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Database: The Foreign Office

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ACS DB The Foreign Office

By the time George Gilbert Scott was hired to design and build the new Foreign Office building, the original building had fallen into such disrepair that Foreign Secretary Lord Malmesbury was nearly crushed to death when a piece of the ceiling fell on his desk in 1852.

A contest was held to find a design for the new building in 1857, and although Scott's design only came in second place, he was hired for the job at the insistence of Prime Minister Derby, who loved Scott's Gothic style. Before Scott could get any work done, however, Lord Palmerston was elected Prime Minister and demanded that Scott build the Foreign Office in a Classical style. The problem was this: Scott hated Classical architecture. But this was a well-paying job and Scott did not want to lose the money, so he caved. The Foreign Office was finally built in 1868, in a Classical Italianate style. Neither Scott nor Palmerston liked the building. Good job, guys!

Not to waste his own hard work, Scott modified his original Gothic design and used it to create the hotel of St. Pancras station. St. Pancras is now where the French arrive, thanks to a direct train they can take from Paris.

I'll never understand why we made it so easy for them.

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