55 Broadway is the historic headquarters of London Underground, built between 1927 and 1929, and encompassing St. James’s Park station. The building features a series of sculptures on the facade by leading artists of the day.
The design of the building by Modernist architect Charles Holden was cross shaped in plan, with wings at the north, south, east and west. Eight sculptures at high level are intended to reference the ancient Greek Tower of the Winds in Athens, with two carved reliefs for each wind by Wyon, Gerrard, Gill, Aumonier, Rabinovitch and Moore, in his first public commission.
A smaller version of Gill’s ‘North Wind’ is now part of Tate’s collection, on display at Tate Britain.
Two further sculptures sit just above street level on Broadway – ‘Day’ and ‘Night’ by Epstein. They were considered deeply avant-garde in 1929 and were heavily criticised in the media for being indecent. Epstein is a pivotal figure in Modernist sculpture, and his approach at 55 Broadway, carving directly into the facade and taking inspiration from ‘primitive’ art, was widely embraced throughout the later twentieth century.