Visitors to Fielden House can now read about how this House of Lords building in Little College Street played a crucial part in the history of Britain’s railways in the run-up to World War Two.
Sited on the wall in the entrance hall is a plaque which was unveiled by the Lord Speaker, The Rt Hon the Lord Fowler, on 11 October 2016.
The plaque states that Fielden House was built in 1936-37 as the new headquarters for the London Midland and Scottish Railway property division and for the Railway Companies’ Association. It became the HQ of the Railway Executive Committee in the build up to the Second World War. The REC was responsible for coordinating Britain's private railway companies in time of war and were essential to the logistics of the war effort. The REC relocated to emergency bomb proof headquarters at Down Street Underground station on 3 September 1939......
The initiative for erecting the plaque was taken by Lord Faulkner of Worcester, Chairman of the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board and Deputy Chairman of the Science Museum Group.
Lord Faulkner comments: “It was originally intended that the entire wartime administration of the railways would be conducted from Fielden House, with the crucial telephone exchange in the basement. However it was decided that the building would be vulnerable to bombing, so the Railway Executive Committee moved out to the disused Down Street underground station, which it shared with Churchill’s wartime offices.
“In the event Fielden House escaped unscathed and the Scottish Office moved there about 1941 to 1955 after they were bombed out of Whitehall. The Church Commissioners leased it from 1955 to 2001. Parliament purchased it on a very long lease in January 2002 and occupied it in 2005.