wales in May 1929.
The ground floor of the new building was originally planned as a show-room. Its design was regarded as equally suitable for an office or bank, and in 1934 it became the West End branch of Hambros Bank. The upper floors were let as offices and maisonettes. (fn. 1)
This building (Plate 273d) makes a splendid climax to the south side of Pall Mall, and like all of Lutyens's commercial buildings it is a brilliant variation on a Palladian theme, full of subtleties and felicities. The vertical arrangement is basically that of the Palladian house-front—a rustic Doric base containing the lofty ground storey; next, a deep pedestal broken by the secondstorey windows; then a subtly modelled wall face corresponding in height to the columns of an order, here embracing three storeys and finishing with an entablature of highly original profile, and lastly a tall attic, one of Lutyens's 'airy palaces' that looks like a banqueting-pavilion or an orangery. Each face of the Doric ground storey has a threebay centre—a recessed portico on the north front and windows on the west—with plain-shafted columns flanked by wide rusticated piers, decorated with Lutyens's favourite 'disappearing' pilasters. The greater width of the west front allows a further window at each end, between wide rusticated piers. The upper face of the north front has four windows in each storey, and the west front has five—a group of three widely separated from one on either side. In the third storey, however, where the windows have segmental heads and bases, the rhythm is varied with two windows on each side of the middle three, their centres continuing those of the inside pilasters of the Doric piers below. These third-storey windows are dressed with eared architraves, and the wall face is modelled with alternately projecting courses. The fourth- and fifth-storey windows are set in plain straightheaded openings, but the keystones of those in the fourth storey project and merge into a raised course which forms a sill to the fifth-storey windows. The entablature consists of a recessed frieze-band and a cornice composed of a deep cavetto, a corona-fascia and a cymatium. On the west front of the 'orangery' attic, the tall windows are alternately round-arched and straight-headed, the latter being surmounted by shallow sunk panels; each end round-arched window is set in a slightly projecting face, finished with a flat triangular pediment. On the north front the sunk panels are replaced by windows.