The CPGB party centre

The CPGB party centre
16 King Street
Covent Garden
London WC2

The headquarters of the old Communist Party of Great Britain was part of the Covent Garden scene for the best part of the 20th century along with the fruit, flowers and vegetable market and the Moss Bros. formal dress hire store. Now they've all gone.

The premises were bought in 1921 by the newly established CPGB to provide meeting rooms and offices for the leadership and house the Communist Bookshop that acted as the Party's retail outlet for its publications and those of the Comintern and the Soviet Union.

For over 50 years the "Centre" as it was generally known within the Party was a familiar landmark for London comrades. A glass-brick front was added to the ground floor after the Second World War that marred the look of the building and did little to enhance its security.

In the late 1970s the building was sold by the revisionist leadership of the CPGB to the Midland Bank and it is now part of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). The new owners gutted the building and restored the original facade we see today.