United Kingdom

This website contains profiles of Modernist buildings in Britain. Each profile contains a description and history of the building, photographs and a location information. The following list of sites are Modernist buildings are United Kingdom. Click the building name or the "read more" link to view the building profile.

Capitol Cinema Radford, Nottingham

The Capitol Cinema Radford

Churchfield Lane, Radford, Nottingham, NG7 5GS

Standing on the corner of Churchfield Lane and Newquay Avenue in the Nottingham district of Radford is the former Capitol Cinema. Opened in 1936, the building continued as a working cinema for five decades before it closed and was converted to a bingo hall and social club. Laterly, the building was purchased and serves as the Mount Zion Millennium City Church. In the inter-war period cinema-going became increasingly popular amongst the British public. Entrepreneurs quickly set up local cinemas to cash in on this popularity. Although cinema the industry in Britain was dominated by large players the business was such an attractive proposition that many independent operators set up with one or a small chain of cinemas to serve a local population or area. The Capitol was one such cinema, designed by Reginald Cooper for the small Invincible Cinemas chain. The more successful operators, such as Gaumont, Granada Theatres or Odeon, were able to quickly grow their business into a national circuit with a presence in most major towns and cities. Yet it is the smaller regional cinemas, that demonstrate some of the most attractive cinema design; without the budget for promotion and marketing as the large cinema chains, the independent operators relied on their cinema's appearance as much as their marketing to draw in cinema-goers. The Capitol Cinema occupies a narrow site along Newquay Avenue with a small frontage on Churchfield Lane. It is fairly awkward plot, and the cinema was built such that auditorium was aligned with Newquay... Read more »
Tags: Church, Cinema, Streamlined Moderne

Regal Cinema Melton Mowbray

Regal Cinema Melton Mowbray

8 King Street, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, LE13 1XA

Standing on the corner of King Street and St Mary's Way in the Leicestershire town of Melton Mowbray is the Regal Cinema. The building is an outstanding example of a smaller regional cinema, all the more remarkable for having been built by a local company and operated as an independent cinema, and not part of a much larger chain like Gaumont, Granada Theatres or Odeon. The cinema opened in 1934 and was built by a local company, Denman & Sons. The design of the Regal Cinema incorporates a two-storey block facing onto King Street, projecting from the cinema's auditorium that can be seen behind and above the street frontage, most notably along St Mary's Way. Whilst the auditorium is clad in red brick, the King Street frontage is clad in faience tiles, in shades of orange and blue, with the base of the frontage clad in light-grey faience. The intricate design of the faience enlivens the frontage and makes it one of the most colourful cinemas in Britain. The King Street frontage comprises two two-bay, two storey wings either side of a central section. The wings have projecting pilasters at each corner, which were originally clad in faience tiles but have been subsequently covered in render. The inner pilasters are taller; all are topped with square, faience tile-clad capitals. Each of the bays is bordered by a projecting surround of narrow blue-coloured faience tiles. Inside the border, the ground and first-floors are illuminated by tall, narrow windows. The white-painted metal-framed windows... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Cinema

Odeon Cinema Leicester, Leicestershire

Odeon Cinema Leicester

Rutland Street, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 1SA

The former Odeon cinema in Leicester is a striking building, designed by Harry Weedon and Robert Bullivant from Odeon's favoured architectural practice. The cinema stands on a corner site at the junction of Rutland Street and Queen Street in Leicester. The cinema housed a single screen and seating for nearly 2,200 customers. It opened on 28 July 1938 and remained part of the Odeon cinema chain for 59 years. As with many corner-site Odeon cinemas the Weedon Partnership used a entrance beneath a curved canopy and frontage. At Leicester, five double doors are accessed up by three steps from street level. To either side of the entrance and canopy are two curved brick wings, carrying the internal staircases providing access to the auditorium balcony. Above the canopy the curved corner of the building is bisected by four projecting piers, each terminating in a curve at top. The piers divide five tall window bays providing light into the building. Architectural detailing is provided above the windows by slender, projecting vertical ribs, curved to the top and bottom. The top of the staircase wings and 'entrance' corner to the building has vertical brick banding, providing relief to the brickwork of the facade. Above that, the 'Odeon' name is carried in large letters across the curved corner, placed over horizontal channels 'cut' into the brickwork. The frontage was 'decorated' with neon lighting, fitted so as to harmonise with the architectural features of the exterior. The lower third of the west side wall is a combination of... Read more »
Tags: Cinema, Streamlined Moderne

