The area to the north of London Wall was almost completely levelled during the Blitz and was essentially a blank canvas for reconstruction… work that is still going on and if you know where to look there are still some bomb sites waiting for someone to come along and fill the gap.
For inspiration the planners looked to Stockholm where, in 1946, a plan had been tabled to create a similar business area consisting of a line of five Modernist ‘slabs’ in the Hötorget (Haymarket) area – each a curtain-walled office block and all of them aligned alongside an arterial road. By the time construction began in 1952 the plans dictated that each should be 18 stories high (with all surrounding buildings limited to two) and all be of a very similar design… each was worked on by a different architect but the limitations imposed by the city meant that they looked pretty much the same.
Key to the scheme was the addition in 1953 of a series of raised pedestrian walkways, complete with shops and connecting bridges… which for anyone who’s been along London Wall will sound spookily familiar to the desolate raised pedestrian areas in the vicinity. London’s planners wanted their own Hötorget and similar restrictions were placed on the architects – as with Stockholm five blocks were built (Moor House (1961), St Alphage House (1962) and Lee House (1962) to the North of London Wall, 40 Basinghall Street (1964) and Royex House (1962) to the South) and each looked almost identical apart from slight variations such as the colour of the strips along the bottom of the windows, although the windows themselves were all identically sized.