Today’s “Independent” carries the sacrilegious story that the Ministry of Defence is under pressure to sell Churchill’s old war offices situated under Whitehall. With over 1000 rooms, 7 storeys, 2 miles of corridors and 7 secret tunnels (if we know there are 7, they cant be that secret!) the under ground offices were built between 1906 and 1910 to a cost of £1.2 million. Estimates reveal that the property is now valued at around £35 million, with the Treasury putting pressure on the MOD to sell to the highest bidder in order to raise some cash.
There’s an old phrase which is used in the business community to describe the deliberate selling off of profitable company – asset striping. May I be the first to introduce a new monocle – heritage striping. Once the working home of Winston Churchill, Kitchener, Lloyd George, TE Lawrence and the infamous Profumo, the buildings represent a great part of this countries heritage. Though not always glorious, it is synonymous of the clerical, administrative and unacknowledged “pen pusher” work that went on behind the scenes during the nations most troubled periods.
To sell these assets in order to balance the books is a national scandal. It is also typical of this current Government’s lack of knowledge of Britain’s historical heritage.
What ever next, a Burger King banner over the entrance to Number 10?