In 1881 the Government announced plans for a new building to house both the Admiralty and War Office, to be located just north of Horse Guards. The Office of Works purchased a plot of land between Charles Street and Parliament Square and two competitions to design the building were held in 1883. The winning design was by the firm of Leeming & Leeming, based in Halifax, and was for a large building in a classical renaissance style. The design, which included towers and was considerably taller than the adjacent Horse Guards building, received a mixed reaction. It was eventually rejected in favour of extending the existing Old Admiralty building towards St James’s Park. Leeming & Leeming were asked to submit new designs, which they did in 1888. This image includes their design for the extension. It shows the proposal for a two block extension forming a central courtyard, which was intended to be left open, with only a cloister along the south side. The cloister can just be made out in this watercolour, to the right of the Admiralty building. Work began in 1898. However, by completion the building had already proved too small for its purpose, necessitating a third block, which replaced the cloister to form a quadrangle.
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