Leicester Square, North Side, and Lisle Street Area: Leicester Estate, New Coventry Street

Pages 486-487

Survey of London: Volumes 33 and 34, St Anne Soho. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1966.

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New Coventry Street

The formation of New Coventry Street in 1843– 1846 is described on pages 351–5. The south side is now occupied by Fanum House and on the north side, which was for many years occupied by a ladies' department store, now stands the Swiss Centre building.

No. 1 New Coventry Street: The Leicester Public House


The Leicester public house (Plate 140a, 140b) stood at the north-west corner of New Coventry Street at the junction with Wardour Street. It was erected in 1886–7 for Charles Best and Company and demolished in 1927 for the expansion of Stagg and Russell's ladies' department store. (fn. 1)

The Swiss Centre: New Coventry Street

The island site bounded by New Coventry Street, Wardour Street, Lisle Street and Leicester Street is now occupied by the Swiss Centre, a large building comprising a podium and tower block, designed by David du R. Aberdeen and Partners, and erected in 1963–6 by the Token Construction Company Limited.

Below ground level is a sub-basement, containing a garage, and a basement with a mezzanine floor, intended for a restaurant. The podium, covering the entire site and having rounded corners, contains three storeys of shops and showrooms, with a core of lifts, staircases and lavatories serving the tower. This last begins with a storey allotted to engineering services and foyers leading to the terrace roof-garden above the podium, and the large circular salon for exhibitions that rises above the south-east corner. The tower has eight floors of standard-height office accommodation, and a lofty top storey containing a penthouse, viewing gallery, and plant rooms.

The exterior is simple and elegant, the podium transparent with large plate-glass shop windows recessed below the cantilevered third storey, which is faced with glazed grey bricks below a continuous clerestory. The exhibition salon is roofed with a shallow saucer dome, and an advertising mast forms a feature above the south-west corner. The oblong tower has eight tiers of uniform metal windows, each storey having twelve on the south and north faces, and sixteen on the east and west. These windows are set between aluminium mullions and above floor-strings of silver-grey granite. The penthouse storey is largely clad with vertically ribbed aluminium sheeting. (fn. 2)


  • 1. P.O.D.
  • 2. T.P. 103900.