Odeon Cinema Loughborough, Leicestershire

Odeon Cinema Loughborough

Baxter Gate, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 1TG

The former Odeon Cinema, located on Baxtergate in Loughborough, is a fine, surviving building from the Odeon Cinema chain. Modernist architecture was almost exclusively used by Deutsch. The chain, started by Oscar Deutsch with its first cinema in Perry Barr in Birmingham owned in excess of 250 cinemas prior to the Second World War. Like many of the early Odeon cinemas the Odeon Newport was designed by the Weedon Partnership, with Arthur J Price assisting Harry Weedon in the execution of the design. Overall, the design features were used on a number of cinemas designed by Weedon. The Tower West Bromwich, built earlier in 1936, was the first (albeit for a independent chain unconnected with Odeon). Essentially a block-shape, the building featured streamlined, chamfered corners on the main elevation. The lower storey was in black faience, giving way to biscuit-coloured faience above. A canopy projected above the main entrance with wide windows set above. The cinema name was carried in large lettering above the windows. The faience at the top of the main elevation was broken with three bands of green faience. Weedon and Price re-worked the Tower West Bromwich design at Loughborough. The black base of the building was broken with slender horizontal bands of green faience. Above, the canopy was more streamlined. Above that the windows were more deeply recessed below a projecting lip canopy. The window section curved back inside the main building with slender, faience-clad piers projecting between the windows supporting the lip canopy above the windows. As... Read more »
Tags: Cinema, Streamlined Moderne

Arnos Grove Underground Station, London

Arnos Grove Underground Station

Bowes Road, London, Greater London, N11 1AN

Standing on Bowes Road (the A1110) in the London Borough of Enfield, Arnos Grove Underground Station is arguably London's most iconic underground station, and photographs of the station and have been used extensively in the media. Of all the Underground stations designed by British architect Charles Holden, Arnos Grove is perhaps the design that represents the best of his work on the London Underground network. In 1926 the City & South London Railway (C&SLR) (owned by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL)) commissioned seven stations for the line's extension to Morden from Charles Holden. UERL was managed by Frank Pick (1878-1941) and it was Pick who was responsible for commissioning British designer Edward Johnston (1872-1944) to design the Underground's iconic 'roundel' symbol and typography. Holden was born in Bolton on 12 May 1875, entering architectural practice in 1892. Subsequently he joined the practice of Henry Percy Adams (1865-1930) in 1899. In 1913 architect Lionel Godfrey Pearson (1879-1953) joined and the practice became the Adams, Holden and Pearson Partnership. The success of Holden's work for C&SLR/UERL led to more commissions, most notably for new stations on the Piccadilly Line. The Piccadilly Line was extended in the 1930s northwards from its then northern terminus at Finsbury Park to Arnos Grove in September 1932; its final northernmost station was built at Cockfosters in July 1933. Holden used a number of different basic concepts for his designs, with variations to these concepts producing a unique legacy of stations in London. Arnos Grove Underground Station has a cross-shaped... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Transport

Boston Manor Station, Brentford

Boston Manor Station

Boston Manor Road, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 9LQ

Standing on Boston Manor Road in Brentford, close to Junction 4 of the M4 Motorway in London, Boston Manor Station is a station serving the Piccadilly Line on London Underground. In the early 1930s public transport in London was operated by a multitude of separate companies. This saw large companies such as the Underground Electric Railways Company of London, which operated a number of underground lines including the Northern and Piccadilly lines, providing services alongside numerous smaller companies. In 1933 the London Passenger Transport Act sought to consolidate public transport services within the designated 'London Passenger Transport Area' under the auspices of the London Passenger Transport Board (London Transport). Underground and over-ground lines, buses, coaches and trams were combined, although separate 'brands' were created. For example inner London buses were red (such as the Routemaster) whilst in the outer areas 'Green Line' buses were dark green. From the outset London Transport was managed by Frank Pick (1878-1941). Pick was an enlightened leader for the company, with an appreciation for good design. Previously, as Managing Director of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London he had commissioned designer Edward Johnston (1872-1944) to design a typography and Underground 'roundel' symbol for the company. Frank Pick had also commissioned British architect Charles Holden to work on designs for the Underground Company. Charles Holden was born in Bolton on 12 May 1875. He entered architectural practice in 1892 and joined the practice of Henry Percy Adams (1865-1930) in 1899. In 1913 architect Lionel Godfrey Pearson (1879-1953) joined... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Transport

