The Full Story
In 2010, Recclesia Stained Glass was called up by Stanhope PLC and the Museum of London Archaeology Department (MoLA) to assess twenty four panels of engraved glass by artist John Hutton (of Coventry Cathedral fame) which had been identified as being at risk during demolition of the former Legal & General Building, Bucklersbury House in Walbrook, City of London.
There were twelve panels of glass over the north entrance and twelve further panels over the south. The 1960s building had been built over the site of the Temple of Mithras, and Hutton had chosen this as his subject matter on the north elevation, with engravings of characters from Greek mythology. On the south was a continuous Roman scene of soldiers and centurions in a cityscape.
Following some rapidly put together trials, the panels were found to be removable, but in precarious condition. With the bulldozers crashing through the site and the ground beneath our feet shaking, our team successfully removed all twenty four panels from the building over a period of three weeks. The panels were very large but only between five and six millimetres thick, so were incredibly fragile, so it took several sets of very competent hands to do the work! For transport back to the studio, special museum-grade transport boxes were made and a specially fitted vehicle used to move all of the panels to Chester.
At the studio, there was a lot of work to do. The panels were desperately filthy after fifty years in the city centre, and had been covered in bomb-blast film which required removal. Over several weeks, the panels were painstakingly cleaned and the film removed small sections at a time.
Three of the panels had suffered historic damage. It was decided that two of these would be conserved as found, but the third was receptive to a repair by edge-bonding two cracked sections back together, which was performed as surgery as it was quite a tricky process!
Once the studio process was complete, the panels were put into storage until the new building on the site, Bloomberg HQ, was built. During that time, Recclesia assisted with conceptual design work, maquettes, full-size mock-up displays and technical detailing alongside the architectural design team at Foster + Partners, Transport for London, Stanhope, and Hochtief UK. It was ultimately decided that the panels would be put on display in the new building at the entrance to the new Bank Bloomberg tube station. The panels would be mounted in bomb-proof, wall-mounted light-boxes.
In September 2018 the installation took place over a number of over-night shifts. All twenty four panels are now on display in the concourse. The station is due to open to the public in 2019. In October 2018, the Bloomberg HQ building won the RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture, winning the public vote as best new building.