8 Surrey Street
One of the most elegant and opulent Edwardian office buildings in Britain.
Erected on the site of the house of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-1547), Surrey House is a Grade I listed building. It was designed by local architect George Skipper as the new headquarters for The Norwich Union Life Insurance Society, now Aviva.
Skipper produced a splendid yet functional office space. He incorporated various Greek and masonic symbols, together with the themes of insurance, protection and wellbeing in the design of Surrey House.
The main hall (known as Marble Hall) is magnificent - it incorporates over 15 types of marble, originally destined for Westminster Cathedral. The hall has a spectacular glass-domed ceiling, of around 11m in diameter and contains an innovative Edwardian air conditioning system.
The West Committee Room is also impressive; richly decorated in ebony inlaid mahogany it houses the original Board Room table. The Board Room includes beautifully carved mahogany wall panelling and a fantastic collection of ceiling paintings.
Today Surrey House remains as an office building for Aviva. Members of the public who drop by are usually able to look at Marble Hall. However it is recommended that members of the public who wish to visit Surrey House call and book in advance to ensure a guide is available and that the most is made of the visit.
Surrey House is open during office hours, Mondays to Fridays. Members of the public who drop by are usually able to look at Marble Hall. However it is recommended that members of the public who wish to visit Surrey House call and book in advance to ensure a guide is available and that the most is made of the visit.
Free: there is no fee to enter Surrey House although donations to charity are welcome.
Surrey House education pack
The Surrey House education pack is aimed at teachers of Key Stage 4 (GCSE) Business Studies and Art and Design.
The Business Studies element looks at the history of Aviva, the former Norwich Union. The Art and Design worksheets are loosely based around Unit 7B 'What's in a building?', which is part of the DfES Schemes of Work for Art and Design at Key Stage 3. As well as aiding the students' knowledge of architectural features, the building is also rich in symbolism and the use of the natural world for inspiration.
How to obtain
The file is available as a free download via the link above. (It is quite large so may take some time). If you are not able to download it, please call HEART on 01603 305575 and we will send you a CD with the pack on it.