Lion House, Richmond, Surrey

Lion House

Red Lion Street, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1RE

Throughout Greater London there are many Modernist multi-use buildings. Lion House on Red Lion Street in Richmond, Surrvey is a fine example of such an building, built very much for utilitarian purposes. Lion House stands in the centre of Richmond just off the central Hill Street/George Street thoroughfare. Like so many Modernist buildings in Britain Lion House provides a contrast to the traditional buildings in historic Richmond, not only in its style but also its scale (it is considerably larger than all the buildings in the immediate surroundings). However, opposite is another Modernist building, the Odeon Richmond which still operates as a cinema to this day. Lion House is a five storey building, primarily faced in light brick from the first floor upwards. The ground floor is tiled in contrasting horizontal bands of black and white tiles beneath a projecting canopy. The ground floor is currently used for commercial purposes. Above, the remaining floors mirror the banding of the tiles below with thick bands of white render below the window lines. The main elevation features ten bays, three of which are have curved bay windows for three storeys. The windows are Crittall-style metal windows. The right-most corner of Lion House features a projecting corner tower, providing an entrance to the building at ground level. The south-west corner of the tower features a corner window extending the full height of the tower with a projecting canopy lip, itself beneath a larger, flat canopy roof. There are three vertical flagpoles atop the uppermost canopy. The fifth... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Commercial

Cockfosters Station, London

Cockfosters Station

Cockfosters Road, Barnet, Hertfordshire, EN4 0DZ

Standing on Cockfosters Road (the A111) in Barnet, north London, Cockfosters Station is a station serving as the northern terminus of the Piccadilly Line on London Underground. Today, the underground system is operated as a unified system, however in the early 1930s public transport in London was operated by a number of separate companies, including the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL). UERL operated a number of underground lines including the Northern and Piccadilly lines. UERL was managed by Frank Pick (1878-1941). Pick's involvement with London's Underground system is evident today in the network's stations and branding. Pick commissioned British designer Edward Johnston (1872-1944) to design a typography and Underground 'roundel' symbol for the company. As the Underground lines were extended out of central London Pick commissioned British architect Charles Holden to design many of the new stations required. Charles Holden was born in Bolton on 12 May 1875. He entered architectural practice in 1892 and joined the practice of Henry Percy Adams (1865-1930) in 1899. In 1913 architect Lionel Godfrey Pearson (1879-1953) joined and the practice became the Adams, Holden and Pearson Partnership. Holden's first worked under the supervision of Stanley Heaps (1880-1962), head of the Underground Group's Architects Office. However, Pick soon commissioned Holden directly, designing seven stations for UERL's Northern Line extension to Morden in 1926. Holden implemented a modern style, which set the style for London Underground design up until the Second World War. The Piccadilly Line was one such line that was extended in the 1930s; it... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Transport

Eastcote Station, Ruislip

Eastcote Station

Field End Road, Ruislip, Middlesex, HA5 1QZ

Standing on Field End Road in Ruislip, Middlesex, Eastcote Station is a station serving both the Metropolitan and Piccadilly Lines on London Underground. In the early 1930s public transport in London was operated by a multitude of separate companies. Large companies such as the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (which operated a number of underground lines including the Central and Piccadilly lines) and the Metropolitan Railway (which operated London's first underground line), alongside numerous small bus companies operated a fragmented service to passengers. In 1933 the London Passenger Transport Act sought to consolidate public transport services within the designated 'London Passenger Transport Area' under the auspices of the London Passenger Transport Board (London Transport). Underground and over-ground lines, buses, coaches and trams were combined, although separate 'brands' were created. For example inner London buses were red (such as the Routemaster) whilst in the outer areas 'Green Line' buses were dark green. From late 1933 London Transport extended the Piccadilly Line westwards from South Harrow to Uxbridge. Eastcote Station was designed in 1936 by Charles Holden but was not opened until 1939. Charles Holden was born in Bolton on 12 May 1875. He entered architectural practice in 1892 and joined the practice of Henry Percy Adams (1865-1930) in 1899. In 1913 architect Lionel Godfrey Pearson (1879-1953) joined and the practice became the Adams, Holden and Pearson Partnership. At the time of London Transport's formation, Frank Pick (1878-1941) - previously Managing Director of Underground Electric Railways Company of London - became Managing Director. In... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Transport

