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Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Telling your children what you did - Part 1

I had a random thought the other day. My dad died when I was 13, so I really never got to know what he did for a living. I know he worked for ICI and was in PR and I know he spent a lot of time in Westminster, presumably lobbying MPs, but that's about it.

Anyway, it got me thinking, with all this technology at our disposal these days, finding images of places where I used to work and writing a bit about them would be a nice thing to do for my children. It would be good to write about the jobs I had and the places I worked so that they could be better informed about what it was their dad actually did than I was about mine.

It was only some time later, after a few lengthy searches that I discovered that three of the buildings I used to work in have been demolished - and I can't even find an image of one of them anywhere

We're not going back eons here, but the building where I started my career working in offices as a Clerical Assistant in the Department of Transport was knocked down in 2003. Here's an extract from the report "one of SE1's ugliest monstrosities - St Christopher's House, described in the GLA planning decision report as 'deeply unattractive', has been demolished."

Not a great start then. The trouble was, I knew that my next place of employment had also suffered the same fate. Marsham Towers, pictured above, were only put up in 1971, yet were soon described as "the very image of faceless bureaucracy", whilst local people nicknamed them "the three ugly sisters". No surprise then when they were taken down in 2003. I was a Clerical Officer in the Contracts (Highways) Department there for 3 years.

It doesn't get any better either, for my next port of call for some seven years was a building called Gotch House in St. Bride Street, EC4 where I worked as a Classified Advertising Sales Executive for The Daily Telegraph. Guess what? That's been knocked down too.

From there I went to work in the same field, i.e. ad sales, at The Brighton Evening Argus. Last I heard the building was still standing, but it's not newspaper offices anymore. They relocated quite a few years ago so it would come as no surprise to find that it was derelict or indeed demolished too. Part of me doesn't want to find out!

So there you have it. Three places of work, three demolitions, with a fourth possible if I am brave enough to dig a bit deeper. 89 North Road, Brighton was the address from memory. If anyone knows the fate of that building, please don't tell me . Oh go on then! Put me out of my misery why don't you?

In part 2 I will investigate my workplaces in Soho Square, a road behind Marylebone High Street W1 whose name I can't remember offhand , Rivington Street EC2, High Holborn, Fitzroy Street W1 and Chancery Lane WC2. I am not holding much hope for some of their chances. I know that all of them no longer house the companies I used to work for. As for the building's fate, stay tuned! I could be a demolition jinx!

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