Demolition crews prepare to slice up the old Amex wedding cake

Posted On 29 Apr 2016 at 11:15 am

Work has started to demolish the old Amex HQ, nicknamed the Wedding Cake.

The nine-storey building, commissioned by American Express in 1977 to house its European headquarters, has to come down this year as its demolition was a condition of planning permission for the new John Street HQ being built.

Internal demolition has already begun, and the external building will be taken down in stages over the summer.

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A spokeswoman for American Express said: “To meet timeframes required by the s106 agreement, American Express can confirm it has entered into a contract for the site clearance and subsequent demolition of Amex House.

“Work on the interior has commenced. Exterior works are expected to commence early summer this year.”

Mark Bishop, commercial manager at Syd Bishop & Sons (Demolition), which is undertaking the work, said: “We will be using a high reach demolition excavator to progressively demolish the building from the top down.

“This is the most efficient method of demolition for this type of building and will be a gradual process. As such, the demolition impact on local residents and businesses will be kept to a minimum.”

  1. Warren Reply

    I wonder what the plans for the site are after the demolition.

  2. Rob Reply

    A shame, because It’s actually one of the very few decent pieces of modern architecture in Brighton.

  3. Brian Reply

    Past it’s sell by date, spent 20 years working in there. Had been diamond drilled so many times that the steel reinforcing was compromised, riddled with asbestos and with vaults that were no longer being used as Amex had outsourced the distribution of it’s Traveller’s Cheque business.

    Building had been altered so many times internally that it needs to go – will be glad to see it gone.

  4. Niel Reply

    So what will replace it another more ugly office building for Amex ?

  5. Jon Reply

    Ah, the Travellers Cheque vaults. I started in TCDU in 1986. Ended up spending 15 years in the building doing one job or another.

    • Nigel Reply

      I think I left TCDU in 86. Who did you work with?

      • Fred DYER Reply

        Who was the manager in charge of Travelers cheques. He had a beard. Was it Nick someone ?

        • Loretta smith Reply

          Nick price. You might recall my husband Gordon. You worked on Shift B together!!

          • Martin Stirling

            Mister Price! A lovely man and so well respected, he seemed to know everyone in TCs by name!

          • Fred DYER

            Of course I remember Gordon Loretta. And B shift was the best shift ! Outperformed the others by far according to Dave Griffiths SVP. And Mr Price was a real gentleman. So sad to see Gordon Gregory died. Ex RAF and a good boss. Sorry I’m late replying Loretta, but I never went back after making my comments. I know, I should have.

  6. malcolm marshall Reply

    Why can’t it be used for house?

  7. Brian B Reply

    The site actually belongs to Brighton City Council, a new glass and steel building is around the corner(3 years old now). Like all thing there are various plans in the ether for use of the site when it has been cleared, but will have to wait and see!
    (Worked for Amex 23 years and at least 5 jobs in the Wedding cake)

  8. Dj Reply

    Malcolm you seriously would not want to live in that building. Its very bad for your health.

  9. Curly Reply

    Anyone wants to know.after working on phase one john street and the hidden hotel behind… Removing the hexagon with an ample communal area.. Phase 3 is greenbelting the main road up to the hospital

  10. Liam Reply

    There is quite a lot planned for the site, it forms as phase 2 of the plans submitted to the council.

    https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/sites/brighton-hove.gov.uk/files/ESQ%20Brief%20v2.pdf

  11. Alec Newton Reply

    can some one tell me when there going to actually drop the building so i can go away to avoid the clouds of asbestos as i live near the building !

  12. bert Reply

    Asbestos was removed from tge building 5 years ago , i was an engineer onsite when works took place.

    • John Doe Reply

      Just seen people with full hazmat suits inside the building though, on the bottom floor. They’re either being careful or there’s still some in there.

  13. Fred DYER Reply

    Worked in the computer room for 10.5 years. But started in the security department with Gordon GREGORY as my boss. I moved in before the top two floors were completed. But watched it being built from scratch before joining AMEX. I believe it was waste land before the building was built where lorries and coaches parked. Whilst in security I was familiar with every inch of that building. Jack Livesey was the building manager and caused Taylor Woodrow to go on strike many times due to Jack upsetting them after having been to the pub. Happy times…… Was sad to leave (made redundant) but was happy with the £10,500 cheque.

    • Karen O'Byrne Reply

      I remember Gordon Gregory. Lovely man, sadly died of cancer in the early 1980s. I was his boss Bob Hardy’s secretary for about 5 years from 1978.

      • Richard Hardy Reply

        Just came across this article, My father (Bob) is still going strong enjoying retirement in Seaford. I’m sure you probably know my mother aswell?

  14. Peter Hensley Reply

    An iconic building that has given so many people in and other businesses around Brighton prosperity, jobs and opportunities. To support the community and the current staff, the area should be replaced with a reasonably sized and reasonably priced parking spot for local business and employees, who generate so much for the community.

  15. fran Reply

    and when its finally whats going to replace it,well it will be yet MORE accommodation for MORE students,not like we need MORE social housing eh.

  16. Donna Gilbert Reply

    End of an era. I spent 10 very happy years there, working in Customer Service TSC/TSU and involved in the training/migration of the European customer service centres to Brighton. As so many staff did, I also met my spouse there.

    I shall miss not seeing the wedding cake, peeping above its surroundings, whenever you looked skyward/wherever you seemed to be in Brighton.

    Mr Chris Belton, in particular,I shall never forget how you ruled with a rod of steel over the TSC, bellowing right across the room at times for staff to ‘SIT DOWN’ and get on with their work. Wouldn’t happen these days but, boy did you get results and we all still respected and enjoyed you during your time there.

    Personally, and for the sake and sanity of the staff and residents, I hope the council will be sensible and utilise this space for desperately needed, local parking (though sadly, I hear it’s being used for more apartments and retail shops – probably needed but not quite so much as parking is).

    Farewell, big blue tower – I shall never forget you. You accommodated so much wealth, employment and happiness in the area. You will be missed.

  17. Hanover Jon Reply

    I heard AmEx were going to build a multi storey car park in its place… And allow local residents to park there for free. Seems fair to me.

  18. Stu baker Reply

    They also need to knock down that hideous jobcentre building next door while demolishing the amex building. Built in the 1960s it is well past its sell by date

  19. Mark Skilton Reply

    I worked at Amex from 1974 – 1990 first in 154 and watched them build Amex House which I moved into when it first. Didnt realise until I met a couple from brighton here in France where I now live that Amex House had been demolished! Brought back some memories.

  20. Robert Claxton Reply

    I worked on the American Express building for over 2 years with Taylor Woodrow doing different duties in the building back in 1976/1977, and it was only about ten years ago when i carried out the installation of a glass smoking room on the rear elevation that i was told there are large amounts of asbestos around the whole building especially in the white wedding cake sections where i was asked to carry out torque adjustments to the fixing positions in a small confined area, Taylor Woodrow should be ashamed of letting so many contractors down knowing the implications of being exposed to asbestos and let alone the people that have worked there for the last 40 years, no wonder the decision was to demolish Brightons Chernoble.

  21. Geoff White Reply

    Well that’s made me feel really old. I was there for a year as a labourer with the formwork gang from the ground up.

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