Grosvenor Cinema Rayners Lane, Harrow

Grosvenor Cinema Rayners Lane

440 Alexandra Avenue, Harrow, Middlesex, HA2 9TL

Standing on Alexandra Avenue in Harrow, Middlesex, the former Grosvenor Cinema was built in 1936 for the Grosvenor cinema company. The cinema was designed by Frank Ernest Bromige LRIBA (1902-1979). Bromige was a London-based architect practising, at the time, out of Kingly Street in Westminster. His works in London include the former Kingsland Empire in Dalston, the Dominion Acton (later the Acton Granada, now a bingo hall) and the Dominion Hounslow. The cinema was built by the local firm of T F Nash Ltd. With the extension of the Piccadilly and Metropolitan Lines of the London Underground network, there was a rapid expansion of suburban London. Housebuilding proliferated and Nash built a great number of homes on three 'estates' in the South Harrow, Rayner's Lane and Eastcote areas of outer-north west London. The cinema opened to the public on 12 October 1936. The front elevation of the building is very dramatic. At the left corner, three sets of double doors provide an entrance to the foyer. These are set beneath a stepped, curved canopy. Above, the facade is formed of three curved, white-rendered bays: a central, convex-curved bay and two shorter outside ogive-curved bays. The two outside bays have full height metal-framed windows following the same ogive-curve. Within the central bay the curve of the windows is reversed, in a bold, concave curve. The void created between the curves is filled by a stylised concrete form, likened to an elephant's head and trunk. From the roof parapet of the central bay a feature... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Church, Cinema

Hoover Factory Building No 7, London

The Hoover Factory Building No 7

Western Avenue Greenford, Middlesex, UB6 8DW

Building No 7 is part of the former Hoover Factory complex in Perivale, west London. It is one of three surviving structures from the site, built between 1932 and 1938. The site is alongside the A40 arterial route, which runs from the City of London to Fishguard in Wales. Building No 7 is next to the former main office building. Together they are an impressive sight for commuters and visitors entering and leaving London. The Hoover factory site was built for the American Hoover Company as part of the company's expansion plans, when it established a manufacturing base for the company's British vacuum cleaner division. The main office building was constructed in 1932 and subsequently extended in 1934. Building No 7 was built in 1938 as the factory canteen building. Like the main office building, Building No 7 was designed by the firm of Wallis, Gilbert and Partners. The partnership designed some of Britain's finest Modernist industrial buildings. In addition to the Hoover Factory buildings a concentration of buildings by Wallis, Gilbert and Partners can be found on the 'Golden Mile' stretch of the Great West Road (the A4) in London. Although complementing the main factory building, Building No 7 is different in its design. The main building is Art Deco in style, with Egyptian-styled motifs. Building No 7 is in the Streamlined Moderne style. Building No 7 is constructed using a steel-reinforce concrete frame and extends over three storeys. The building extends deeply along Bideford Avenue (which borders the western extent of the... Read more »
Tags: Factory, Streamlined Moderne

Hoover Factory, Greater London

The Hoover Factory

Western Avenue Greenford, Middlesex, UB6 8DW

Standing alongside the A40, to the west of Central London, the Hoover Building is a remarkable landmark for commuters and visitors to London using this main arterial route into the city. Originally built for the American Hoover Company, the factory on Western Avenue was built as a manufacturing base for the company's British vacuum cleaner division. The factory comprised a complex of buildings and were designed by the firm of Wallis, Gilbert and Partners. The architectural firm was established in 1914 and in subsequent decades designed some of the finest Modernist industrial buildings in Britain, including the Firestone Building, a building of similar appearance and equal significance as the Hoover Factory building, needlessly demolished in 1980. The most significant structure on site, the main office building (illustrated above) opened in 1932. The building is constructed using a steel-reinforce concrete frame and has two principal storeys. The exterior is rendered in 'Snowcrete', a type of portland-limestone cement with a brilliant white pigment, that has good durability against weathering. The building's architectural detailing shows the increasing influence of Egypt on art and design following the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter that was prevalent at the time. The building has a very wide frontage, of fifteen bays, with low towers at either side, set back from the main frontage. The windows within the bays are deeply recessed into the body of the building, separated by stone columns, with distinctive vertical fluting. The windows themselves have three vertical glazing bars... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Factory

