Friday, July 24, 2015

Where do we go from here ?

One of a few unanswered questions in the Nikkei purchase of the Financial Times Group is where the hacks are going to be based. The deal doesn't include the grim, stilted, One Southwark Bridge building, home since 1989. Nikkei's London correspondents are based on the 6th floor of Barnard's Inn, in Fetter Lane; their business magazine team are in Regus serviced offices in Berkshire, between Bracknell and Legoland.

The Pink 'Un's first proper home, in 1900, was in 72 Coleman Street, running parallel to Moorgate. When it opened, a print trade magazine wrote ‘a visit to this well-equipped, well-managed office is like ozone to a practical man’.

In 1959, they got another purpose-built home, designed by Albert Richardson, built on a bomb site near St Paul's Cathedral. Bracken House, faced with sandstone from Staffordshire, brought editorial and printing under one roof.  In the 1970s, an office refresh very much of its time led to the newsroom being nicknamed The Blue Lagoon.

In the late 80s, printing and editorial went their separate ways, with the presses going to Nicholas Grimshaw's FT Printworks in Docklands - and the journos heading to what was then thought to be the wrong side of the Thames. There have been an number of re-stacks of the building, getting more people in from outlying offices, but I suspect they could now manage with something smaller.

Pearson will probably sell - their hq offices are based in The Strand, in the complex which straddles from the south side of the street through to the Shell building overlooking the Thames. Pearson, over time, have bought and sold stakes in Chateau Latour, Doulton china, Madame Tussaud's and Alton Towers.

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