The grand old headquarters of the world’s greatest ocean liners…

If you find yourself on London’s Cockspur street (just around the corner from Trafalgar Square), you’ll be in a place that was once the headquarters of some of the worlds greatest ocean liners.

The bronze relief above by Ernest Gillick can be found above the door of the old offices of P&O (The Peninsula and Oriental Steam Navigation Company) who had taken the building over from the German Hamburg America line in 1918, whose Deutschland ocean liner had held the blue ribbon for the fastest Transatlantic crossing at the beginning of the 20th century.

The relief represents Britain and the Orient, with the large figure to the left that if the Orient, flagged by a boy holding the lotus flower.

The larger figure to the right with three lions on her chest is Britannia. The small boy next to her is holding Britannia’s trident. At the centre is P&O’s logo with the sun rising above the sea. The Latin inscription was the company’s motto and translates as ‘what will separate us’.

You can learn more about the history of P&O through their heritage website:

Next we step across the road to the former home of White Star Line – Oceanic House.

Designed by Henry Tanner Junior and built in 1907, this grade II listed building once sold tickets for the Titanic’s maiden voyage and it was also where the public sought news of loved ones after the tragic sinking in 1912.

Since then Oceanic House it has had many different functions, once as a bank run by Barclays, then as a ministry of defence government office and most recently as the Texas embassy cantina restaurant.

Work is currently underway to transform this grand old building into a luxury apartments.

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