Oakwood Underground Station, London

Oakwood Underground Station

Bramley Road, London, Greater London, N14 4UT

Standing on Bramley Road (the A110) in Enfield, north London, Oakwood is a station serving the Piccadilly Line on London Underground. It is the penultimate station on the northern section of the line. Oakwood briefly served as the northern terminus during the construction of the Piccadilly Line, before Cockfosters station, today's terminus, was completed in 1933. The expansive underground network of modern London has its origins in Victorian Britain, and is the oldest underground system in the world. By the start of the twentieth century the network was beginning to extend out from what today is considered central London, to the suburbs. By 1908 the Hampstead Railway (today's Northern Line) had pushed out as far as Golders Green and Highate, but it would take until 1935 for work to start on a western extension to the Central Line from North Acton to West Ruislip. In 1933 the London Passenger Transport Act was enacted, consolidating public transport services within the 'London Passenger Transport Area' under the auspices of the London Passenger Transport Board (London Transport). The Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway - today's Piccadilly line - was one such line that was adsorbed into the transport combine. At the time, the line's northernmost terminus was at Finsbury Park, its westernmost terminus was at Hammersmith. In private ownership passenger fares were never quite enough to offset construction costs, maintenance, operation and shareholder returns, while having the capital to develop the network to meet future needs. However, with public funding now available the Piccadilly... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Transport

Osterley Station, Isleworth

Osterley Station

Great West Road, Isleworth, Middlesex, TW7 4PU

Standing on the Great West Road, which runs west out of London to Bristol, Osterley Station is a station serving the Piccadilly Line on London Underground. In the early 1930s public transport in London was operated by a multitude of separate companies. This saw large companies such as the Underground Electric Railways Company of London, which operated a number of underground lines including the Northern and Piccadilly lines, providing services alongside numerous smaller companies. In 1933 the London Passenger Transport Act sought to consolidate public transport services within the designated 'London Passenger Transport Area' under the auspices of the London Passenger Transport Board (London Transport). Underground and over-ground lines, buses, coaches and trams were combined, although separate 'brands' were created. For example inner London buses were red (such as the Routemaster) whilst in the outer areas 'Green Line' buses were dark green. From the outset London Transport was managed by Frank Pick (1878-1941). Pick was an enlightened leader for the company, with an appreciation for good design. Previously, as Managing Director of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London he had commissioned designer Edward Johnston (1872-1944) to design a typography and Underground 'roundel' symbol for the company. Frank Pick had also commissioned British architect Charles Holden to work on designs for the Underground Company. Charles Holden was born in Bolton on 12 May 1875. He entered architectural practice in 1892 and joined the practice of Henry Percy Adams (1865-1930) in 1899. In 1913 architect Lionel Godfrey Pearson (1879-1953) joined and the practice became... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Transport

Park Avenue, Ruislip

Park Avenue

97-99, Park Avenue, Ruislip, Middlesex, HA4 7UL

Numbers 97-99 Park Avenue, and adjacent 101 Park Avenue, are three Modernist houses in Ruislip, on the fringes of suburban-west London. The houses are a stark contrast to the surrounding housing stock on Park Avenue of traditional, brick and pitch-tiled roof, mid to late-twentieth century houses. These Modernist houses appear a curious component of a traditional urban environment, until the story of the development of the three homes is understood. When plans were submitted to the local authority in 1933 by architects Connell, Ward and Lucas, there were initially rejected. Today, we might not realise just how radical and controversial these Modernist homes were. Everything about the design - the concrete-construction, the flat roof, the large glazed areas, the white-painted exterior - were "alien" to Britain. Modernist architecture was "imported" to Britain from Europe and there was a mistrust, almost a xenophobia (Modernist architecture flourished in Germany), towards this style of architecture amongst traditionalists. There were also practical concerns; the flat roofs and large glazed areas were considered unsuitable for the wetter, colder British climate. The revised plans were submitted and accepted, and numbers 97-99 Park Avenue were finally constructed in 1935. Subsequent plans for 101 Park Avenue were approved and that house was built in 1936. Had the British public embraced Modernist architecture, a whole estate of Modernist houses could have sprung up in Ruislip. As it was, no more homes were built in this style. Looking back, the three houses that were built were a failed social experiment in Modernist... Read more »
Tags: Housing, International Style

