I have spent a bit of time in the last few months sitting in the entrance hall of Old Broadcasting House, the wonderful 1930s building that was the first monumental home of the BBC. It is (or was) a splendid welcome to the building. It has been very nicely restored, but you can't help noticing that it is now equipped with glass panels, security checks and revolving doors that stop any of the unauthorised just walking in. (The picture above manages cleverly to conceal most of that, but you can see the glass on the right.)
I fell to wondering a few weeks ago, as I was waiting there, what it would have looked like in Lord Reith's day. Well the answer is in the picture below, taken 1931.
It's almost identical, except that you could obviously just walk in, wave at the reception, and pop directly up the stairs (no visitor badge or whatever). And as someone I was talking to recently pointed out, whatever the cleanliness of the picture, it was presumably a complete fug of cigarette smoke in almost any period up to the 1990s.
But there's more to it than that. Not only are there the famous Eric Gill sculptures, but as I concentrated on it for the first time last week, I was struck by a long Latin inscription, just visible in the top picture.