“A brief history of the FCO,” published on the Government website, reveals the history behind the Foreign Office building on King Charles Street, London. It lists all the main rooms with insight into George Gilbert Scott’s design inspiration.
The Foreign Office building
Sir George Gilbert Scott was enlisted to design the Foreign Office. Construction began in 1861 and finished in 1868. Scott designed the exterior of the Foreign Office building and most of the interior, save for the India Office, which was designed by Matthew Digby Wyatt.
Scott designed the new Foreign Office as ‘a kind of national palace or drawing room for the nation’. The architecture is unmistakeably neo-Gothic from the outside in and Scott used rich ornamental decoration to impress foreign visitors.
The Foreign Office building was home to over fifty rooms at the time of its construction, with Scott responsible for the overall classical design of them. The Colonial and Home Offices, however, were much plainer because they were seen purely as working buildings. The cost of extravagance was skipped on these.
Scott’s work to be demolished?
Due to a need for expansion, in the 1960s plans were put in place for a new Whitehall with Scott’s buildings set of demolition. Thankfully, due to public outcry, this decision was reversed, and Scott’s buildings were designated as Grade 1 listed buildings to protect them from demolition or any expansion in the future.
You can find out more about the history of the Foreign Office building on the Government website.