The almost 100-year old residence of the British Embassy has been reduced to rubble as the land sold to Bangkok real estate Central Pattana looks at further expanding Central Embassy mall. The original historical building (opened in 1926) in neo-classical style, the Statue of Queen Victoria and WWI Memorial vanished from their historical compound where they used to be since 1922.
” The British Embassy Bangkok is truly one of the most spectacular British properties overseas. The 43,922 square metres of land accommodates the Ambassador’s residence, 2 monuments, offices, staff living quarters, tennis courts, a swimming pool, greenery and a private pond. In the heart of Thailand’s luxury retail district, it contrasts with other tall structures. It is a symbol of soft power from the colonial era in the midst of the modern day quest for economic development.”
This description comes from an official blog of the UK Government over history. The fact that the “British Embassy is truly one of the most spectacular British properties overseas” largely justified its sale by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
In January 2018, the FCO announced its sale for £420 million, the biggest land deal ever for the FCO. New owners are a venture consortium of Hongkong Land, a member of the Jardine Matheson Group, and Thailand Central Group, which already bought parts of the British Embassy compound in the past to set up Central Embassy mall.
On its Facebook page. the British Embassy in Thailand indicates that in “the future, although the old residence has now come down, it will be rebuilt with its original features on the Wireless Road site by its new owners. The Queen Victoria Statue will stay co-located with the Residence when rebuilt as a testament to the significance of this plot of land in UK-Thai relations. And for the first time in 100 years will again be accessible to the public.” The information is confirmed by the British Ambassador to the UK but they are no rendering available about the future use of the rebuilt residence on the website of Central Pattana.
A video about the history of the British Embassy is available on the official British Facebook page (UK in Thailand) under https://www.facebook.com/ukinthailand/videos/1792477587522593/
The now vanished historical residence is likely to be turned into a restaurant, hotel or eventually a cultural institution… The War Memorial has been saved and was already relocated within the compound of the British Club on Silom Road.