The term “Skyscraper” is a very subjective term, today the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the world’s tallest at a height of 828 meters, which in old money is 2,717 feet. London’s current giant is the Shard at 310 meters, 1016 feet.
But travel back to 1925 London and the building taking all the attention and the tallest in the capital stood at 43 meters, 141 feet. The epithet “Skyscraper” applied to the building as it incorporated the same steel frame technique that was later widely adopted for skyscrapers around the world. This collosass of the jazz age is Adelaide House.
It was designed in an Art Deco style by Sir John Burnet and Thomas S. Tait, with some Egyptian influences as the UK was still gripped in Tutankhamun fever at the time. The building was named in honour of King William IV’s wife Adelaide, who, in 1831, had performed the opening ceremony of that incarnation of London Bridge.
The building had some other “Firsts” apart from the steel structure supporting it, the first office block the United Kingdom to have central ventilation and telephone and electric connections on every floor. It is the very top that holds most interest, the roof terrace was laid out to fruit and flower gardens, allowing office workers from the building to take their breaks and lunch “Al Fresco”, and should they require a spot of exercise (rather than today’s seemingly obligatory jogging) there was a mini 18 hole golf course and organised exercise classes.