Unilever House

I started the day with a meeting with the Head of Records of Unilever who gave me a booklet about the history of Unilever House.   It was built on the site of the gardens of Bridewell Palace, which, in 1553, was given to the City of London as a workhouse.   In the early nineteenth century, there was a gasworks between Bridewell Prison and the river.   The gasworks closed in 1873 and De Keyser’s Hotel opened on the site the following year to serve continental travellers from Blackfriars Station.   The hotel was in turn requisitioned in the first world war as the headquarters of the Royal Flying Corps and was acquired as the headquarters of Lever Bros. in 1924.   But the hotel was inadequate to the task and the old building was demolished in 1930, the year that Unilever was established, to make way for the new company headquarters.

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