Sailors' Palace, Limehouse, London

Niven & Wigglesworth
Date Built
1901 - formally opened May 21, 1903
680 Commercial Road
As the sign above the door announces, this was once the Passmore Edwards Sailors Palace, the Headquarters of the British and Foreign Sailors Society.  The Passmore Edwards part of that name reflects the financial contribution made by the philanthropist to the cost of the building.  Contemporary reports suggest that he donated £14,000 towards the cost.

The building style is described as neo-Tudor / Arts and Crafts and features warm red brick with Portland stone and "pargeted" lead panels.  Above the entrance is a sculpture of Britannia in the style of a ships figurehead.  In her arms she has two boats each with a cherub blowing wind into the sails.

Reflecting the building's international connections, there was an entry in the Otago Daily Times, in New Zealand, on May 22, 1903 that said, "The Prince and Princess of Wales have opened a sailor's palace in Limehouse (in the East End of London), the new headquarters of the British and Foreign Sailors' Society.  The premises include King Edward VII Nautical School, which is designed to assist 50 seamen in their studies, the limit gradually extending according to the amount of funds." 

According to the website, "The King Edward VII Nautical School was founded in 1902 by the British Sailors' Society and was a shore based establishment from the start. It was set up to train Merchant Navy officers and was based in the British Sailors' Society's Residential Hostel for Marine Officers on London's West India Docks. It had a separate halls of residence for the students on Cromwell Road at its junction with Gloucester Road. The students were bused from one to the other every day."

On either side of the door are a number of commemorative stones including the foundation stone.

The building has a side entrance on Beccles Street.

In 1987 the building was converted into flats.

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