Bishopsgate, 22 from Threadneedle Street

Above: Looking almost northeast from near the Bank of England in Threadneedle Street at 22 Bishopsgate (Click image to enlarge to 1024×640).

Something we will all have to get used to is the fact that buildings in the City of London are getting taller. Not just a little bit taller – they are getting significantly taller. They are taller than we have ever known them before. The subject of tall buildings, especially in the City of London, is something many people are uneasy about. In 1710, when the current St Paul’s Cathedral was completed at 364 feet (111 m), it became London’s tallest building – yes, not only the tallest building in the City but the tallest building within several miles of the City itself. At the time of writing, the Shard of Glass is London’s tallest building – at 1016 feet (310 m). Second, to that is 22 Bishopsgate – at 912 feet (278 m). Third place at the moment goes to One Canada Square, the original tower block at Canary Wharf, on the Isle of Dogs – at 771 feet (235 m). These statistics will probably change in the near future as new office blocks are constructed.

In case you think that this is a subject of no real interest, it should be mentioned that change is inevitable but it is a matter of policy that is under consideration here. No city has to have tall buildings. It is a matter for those in charge of planning and, obviously, the City Corporation has decided to agree to these giants. The downside of the decisions is that large parts of the City are now condemned to living in perpetual shade due to the sheer size of the new buildings being erected – like 22 Bishopsgate.

The view above, taken in 2019, when 22 Bishopsgate was in the final stages of the exterior being completed, is from Threadneedle Street. This street runs between the north side of the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England. It just so happens that part of the street ‘points towards’ 22 Bishopsgate and, therefore, provides a relatively clear view of the structure. At the moment, the architects of the new tower block – PLP Architects – can show off their latest design because it is so tall and it stands out above the other City buildings. However, as time goes by, it will become ‘just another tall building’ as others around it ‘clamour’ to be noticed in the great ’scramble’ for attention in the ongoing race to be the ‘tallest kid on the block’ in the City of London.


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