Learn more about our much-loved building, from the birth of the Aldwych to the present day as the home of one of London's finest hotels.
The Creation of the Aldwych
Back in 1889 it was decided to link Holborn with the Strand to improve communications north of the Thames. The new road was named Kingsway and at the point where it emerged onto the Strand, a new crescent was created, the Aldwych.
Many original properties were demolished to make room for these improvements, including the Morning Post newspaper building which stood at 346 Strand. The original sign from 346 now sits at the entrance to our Lounge at One.
Innovative Architecture and a Home for the Press
Finding himself without a building, Lord Glenesk, the owner of the Morning Post, bought the land where One Aldwych now stands, and in 1905 appointed the famed Anglo-French architects Mewes and Davis to design him a new building. It was perhaps the need for a rapid rebuild that drew Glenesk to Mewes and Davis. Their modern building techniques were the talk of London as they led the way in steel frame construction, commissioning pre-fabricated steel beams with not a single measurement scaled or taken from the site.
This speedy construction meant the building was completed only two years later when it quickly became known for its blend of Edwardian grandeur and splendid Parisian elegance. Its distinctive features include curved corners, a coppered cupola dome and a mansard roof of Westmoreland slate, whilst decorative features such as female head keystones, cornices and low balustrade balconies add to the charming Parisian feel. It is still often described as Mewes and Davis’ finest work and is thought to be one of the most important Edwardian buildings in London.
In 1907 the paper's editorial and advertising staff moved into the new building and the printing presses were installed in the basement where they remained for the next twenty years. What is now the hotel's Lobby Bar was the heart of the building as the paper's Advertisement Hall and still features the original Austrian oak window panelling from that time. In 1927 Lord Glenesk sold the newspaper to the Daily Telegraph and the building was sold to the Inveresk Paper Company. After becoming home to a number of well-known illustrated magazines such as Illustrated London News and The Tatler, the building was renamed Inveresk House.
Sir Winston Churchill
As a former employee of the Morning Post, when he reported on the Boer War, Sir Winston Churchill was further associated with the hotel building in 1926 when as Chancellor of the Exchequer he became editor of The British Gazette. The short-lived newspaper was published by the Government during the nine-day General Strike and was printed on the presses of the Morning Post which were situated in the basement, where the hotel's swimming pool sits.
The One Aldwych Hotel
Over the years, extensive alterations were made to the property, which involved adding two extra floors, removing the original dome and changing the internal layout. During this time One Aldwych housed the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Works, Prudential Assurance Company, Lloyds Bank and a very popular London Brasserie known as the Aldwych Brasserie.
With its Grade II listing, it was eventually sold to private independent owners who together with Jestico and Whiles architects and designer Mary Fox Linton, undertook the project to create the One Aldwych Hotel. The hotel opened its doors in 1998 and remains one of the few independent hotels in London.