Watch This Amazing Video Of London Offices In A Time Before Email

By Zoe Craig Last edited 7 months ago
Watch This Amazing Video Of London Offices In A Time Before Email

This video of London's Shell Building from 1963 presents a rather glossy vision of what office life was like 50 years ago.

In a time before hot-desking, laptops, and email, this video provides a fascinating look-back to when the Shell Centre was brand new.

The Shell Centre in 1963. Just look at that car park!

Innovations include an extraordinary mail room, where containers of letters and papers are addressed with a code, sent via compressed air to one of 44 stations and then on to the right recipient.

The Shell Centre's high tech postal system.

Then there's the mechanised typing pool, where 'girls' (no women or men or boys here) work on audio typing for six or so (presumably male) executives they never need to see face-to-face.

To avoid the 'chaos' predicted if all 5,000 people arrived at what was then Britain's biggest office block the same time, workers' start times were staggered, with some people starting their days at twenty to nine, and others starting at five minutes past.

The work-based gender segregation this video shows seems amazing today.

Can you remember the last time you enjoyed a three-course lunch, paid for by your company, in the office canteen?

This looks a lot more civilised than munching your M&S sarnies al desko.

Then there's the on-site art gallery featuring work by your artistic colleagues; an office swimming pool; sports facilities including a rifle range, snooker room, squash courts, and more; plus an on-site hairdressing salon.

We can't quite decide if this is the best thing ever, or slightly terrifying.

Being able to get your hair sorted and get changed somewhere private before a big night out, that isn't in the cramped ladies loo, would be kind of amazing.

But spotting your boss in their swimming kit by the pool, or feeling you had to do archery after work with the right people in order to get promoted... maybe not so much.

Last Updated 16 March 2017

Jackie

I worked for another oil company - and we had squash courts, gym, rifle range, restaurants, a cinema, bathrooms (You booked with the housekeeper for half hour slots), showers, - lunch was 5p, we would have been taxed if no charge! Fabulous days - went on until the 1990s and then petered out. Don't get anything like it with latest employers :-(

Fred Gear

I think the ladies are punching data rather that typing?