Perivale Underground Station, London

Perivale Underground Station

Horsenden Lane, Greenford, Middlesex, UB6 7NP

Standing on Horsenden Lane in Greenford, Middlesex (just off the A40 Western Avenue), Perivale is an underground station on the western part of the Central Line. Until the early 1930s public transport in London was operated by a many separate private companies, together operating a fragmented service to passengers. In 1933 the London Passenger Transport Act brought together public transport in London under the control of the London Passenger Transport Board. Tube lines, buses, coaches and trams were combined, although overground lines operated by the mainline railway companies were not included. Along with a massive merger and restructure of the combined assets of the disparate range of companies, London Transport embarked on a works programme to expand and improve the network. Essentially the private companies had barely managed to make a decent enough profit to reward shareholders and reinvest in the network, so much work was required. Using deep tunnels to push out into the suburbs and then above-ground lines, the Underground network was to expand greatly in the proposed 'New Works Programme'. The 'New Works Programme' saw the development of new line extensions, additional tunnelling and track work, new and redeveloped stations and new rolling stock. The programme, introduced in 1935, planned for five year's development. However, the outbreak of the Second World War saw plans put on hold. In post-war Britain London Transport was much less able to embark on an ambitious programme of works. Not only did the network suffer bomb-damage, but rolling stock, tracks and stations had been pressed... Read more »
Tags: Modernist, Post-war, Transport

Pinner Court and Capel Gardens, Pinner

Pinner Court And Capel Gardens

Pinner Road, Pinner, Middlesex, HA5 5RE/J

Pinner Court and the neighbouring Capel Gardens (illustrated above) lie on Pinner Road in the Middlesex town of Pinner. They were both designed by local architect H J Mark and built by the Courtenay Property Company Limited. H J Mark worked locally, having designed much of nearby Eastcote town centre and a number of fine buildings at neighbouring Rayners Lane. The two 'blocks' of Capel Gardens and Pinner Court lie to either side - to the west and east respectively - of the driveway from Pinner Road to Pinner Cemetery. They are approached by separate, private side roads. The two blocks are set back from Pinner Road by approximately 35 metres and between the blocks and the road are ornamental gardens, with curving paths, large trees, flower beds and grassed areas. From Pinner town centre Capel Gardens is approached first on Pinner Road and comprises a single building to the west of the Capel Gardens side road, and a further three buildings positioned around a U-shaped drive enclosing a smaller ornamental garden. Pinner Court comprises two L-shaped buildings to the east of Capel Gardens. The area sandwiched between the two L-shapes has a smaller ornamental garden and fountain. Art Deco style lamp standards stand with the grounds of both Capel Gardens and Pinner Court. The two blocks are generally built in the same style, with a small number of variations between the two. Each building is brick-built with white render and comprises three-storeys. Each floor has a combination of two and three-bedroom apartments.... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Housing

Rayners Lane Station, Harrow

Rayners Lane Station

Alexandra Avenue, Harrow, Middlesex, HA5 5EG

Standing on Alexandra Avenue in Harrow, Middlesex, Rayners Lane Station is a station serving both the Metropolitan and Piccadilly Lines on London Underground. In the early 1930s public transport in London was operated by a multitude of separate companies. Large companies such as the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (which operated a number of underground lines including the Central and Piccadilly lines) and the Metropolitan Railway (which operated London's first underground line), alongside numerous small bus companies operated a fragmented service to passengers. In 1933 the London Passenger Transport Act sought to consolidate public transport services within the designated 'London Passenger Transport Area' under the auspices of the London Passenger Transport Board (London Transport). Underground and over-ground lines, buses, coaches and trams were combined, although separate 'brands' were created. For example inner London buses were red (such as the Routemaster) whilst in the outer areas 'Green Line' buses were dark green. At the time of London Transport's formation, Frank Pick (1878-1941) - previously Managing Director of Underground Electric Railways Company of London - became Managing Director. In his previous role Pick has commissioned designer Edward Johnston (1872-1944) to design a typography and Underground 'roundel' symbol for the company. Pick adopted a holistic approach to design for London Transport, extending from simple items such as benches, lighting and bus shelters to expansive schemes for stations. At the time this approach of creating a 'corporate identity' was relatively unheard of, unlike today. In 1925 Pick first commissioned architect Charles Holden to design the seven stations... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Transport

