Broderers' Visit to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCDO)

The FCDO building built by George Gilbert Scott in partnership with Matthew Wyatt has seen many visitors over the years since it was completed in 1868. The Broderers added to that list when a group of us visited on 3 June.

The impending General Election meant there were few Parliamentarians around, so we were able to visit all Fine Rooms, guided by Graham Holland, a Liveryman of the Masons. Starting in the huge open courtyard, we learned about the history of the building and how plans in the 1960’s to demolish the building and start again were thwarted by public outcry, a lack of funds and a designation to make it a Grade 1 Listed Building.

Originally designed as a new office block for the Government. It also included the India Office formed in 1858 when the Government liquidated the East India Company and took over the running of India itself, until India gained independence in 1947. The India Council Chamber was built using doors, doorcases, a marble chimney piece and the furniture from the East India Office in Leadenhall Street.

Broderer Neal Manners looking at the magnificent marble fireplace of the India Council Chamber, dated 1730

Broderers in the India Office

We were very lucky to see the Durbar Court, at the heart of the India Office. First used in 1867 for a ball in honour of the Sultan of Turkey, the name “Durbar Court” dates from1902 when celebrations for the coronation of Edward VII were held there.

Broderers looking closely at the marble floor of the Durbar Court, chosen especially to reference a river

Throughout, we saw a number of wonderful ceilings, painted walls, gilded doors and cornices and paintings. Truly a visit to remember!

Does anyone else think there is a resemblance between Broderer Simon Ellis and Lord Palmerston??