In the early 1930's it became apparent that the Tottenham Court Road premises were
too restrictive for the new Accounting Machine Era and a decision was made to construct
a new purpose built Headquarters in Marylebone.
THE NEW HEADQUARTERS
As planned and described by the Architects, J. STANLEY BEARD, F.R.I.B.A. and WALTER
R. BENNETT, L.R.I.B.A.
This building has been designed to accommodate a large and important commercial company,
and owing to the very specialist nature of this firm's productions the conception
of the design proved both intricate and interesting.
The problem of design was to provide a building which would prove efficient in its
internal arrangements and at the same time be of such a dignified design as befits
its important situation in Marylebone Road.
Head Office 1936
The nature of the business to be conducted in this building required that a certain
circulation of goods and a sequence of operations should have first consideration.
This necessitated the workshops and trade sections of the building being positioned
on the upper floors, whilst' the lower floors were used for showrooms, demonstration
rooms and administrative offices. In consequence of this requirement very heavy loads
are imposed upon the fourth to sixth floors inclusive, as these are laid out as workshops,
printing department with heavy running plant, plating and enamelling departments,
repair and assembling shops, photographic department, heavy storage spaces, and in
one case a paper slitting department which requires a storage of large rolls of paper.
The question of circulation had to be most carefully considered, and fast and powerful
goods and passenger lifts are installed to deal with the vertical circulation through
The main showroom was required to be on the ground floor and to be entered from Marylebone
This showroom is 65' 0" long by 45' 0" wide and extends in height through two storeys.
At first floor level the sides of the show room are set back and an open balcony
is provided, the balustrade of which is constructed of bronze and etched glass with
A Corner of The Main Showroom
The architectural treatment of the showroom and main' stairs has been kept to simple
plain surfaces in French walnut flush panelling, whilst the flooring is in quarzite
with ebonite jointing.
Opening off the main showroom and also off the balcony are numerous rooms which are
used for the demonstration of cash registers and accounting machines. These rooms
have been treated acoustically to obviate all undue noise.
The Main Showroom
On the second and third floors are extensive suites of administrative and executive
offices, and also a further showroom for accounting machines. The principal executive
offices are panelled in French walnut in a similar style to the design of the main
The Managing Director's Office.
A feature of the ground floor plan is the large convention hall at the rear of the
main. showroom. This hall has a seating for 168 persons on a properly raked floor
and is provided with a raised stage at one end.
The East Corner of the Showroom
The convention hall is entered from a foyer approached from the main showroom.
The Main Staircase
Beyond the main block of buildings is a covered garage and loading dock.
The equipment of the building is essentially up-to-date in every respect. Air conditioning
is provided to all principal floors and is described in detail in this publication.
Personal call installations, fast and fully automatic lifts, loud-speaker, internal
telephones, etc'., etc., all go to provide a most compete equipment.
The general architectural treatment of the exterior has been kept to a restrained
classical style. The main facade fronting on Marylebone Road is faced in natural
Portland stone, the lower portion of the elevation having the stone courses rusticated
to give an appearance of additional strength and interest, and to form the base for
the classical colonnade of the six three-quarter fluted columns of the Roman Corinthian
order which are the central feature of the main facade.
The columns forming this colonnade are 30' 0" in height and embrace three storeys.
Above is the full entablature of the Corinthian order. The sixth floor above is set
back from the main face of, the building, the chief ornament of this portion being
the carved and moulded cartouches at the returns and the bronze flagpole bosses and
The return facades' to both Great Central Street and Balcombe Street are faced with
artificial Portland stone, the architectural treatment being in keeping with the