Monday, April 16, 2012

Bush House Secrets Part 1

As  many of my colleagues at BBC World Service are moving out of Bush House, I've been looking at the building from another angle. The back side. Why? Because it is frankly much more interesting. The BBC never owned Bush House. And they weren't the only tenants. Everyone knows the shot above from the Kingsway entrance.  You may have also waited in the Centre Block reception for "someone to come down and get you". And it's only natural to look up and stare at the incredible ceiling.

But I got fascinated with the other entrance on the South side. Look up and you see a ship sailing across the Atlantic. There are names of US Presidents on the left (Washington, Lincoln, Grant and Hamilton) and names of UK senior politicians on the right (Chatham, Burke, Canning and Bright).  This has nothing to do with the BBC. It was put there by the owner of the building, the American businessman Irving T Bush.

I didn't know that Bush has distant Dutch connections. Irving T. Bush's family name comes from Jan Bosch, a native of the Netherlands. He emigrated to New Amsterdam, later to become New York, in 1662. 

Irving also built Bush Terminal, which has since been renamed "Industry City. It is a historic shipping, warehousing, and manufacturing complex on the waterfront in the Greenwood Heights neighbourhood of BrooklynNew York City. More photos on Flickr.

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