BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place

Handcarved Lettering

The BBC commissioned London Stone Conservation to carve two new memorial inscriptions to match the existing panels at their world-famous site in Portland Place.

The Grade II* listed Portland stone building was constructed in 1931 to the designs of architect George Val-Mayer. The monumental curving Art Deco façade contains many relief carvings and sculpture by Eric Gill and Gilbert Bayes.

Old Broadcasting House, as it is now known, is the headquarters of the BBC and contains many of its principle theatres, studios and offices. During a major renovation and consolidation of services, an extension was built to the rear of original building, designed by the architect Sir Richard MacCormac. New Broadcasting House was opened in 2005 and is now home to many of the BBC’s radio stations, the World Service and main BBC Newsroom.

In the main atrium of Old Broadcasting House, behind the large bronze doors, are a series of hand carved plaques. There is one carved by Gill, in his Perpetua Roman typeface, to record those involved in the design and construction of the original building. There is an additional panel and relief carving by another artist to mark the opening of the building by King George and Queen Mary.

The BBC commissioned London Stone Conservation to design and carve two new panels, to sit alongside the originals, carved into Portland stone blanks left during the construction. The first was to commemorate the official opening of the new extension by the Queen in 2006, with an additional inscription to be carved in situ alongside Gill’s original register, to record MacCormac’s role as architect of the new building. The new plaques were carved as a sympathetic match to the original designs and lettering, but to also stand-alone as individual objects within the BBC’s built and arts heritage.