Town mouse considers 10 Trinity Square

A life of luxury.

I rather love the Port of London Authority (PLA) building at 10, Trinity Square, EC3. Some might say that this wedding cake beside the Tower of London is a bit over-iced, but London was the centre of world shipping and the PLA, created in 1908 to govern the docks, felt entitled to blow its own trumpet. Besides, it had a rivalry with Liverpool to think about.

Architect Sir Edwin Cooper was just the man for a fanfare. The sense of imperial self-confi- dence is stupendous. Oh, hollow crown! Begun in 1913, work did not finish until 1922, when the sun had begun to set on the Empire. Still, the building enjoyed another historic moment when its boardroom hosted the reception after the inaugural meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1946.

Then, shipping went to Tilbury and the PLA moved out. But, unlike Cooper’s old Lloyd’s building, 10, Trinity Square survived. It’s now being converted to a hotel and deluxe apartments. This follows a trend: the same is happening to Admiralty Arch. Next to Buckingham Palace, 1, Palace Street—originally a hotel, then used as offices— is another super-luxury offering. All treat the historic architecture with a reverence that would have astounded critics a generation ago, when such works were derided. Do I detect the opening of a new golden age?