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London’s Buildings
An unusual view of London. You can see the Gherkin on the right.

London’s Buildings

London’s buildings are the heart of the city’s iconic skyline. From ancient medieval halls to le dernier cri in design, London has always attracted the Starchitects of the day. You may well easily recognise the buildings but do you know their stories and secrets too?

The Clock Tower at Westminster, commonly called Big Ben - which is in fact the name of the largest bell it houses - was officially renamed in 2012 as what?
The Benjamin Hall Clock Tower
The Benjamin Caunt tower
The Victoria Tower
The Elizabeth Tower
The Tower was renamed to honour the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. It is said that the bell, Big Ben, was named either for a bare-fist fighter called Benjamin Caunt or for Sir Benjamin Hall, MP and Chief Commissioner of the Works at the time of the Tower’s construction
What is odd about the houses at numbers 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens?
They were built to resemble an Austrian castle
They are just facades with nothing behind them
They are made of a stone specifically imported from Russia for their construction
They both received a direct bomb in WWI and WWII. The rest of the street was unscathed by both wars
They were constructed to serve as blowholes for some of the first underground trains in the 1860s, which were steam-driven and needed open air spaces to release their toxic fumes
Which famous architect designed the building officially called the Leadenhall Building at 122 Leadenhall Street which is often referred to as The Cheesegrater?
Sir Norman Foster
Giles Gilbert-Scott
Sir Richard Rogers
Eric Parry
The building opened in July 2014 and was designed by the Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners architectural practice. Whilst most people know of its nickname, fewer know there is a falcons’ nest box on its roof
Which Museum is housed in the former buildings of Bethlem Hospital, commonly known as Bedlam?
The Imperial War Museum in Lambeth
The Design Museum on the Southbank
The Hunterian Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields
The Natural History Museum in Kensington
Bethlem Royal Hospital dates back to 1247 and specialized in the care of the insane from the 1300s. Our word ‘bedlam’, meaning ‘a scene of uproar and confusion’, derives from Bethlem Hospital for the insane
Name the tallest tower in the Palace of Westminster.
The Lord’s Tower
Big Ben
The Victoria Tower
The Elizabeth Tower
It became the tallest square tower in the world when it was completed in 1855
Which London building was designed and built to accommodate the pre-existing wine cellar of Henry VIII?
The Ministry of Defence
The Shard
The Houses of Parliament
The Michelin Building
The wine cellar and Banqueting House are the only two remaining parts of the Palace of Whitehall that once stood on the site
What is the address, and also the official name, of The Gherkin?
122 Leadenhall Street
30 St Mary Axe
20 Fenchurch Street
Crosby Court
Despite its curved shape, there is actually only one piece of curved glass - the lens at the top of the building
In May 1984 the future Charles III (who was then Prince Charles) gave a speech at the 150th anniversary of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). In this speech he famously described what as a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend”?
The lavatories and lifts on the exterior of the Lloyd’s of London Building
Tower 42 (formerly the NatWest tower)
The Broadgate development, adjacent to Liverpool Street Station
The extension to the National Gallery
The Prince made his comments about Peter Ahrend’s scheme for the extension to the National gallery
Which building housed the Ministry of Information in the Second World War?
The Daily Express Building
Apsley House
Shell Mex House
Senate House
Senate House is also thought to be the model for the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s novel ‘1984’
Which much-visited London building was never rebuilt following a devastating fire in 1936?
The Euston Arch
The Army and Navy Club, Pall Mall
The Crystal Palace
The Queen’s Hall, former home to The Proms
The Crystal Palace was first erected in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851 but was later moved to Sydenham in South East London


Author:  Augusta Harris

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