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October 11 2011

Bank of England builder goes into administration

Holloway White Allom, the construction firm that rebuilt Threadneedle Street in the 1920s, calls in administrators

The builder that remodelled the Bank of England before the second world war has gone into administration.

Holloway White Allom, which only recently completed a refurbishment of the Victoria & Albert Museum, was put in the hands of KPMG last week, it emerged on Tuesday.

Shortly prior to the administrators' appointment, 175 staff were made redundant.

As well as its rebuilding of the Bank of England – described by architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as the 20th century's "greatest architectural crime" in the City, due to its reconstruction of Sir John Soane's original structure – the firm worked on numerous London landmarks.

In a previous incarnation as Holloway Brothers, it built the Admiralty Buildings on Horse Guards Parade, the Old Bailey in the early 1900s and the fountains in Trafalgar Square. It was also active in civil engineering and constructed several bridges across the Thames, including Hampton Court bridge, Wandsworth bridge and Chelsea bridge, and helped construct the "Mulberry harbours", the floating docks used in the D-day Normandy landings in 1944.

In 1960, Holloway Brothers acquired White Allom, a firm with an equally distinguished history in interior design. As well as doing work on the interior of the Waldorf Astoria, White Allom restored St Donat's castle in Wales for the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, did extensive work on Buckingham Palace, and worked on the interior of the QE2 ocean liner.

Holloway White Allom was part of the John Laing construction group from the 1960s until 2002, when its managers took it private.

KPMG has confirmed only that it has been appointed administrators.

It is unclear what pushed the firm over the brink, but the economic downturn has seen huge numbers of construction companies in difficulty.

Data from the construction intelligence firm Glenigan showed Holloway White Allom was working on a £4m upgrade of a Chelsea mansion owned by Viscount Macmillan, the great-grandson of former prime minister Harold Macmillan. © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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