Edwin Lerner

Bloomberg Building & London Mithraeum Museum

London is growing skywards. With the high rental price for offices and a lack of space in the ‘square mile’ of the old City of London going up is the only practical alternative. Because of the soft clay in which London was built the maximum height of a skyscraper in the city used to be around 600 feet (200 metres) but new technology allows architects to design buildings – such as Enzo Piano’s The Shard – which are around 1000 feet (300 metres) high with further high rise structures being built and planned for the future.

Bloomberg Building in London. Bloomberg Building in London. Photo Credit: ©️Bloomberg London.

One man who resisted the urge to build high was the American billionaire Michael Bloomberg. He has many connections with London and invested around a billion pounds in a new office building which sits near to the Bank of England. Conscious that he was, as he puts it, a guest in the city, he decided to pay for and build a less obtrusive eight-story building as his London headquarters. The Bloomberg building was designed by the distinguished British architect Norman Foster and incorporates the London Mithraeum dedicated to the old Roman Temple of Mithras which was uncovered in the 1950s and which older Blue Badge Tourist Guides will remember being able to point out on the way to the Tower of London when it could be seen outdoors in the street.

So how did Bloomberg, one of the ten wealthiest people in the United States build his fortune? In the 1980s he spotted a gap in the market and began supplying data on companies around the world. With a few clicks on a computer screen, you can access data for any major public company and see how many employees it has, what its assets and stock market valuations are and who it supplies and is supplied by. Over 300,000 pay for access to this information and Bloomberg provides employment to over 19,000 people worldwide.

Bloomberg Building in London - Roman Temple of Mithras. Bloomberg Building in London – Roman Temple of Mithras. Photo Credit: ©️Edwin Lerner.

The new Bloomberg building is made from around 10,000 tons of Derbyshire sandstone and has distinctive bronze fins which can shield the occupants from direct sunlight but can also be opened up to allow natural air in. The company and designers are very proud of their sustainability rating of 98.5% – the highest for a building in London. There is a communal area known as the Pantry where people can interact and brainstorm ideas while drinking Mr. Bloomberg’s coffee and eating his granola bars free of charge. The Bloomberg building incorporates modern design and artwork and affords tremendous views of London’s skyline.

As our London Architecture Tour – Modern & Contemporary is popular,  London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides need to know about the city’s modern buildings as well as its traditional and ancient structures such as the Tower and Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Although it is not a tall tower, the Bloomberg Building is an exciting and innovative one which provides as much office space as the Canary Wharf Tower and helps to create a stimulating and creative working environment for his employees.

Bloomberg Building in London_View of St Paul's Cathedral. Bloomberg Building in London_View of St Paul’s Cathedral. Photo Credit: ©️Edwin Lerner.

Michael Bloomberg was mayor of that other great financial centre New York on no less than three occasions and it was suggested that he make a run for the American presidency. Instead, the United States ended up with another billionaire in the White House. About which, no further comment.

Edwin Lerner

Named Edwin (an early king of Northern England) but usually called ‘Eddie’, I conducted extended tours around Britain and Ireland for the well-established company Trafalgar for many years but now work as a freelance guide and tour manager. I specialise in tours themed on cars, religion, music, theatre, literature…

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