London: For almost 70 years, Bush House was the base from where the BBC broadcast to the world in many languages, reporting key events, but now a wave of nostalgia has swept across generations of Indian and other journalists as the BBC prepares to move out of the iconic building.

Located next to the Indian high commission in The Strand, the imposing building hosted top leaders, celebrities and key individuals from across the world as London-based journalists well known to audiences in India and elsewhere interviewed them.

For decades, the BBC Hindi Service was broadcast from Bush House, reporting key events such as Indira and Rajiv Gandhi's assassinations at a time when the news media in India was largely governed by perspectives of the state.

As part of the BBC's relocation plans to cut costs, the World Service will move from Bush House to Broadcasting House in central London in early March. Financial compulsions have already reduced the broadcasting languages to 27.

Rajesh Priyadarshi, who has been working in Bush House since 1997, told: "It hurts. It was not about brick and mortar, it is the spirit of the building that I will always miss. It will always be with me wherever I go".

Besides George Orwell and V S Naipaul, those who worked at Bush House over the years included journalists well known to its large Hindi and other language audiences in India, such as Kailash Budhwar, Onkarnath Srivastava, Ratnakara Bhartiya, Harish Khanna and Purushottam lal Pahwa and Achala Sharma.

The BBC World Service began as the BBC Empire Service in 1932. It started its first south Asia division before India's independence when the Hindustani service was launched on 11 May 1940. The Burmese service began in September 1940.

Other language services soon followed from Bush House: Tamil service in May 1941, Bengali in November 1941, Sinhala in March 1942, Urdu in April 1949 and the Nepali service in September 1969. Many journalists who worked at these services feel a sense of emotional loss at the move away from Bush House.

"Having spent 24 years at Bush House, I cannot imagine a better home for the World Service. Its elegant structure buzzed with the sound of different languages from around the world. The building was a witness to the world's events that unfolded every day," Achala Sharma, who headed the Hindi Service from 1997 to 2008, said.

Journalists recall that leading figures interviewed at Bush House would stay on for informal sessions, including Ravi Shankar, Lata Mangeshkar, Mehdi Hasan, Ghulam Ali, Shashi Kapoor, Inder Gujral, T N Kaul, L K Advani and Qurratulain Hyder.

Pervaiz Alam, a senior journalist at the Hindi Service, said: "Bush House was synonymous with professionalism as well as huge fun. Interestingly, in India, Bush House was so well known that some listeners would write only 'BBC Bush House London' and the letter would be delivered at our desk".

"Almost every evening at Bush House was unforgettable. Great poets, artists and politicians who recorded programmes with us would stay back and join us for a drink in the famous club." he added.

Indian journalists who have worked in Bush House for several years include Pankaj Pachauri, currently the communications adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The iconic home of the BBC World Service was designed by Harvey Corbett and built in 1923 with further wings added between 1928 and 1935. The quintessentially British building was originally constructed for an Anglo-American trading organisation headed by Irving T. Bush, after whom it is named.

It opened in July 1925, and was then considered the most expensive building in the world, having cost around 2 million pounds. Over a Celtic altar at the centre of the portico is the inscription 'Dedicated to the friendship of English-speaking peoples'.

Over many years, all the BBC's foreign language services gradually moved to Bush House. It has broadcast from Bush House for almost 70 years – covering events that have changed and shaped the world.

However, the BBC has never owned Bush House. Its owners have been the Church of Wales, the Post Office and now a Japanese-owned organisation, but for millions of listeners in India and elsewhere it remains the building which mostly represents the BBC.