Relief Doors (Middlesbrough, W.F.C. Holden, 1939)

The relief doors on the old National Provincial Bank building (on Albert Road) have somehow survived Middlesbrough’s periodic heritage culls since 1939, when the bank opened. You may know the bank building better as Bar Cuda or Barracuda, but it’ll always be Bar Zantia to me.

Presumed to be the work of architect W.F.C. Holden (who made a similar, silver-coated set at the Coventry branch), these huge bronze panels show designs from various ancient coins (there’s even a nice explanatory panel on the wall next to them). A nod to the enduring solidity of coinage and finance, where nothing can ever go wrong.

Holden himself was somewhat of a maverick who once suggested encasing London’s Tower Bridge in a glass frame during the Blitz. He thought the glass might somehow protect the bridge from German bombs. A unique idea at least, if not a practical one.

Holden’s idea for protecting Tower Bridge was – interesting.

I had no idea about the similar doors in Coventry until reading about it on the excellent Hidden Teesside blog –…/national-provincial…/

Photos by myself and Grace Redpath.

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