Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London

24 January 2011

Spy the Admiralty Citadel

It's right at the heart of London, just a stone's throw from Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and the Mall, but many people have probably never heard of or spotted the Admiralty Citadel. Marked above ground by a squat windowless World War II fortress covered in Virginia creeper which has died back a bit, possibly because it is currently winter, it is oddly well camouflaged for such a prominent location.

Constructed in 1940-1941, apparently as a bomb-proof operations centre for the Admiralty, complete with gun emplacements, the Citadel has foundations 30 feet deep and a concrete roof 20 feet thick. It is known for its ugliness, described by Churchill as a "vast monstrosity which weighs upon the Horse Guards Parade", and its appearance has even been the subject of a debate in the House of Commons.

Sadly, it isn't open to the public as it is still used as a working building by the Ministry of Defence, but it is interesting to cast your eye over as you walk around the area. For more information click here.


  1. As an out of towner, I love seeing buildings like this in London. They add to the mystery and intrigue of the place. I'll definitely look out for this one next time I'm down although, having probably watched too much of Spooks over the years, I wont linger too long in casting my eyes over it!

  2. I've always wanted to know the history of this building. It does indeed loom over Horse Guards Parade, but has a mysterious charm at the same time. Thanks for this great post!

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys.

    To be honest, Jim, I was in exactly the same position, having walked past loads of times. So, when I was round there for lunch the other day, I took the picture and thought "I'm going to research what that is".

    And this is the result...

  4. Like the two posts above, I was also quite intrigued about this mysterious "brutal" building which seems to, in the words of Winston Churchill, "weighs upon the Horse Guards Parade". My wife was convinced that it is some middle aged prison. Now I know the history of the building.

  5. 1948 I served in a Naval Air Arm Meteorological Unit in the Citadel at the Admiralty which operated with continuity of duties as in WWII.. Weather reports were received by Telex and signals were sent from the adjoining Wireless Room. In close proximity was an office occasionally used by Winston Churchill. L.B barnettlion@yahoo.co.uk