Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Did Britannia waive the rules?

This building on the corner of Whitefriargate and Land of Green Ginger was built in 1886 to house the Colonial and United States Mortgage Company. The architects were one Mr Clamp and our old friend Alfred Gelder. I know nothing of the Colonial and US Mortgage Company, Google refuses to enlighten me. I can tell you that many years after it was built it housed another mortgage company, the Britannia Building Society, later to become the Britannia Bank. Why isn't it still a branch of Britannia? Well you know it's just the old, old story ....

The Britannia Building Society, was caught up in the dying embers of the 2008 crash. It was  formed in the mid 19th century and was the second largest building society until it merged with the Cooperative Bank in 2009. Now I'm not going to say there was a criminal enterprise involved because no-one has been charged with anything but  the Britannia  had a boat load of bad debts (sub-prime garbage) on its books. The merged concern had to be 'distanced' from the mutual Co-op and in effect bought out. Expect a huge legal brouhaha over all this. Meanwhile if you know anyone who wants a Victorian French renaissance style office and erstwhile bank, here's one going spare.

Here's how it looked when new and yes it was enlarged at a later date. And quite how, despite being a listed building, that ornate frontage was replaced with  plate glass dreck is probably a story too murky for sensitive souls.


  1. The style's quite attractive. Hopefully some good use comes of the building.