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sovereign house (HMSO) panorama | by tim caynes
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sovereign house (HMSO) panorama

This would be the sometime-to-be-disappeared Sovereign House, that was, in its time, the home of Her Majesty's Stationery Office. From an Evening News story by Dan Grimmer:


"One of the most iconic buildings which is currently in a state of limbo is Sovereign House at Anglia Square. Reminders of its time as Her Majesty’s Stationery Office have been left behind amid the derelict buildings.

Built in the 1960s, the building in Anglia Square was once the official publishing and stationery department of the UK’s government and home to more than 800 staff.

But it closed at the end of the 1990s and today it remains in limbo. Centenary Ashcroft has plans to demolish it as part of a redevelopment scheme for Anglia Square, but the recession has stalled that scheme for now.

A Norwich City Council spokesman said: “Permission has been granted for the demolition of Sovereign House as part of redevelopment of the area.

“Gildengate House is part occupied, but also has permission to be demolished under the same scheme. However, a new application is expected to be submitted in the new year for a scheme that includes the refurbishment of this block for offices.”

In the meantime, Sovereign House looms over the north of the city, a reminder of the vision of the future which planners had half a century ago."


It is listed in the Norwich City Council conservation area appraisal for Anglia Square as a 'negative landmark', which makes me like it even more.


This panaorama is effectively an 'unwrapping' of the building, as I walked around the entirety of it, attempting to maintain a consistent distance, while taking photos about every 20 metres, which, if you know the place, is practically impossible. I then stitched the photos together to make this panaoramic view of all four sides. If you print this out and fold it in the right places, you can reconstruct your own table-top Sovereign House. Probably.


I did all this about three years ago and have always wondered when I would actually get around to properly merging the joins between the 20+ photos included here. I now know the answer to that is 'never'. I started doing it, as you can see if you look closely at the first couple of joins, but after a few days, I realised I'd need a few weeks, and didn't continue. I did make sure the building itself was properly aligned as far as I could, so that all the windows line up and the corners unravel consistently, but even that was tricky when I simply couldn't get far enough from the building on the upper levels to take a photo without strongly warped perspective.


So this is as good as it will get. And I can't be bothered to do any more to it. I can even be bothered to fix the sky. If anybody wants the original photoshop layered file, you're welcme to poke around in it.


As a permanent record, I think its quite intriguing. As a project, I think its quite ridiculous.


Sovereign House, Anglia Square, Norwich, UK

Satellite view of Sovereign House

Walk around it yourself

Massive view

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Taken in August 2008