Southgate Underground Station, London

Southgate Underground Station

Station Parade, Southgate, London, Greater London, N14 5BH

Standing on a roundabout at the junction of the A1004 High Street in Southgate and the A111 running east-west, Southgate Underground Station serves the Piccadilly Line on the London Underground network. The earliest Underground lines in London were constructed by the 'cut and cover' method. These tunnels were usually constructed under London's streets to avoid disturbance and potential subsidence to residential and commercial properties. Cut and cover tunnels were built at a fairly shallow depth and construction typically involved the excavation of a trench and the building of tunnel in situ before it was covered over. The use of cut and cover lines was not always suitable, for example following street patterns was not the most direct or practical route. The construction of deep tunnels was the only viable solution for an extensive underground system in such a densely urbanised environment as London. These deep tunnels required new construction techniques and were more expensive than the cheaper cut and cover option. However, the deep tunnels allowed the Underground network to expand greatly and by the early 1930s the Piccadilly Line had reached its northern terminus at Finsbury Park. Further development of the Piccadilly Line was completed incrementally, pushing out from Finsbury Park in a series of phased constructions, first to Arnos Grove in September 1932 and finally to Cockfosters in July 1933. Southgate was the first station built after Arnos Grove. Although Arnos Grove Station is the first point where the Piccadilly Line emerges above ground in North London, Southgate station itself is... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Transport

Sudbury Hill Station, Harrow

Sudbury Hill Station

Greenford Road, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 3RA

Standing on Greenford Road in Sudbury, west London, Sudbury Hill Station is a station serving the Piccadilly Line on London Underground. In the early 1930s public transport in London was operated by a multitude of separate companies. This saw large companies such as the Underground Electric Railways Company of London, which operated a number of underground lines including the Northern and Piccadilly lines, providing services alongside numerous smaller companies. The Underground Electric Railways Company of London was managed by Frank Pick (1878-1941). Pick was an enlightened leader for the company, with an appreciation for good design. He commissioned designer Edward Johnston (1872-1944) to design a typography and Underground 'roundel' symbol for the company. Frank Pick also commissioned British architect Charles Holden to work on designs for the Underground Company. Charles Holden was born in Bolton on 12 May 1875. He entered architectural practice in 1892 and joined the practice of Henry Percy Adams (1865-1930) in 1899. In 1913 architect Lionel Godfrey Pearson (1879-1953) joined and the practice became the Adams, Holden and Pearson Partnership. Initially Holden's commissions involved works to station facades supervised by Stanley Heaps (1880-1962), head of the Underground Group's Architects Office. Later Holden's commissions extended to complete stations; in 1925 Pick commissioned Charles Holden to design the seven stations of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London's Northern Line 1926 southern extension to Morden. These new Northern Line stations adopted a modern style which marked the beginning of Holden's influence over London Underground design. But it was Holden's plans for... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Transport

Sudbury Town Station, Wembley

Sudbury Town Station

Station Approach, Wembley, Middlesex, HA0 2LA

Standing on Station Approach, off Harrow Road and a mile west of Wembley Stadium in west London, Sudbury Town Station is a station serving the Piccadilly Line on London Underground. In the early 1930s public transport in London was operated by a multitude of separate companies. This saw large companies such as the Underground Electric Railways Company of London, which operated a number of underground lines including the Northern and Piccadilly lines, providing services alongside numerous smaller companies. The Underground Electric Railways Company of London was managed by Frank Pick (1878-1941). Pick was an enlightened leader for the company, with an appreciation for good design. He commissioned designer Edward Johnston (1872-1944) to design a typography and Underground 'roundel' symbol for the company. Frank Pick also commissioned British architect Charles Holden to work on designs for the Underground Company. Charles Holden was born in Bolton on 12 May 1875. He entered architectural practice in 1892 and joined the practice of Henry Percy Adams (1865-1930) in 1899. In 1913 architect Lionel Godfrey Pearson (1879-1953) joined and the practice became the Adams, Holden and Pearson Partnership. Initially Holden's commissions involved works to station facades supervised by Stanley Heaps (1880-1962), head of the Underground Group's Architects Office. Later Holden's commissions extended to complete stations; in 1925 Pick commissioned Charles Holden to design the seven stations of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London's Northern Line 1926 southern extension to Morden. These new Northern Line stations adopted a modern style which marked the beginning of Holden's influence over... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Transport

