Zoë Wanamaker on Bush House
Standing at the end of Kingsway, a grand avenue built in 1907 by Edward VII, Bush House is a huge building, nine storeys high and framed by plane trees.
The building was originally conceived as a luxurious international trade centre, the vision of a rich American industrialist, Irving T Bush (no relation to George!). As the 1920s depression hit, its construction and purpose had to change to the more mundane one of office space. But its glory years began when the BBC moved in to Bush House during the Second World War, and although the BBC is to move out after 70 years, the building remains – still proud and still dominating its surroundings.
Zoë Wanamaker worked with VocalEyes Describer Jane Brambley on the description of Bush House.
The actress Zoë Wanamaker was born in the USA but London has been her home since she was a child.
Her father, the actor / director Sam Wanamaker was blacklisted during the McCarthy witch-hunts and brought the family to the UK when Zoë was three years old.
After training at the Central School of Speech and Drama Zoë began her career in the theatre and from 1976 to 1984 was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Her stage work has brought her an Olivier Best Actress award on two occasions, in 1979 for Once in a Lifetime and in 1997 for Sophocles’ Electra.
On screen, Zoë’s face has become familiar to a whole generation of children with her role as 'Madam Hooch', the flying instructor of Hogwarts in the first film of the Harry Potter series. TV audiences know her as 'Susan Harper' in BBC TV’s sit-com Our Family, a role she played from 2000 to 2011.
In 2000 she was awarded a CBE by the Queen in the New Year Honours list.
She is Honorary President of the Globe Theatre, which was founded by her late father.
Directions, Access and Additional Information
On exiting Holborn underground you turn left and walk down Kingsway towards Aldwych. Aldwych is a rather odd semi-circular street which, together with the Strand, maroons Bush House on an island in the middle of busy traffic directly in front of you. Follow the road round and at the traffic lights walk across to the opposite side of the street, which brings you to the entrance of Bush House, between Australia House and India House.
There are a couple of steps up to the main entrance.
The building is not open to the public, except as part of the yearly Open House Weekend event in September.
Parking - No on-site parking, but parking meters available in nearby streets.
There are regular audio described performances available for blind and partially sighted visitors nearby at:
Disney’s The Lion King - www.thelionking.co.uk/access
Holborn - Central and Piccadilly Lines
11, 23, 172, 1, 91, 139, 168, 243, 4, 15, 26, 76, 341, 9, RV1, 59, 68, 171, 188, X68, 6, 13, 87, 176, 8 and 242