The occupants of Maersk House (ex-Beagle House) have been given notice to vacate the building by the end of March so that demolition can commence in Q2 2016.
Multiple planning applications have been submitted for the development to replace Beagle/House House but the replacement of our old HQ building (see see Beagle House - Gleeson Properties) looks to be part of the overall redevelopment/regeneration plan for the Aldgate area (Costar Finance - Aldgate Developments & Aldgate Tower)
Beagle House was originally built for Overseas Containers Limited (OCL) with the HQ staff relocating from various offices on and around Bevis Marks on what was considered at the time the edge of the City of London. The site on the junction of Braham Street and Leham Street which was then known as Gardiner's Corner was selected 1971 with the chosen architects for the nine storey building being Richard Seifert & Partners, a firm which also worked on Centre Point and the NatWest Tower. The construction work was completed in time for Beagle House to be occupied in June 1974.
The name taken for the building is thought to have come from a former Brown & Eagle warehouse which known as 'Beagle House' which was originally on the same site.
The 'Braham Street, London E1 8EP' shipping HQ building, which was designed to accommodate 900 staff, was originally on a 99 year lease with Town & City Properties which in turn had a 999 year lease from Hambro Life who owned the freehold. The chairman of Town & City Properties at this time was Jeffrey Sterling (later Sir Jeffrey then Lord Sterling) who of course became P&O group chairman a few years later.
Prior to the merger with Nedlloyd Lines (following which the HQ function was split between London and Rotterdam) Beagle House housed the European trade divisions (FET, ANZ, etc.), Fleet Management Division (FMD), International Container Management (ICM), the Information Technology Division (ITD), Group Commercial and other key functions such as HR (probably then known as 'Personnel'!) and the Company Secretary's Office. The boardroom was on the 8th floor as was the senior management dining room (closed down along with the ground floor staff bar following the appointment of Tim Harris as chairman). A single storey extension was built to the west for the staff restaurant and as numbers grew Central House just a short walk away on the other side of Camperdown Street was secured to provide additional office space.
Following the A.P.Moller-Maersk takeover in 2005/06 the building was renamed Maersk House and downgraded to regional office status. Over the years various functions have been moved elsewhere and at the time of writing it is understood that Maersk occupy only 2-3 floors. Other tenants are the media/technology companies Sky and Huddle.
The vacation of the building is expected to start before the end of January. Planning for an OCL/P&O Containers/P&O Nedlloyd/Maersk Line event to mark the occasion is underway. Irrespective of whether something inside the building can be organised at this short notice, at least one gathering in a local public house seems likely!
- Historical references from British Box Business - A History of OCL edited by Alan Bott
- Photographs kindly taken by Richard Hyland on 06/01/2016