Zimbabwe House, The Strand, London

Charles Holden
Date Built
1907 - 1908
429 Strand
Charles Holden designed this building on the corner of Agar Street and the Strand for the British Medical Association.  It stands five-storeys high with a slate clad mansard roof.  The style is described as neo-Mannerist.  The building has a steel frame that is clad on the lower floors in grey Cornish granite and the upper two floors in Portland stone.  Originally the ground floor was used as lettable shops.  As you can see, it is now home to the Embassy of Zimbabwe, before that it was Rhodesia House.

Holden was a friend of Jacob Epstein and on either side of the third floor windows he placed a series of Epstein sculptures representing the development of science and the "Ages of Man".  However, public moral sensibilities at the time were afronted by the nudity of the sculptures and there was a significant controversy about them.  In the 1930s, under the pretext that the deteriorating sculptures posed a hazard to passing pedestrians, the sculptures were essentially mutilated.  It was justified by arguing that bits were falling off but the result can be seen today in these deformed and disfigured statues.

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