Royal Insurance Building, Liverpool

WAG 10819


The Royal Insurance building of (1897 - 1903) belongs to a new breed of giant office blocks which began to appear in Liverpool from the 1890s onwards, reaching a climax in the three great buildings at the Pier Head. In this drawing its domed tower is shown rearing above a huddle of late Georgian warehouses in North John Street and the modest office known at 'The Temple (1864-4) in Dale Street. The drawing differs in certain details from the completed building and represents a stage in the development of the final design. The historical style of the Royal Insurance building, derived from English and Dutch architecture of the 17th century, belies its advanced technology: internally it is supported by a steel frame, which leaves the ground floor free from columns, perhaps the earliest example in Britain of this type of construction.