Icons of England
  • Introduction
  • The Icons
  • Nominations
  • News
  • Learn & Play
  • Your Comments

'The Gherkin'

995 of 1160 nominations


'The Gherkin'

Is this an icon?


'The Gherkin'

Dubbed 'the erotic gherkin' and 'the towering innuendo' by the British press and sometimes known as the Swiss Re Tower after its owner and principal occupant, the Gherkin’s official name is actually 30 St. Mary Axe.

Opened in April 2004, it replaced the Baltic Exchange, an historic building damaged by an IRA bomb in 1992, and was London’s first ecological tall building. The design, which makes the most of natural daylight and ventilation, is expected to use up to half the energy usually required by office blocks.

The Gherkin’s unique structure inspired the judges of the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize to reach what is said to be their one and only unanimous decision in naming it best new building of 2004.

At a height of almost 180 metres, it’s one of the capital’s tallest buildings and has become a visual shorthand for London in TV and film, making appearances in 'Dr Who' and 'Love Actually'.


Your comments

It is a stunning embodiment of modern British architecture that can be seen from all over the capital city

Janey Goldfield

Quirky modern architecture, instantly recognisable, a now familiar part of the London skyline and given a very English nickname.
Michael Parsons



I believe rice, peas and jerk chicken is an Icon of England.

Ade Adeluwoye