Two Temple Place is a dazzling neo-Gothic gem on Victoria Embankment, commissioned by and built for William Waldorf Astor in the 1890s.
Astor emigrated to England from America in 1891 as, arguably, the richest man in the world, and he spared no expense when work began on Two Temple Place in 1892, so the building now provides us with a vivid narrative of his life and the endeavour of the remarkable craftspeople who shaped it. It was originally designed for use as Astor’s estate office by one of the foremost neo-Gothic architects of the late nineteenth-century, John Loughborough Pearson, and in addition to the fantastical and opulent interior, Two Temple Place originally contained the largest strongroom in Europe as well as two other enormous fortified safes, serving as an impregnable bolthole for Astor.
Richard ‘Tigger’ Hoare, who died in 2020, founded the charitable Bulldog Trust in 1983 as a “charity to support charities”, giving millions to small organisations with big hearts. His philanthropic spirit was never more in evidence than in his purchase of Two Temple Place, which he fell in love with in 1999 and gave to the Bulldog Trust so that its stunning interiors could be seen by the public.
In 2011 Two Temple Place became the first London venue specifically to showcase – in major free exhibitions – publicly-owned collections from around the UK. The building is now owned by registered charity The Bulldog Trust, and has to generate income through fundraising and other activities in order to be made available to the public and our London community on a philanthropic basis. This cultural and community activity is growing, and the Trust has committed strongly in 2020 to maximising the charitable benefit of the house, so that Two Temple Place can open more often, to more people, for a year-round programme of arts and cultural events and free participatory activities.
The book ‘Two Temple Place: A Perfect Gem of late Victorian Art, Architecture and Design’ by Barbara Bryant, is available to purchase. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to place your order for £15 including postage and packaging within the UK.
Two Temple Place is owned by The Bulldog Trust, registered charity 1123081.