The Commercial Office, 1900-39

Introductions to Heritage Assets

Commercial offices form an appreciable, sometimes imposing, component of most cities and towns.

Housing the administrative and clerical functions of a wide range of commercial and industrial concerns, they were built in increasing numbers in the Edwardian and interwar periods as businesses grew, multiplied and merged. In many instances the buildings became architecturally grander. They were also were typically planned, lit, and serviced to superior levels compared to those of the previous century.

Despite their growing urban presence, commercial offices of the earlier 20th century have received comparatively little scholarly attention, especially those built speculatively by property developers for sale or rent to unknown buyers or tenants.

This document aims to address this gap by providing an overview of the architectural development of the building type in this period. It complements the listing selection guide on Commerce and Exchange Buildings and Introductions to Heritage Assets: The Late 20th-Century Commercial Office.


  1. Introduction
  2. Historical background
  3. Development of the building type
  4. Change and the future
  5. Further reading
  6. Where to get advice

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 28
  • Product Code: HEAG315


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