Towers Cinema Hornchurch, Essex

Towers Cinema Hornchurch

31 High Street, Hornchurch, Essex, RM11 1TP

The Towers Cinema stands at the western end of the High Street in the Essex town of Hornchurch, which lies within the Greater London conurbation. The cinema was commissioned by the D J James' circuit, which operated a number of cinemas across the Greater London area. Like many of the circuit's cinemas the Towers Hornchurch was designed by the Kemp and Tasker architectural practice, founded by Leslie H Kemp and Frederick E Tasker. The design is striking and comprises a symmetrical faience-clad facade. The main frontage of the building is five bays wide, with chamfered corners and a short return before joining with the main block of the cinema housing the auditorium. The entrance to the cinema comprises three pairs of double doors opening into the foyer, accessed by steps from the street. Either side of the steps are two projecting illuminated displays windows. Outside of these, are ground floor windows, each with a panel set into the centre for advertising. Above the entrance is an illuminated projecting canopy. Above that, the outer bays of the facade are blank, with panels used to carry advertising hoardings displaying the cinema's film showtimes. The three central bays feature double-height windows, providing illumination for the first floor cafe. The windows feature prominent horizontal glazing bars. Above each window is a moulded panel with a bas-relief representation of a Chinese dragon mask and ornamental acanthus scrollwork. The central bays are separated by rounded, fluted columns. Above the double-height windows the facade is broken by two horizontal... Read more »
Tags: Cinema, Streamlined Moderne

Arcadia Works, London

Arcadia Works

Greater London House, Hampstead Road, London, NW1 7FB

Standing on Hampstead Road in North London, opposite Mornington Crescent tube station and half a mile north of Euston Road, the Arcadia Works was built between 1926 and 1928 for the Carreras Tobacco Company. The company was established in 1788 and started business in London in the mid-1850s. By 1907 the company had a large works on City Road (which runs roughly from Moorgate north-west to Angel) in North London. By 1927 the company had outgrown its City Road works. The company commissioned plans for a new London headquarters for the company. Arthur George Porri submitted plans for a classical-influenced building whilst architect Marcus Evelyn Collins suggested a stylised Egyptian frontage. The Egyptian style echoed the increasing influence of Egypt on art and design following the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter. The Egyptian design was married to Porri's overall scheme. The design of the building was credited to the practice of Marcus Evelyn Collins and Owen Hyman Collins with A G Porri and Partners as consultant. Marcus Evelyn Collins was born in 1861 and died in 1944. His father, Hyman Henry Collins (1883 - 1905) was a well-known architect having designed the New London Synagogue in St John's Wood, London. Marcus Evelyn Collins and Owen Hyman Collins worked in practice in London until March 1939 when the partnership was dissolved, although both continued in practice, albeit separately from the same office at 115 Old Broad Street in London. Arthur George Porri was born in 1877 and died... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Factory

Ideal House, London

Ideal House

Great Marlborough Street/Argyll Street, London, W1F 7TA

Ideal House in London stands on the corner of Great Marlborough Street and Argyll Street, just off Regent Street. The building is an impressive structure, standing out from the buildings nearby with is polished black granite facade and gold-coloured decoration. Ideal House was designed by architects Raymond Hood and Gordon Jeeves for the American National Radiator Company. The design was inspired by the American Radiator Building on Bryant Park in Manhattan, New York designed by Raymond Hood and John Howells and built in 1924. That building was an early skyscraper for New York so its tall appearance contrasts with that of Ideal House, however the black and gold exterior is common to both buildings. Completed between 1928 and 1928 Ideal House must have a dramatic sight when completed, contrasting against the more traditional London architecture on Regent Street and in the surrounding area. Ironically, the Tudor-style Liberty opposite on the south side of Great Marlborough Street was built four years previously, yet in architectural style it is centuries apart compared to Ideal House. The building was constructed of large polished blocks of black granite. The upper storey of the building is ornamented with an enamel frieze and cornice in yellows, oranges, greens and gold. The black and gold colours were the colours of the National Radiator Company. The entrances on Great Marlborough Street and Argyll Street were decorated with ornate enamel surrounds, although the surround on Argyll Street was subsequently removed. The building comprised some seven stories, with a recessed attic... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Commercial

Broadcasting House, London

Broadcasting House

Portland Place, London, W1A 1AA

Located on Portland Place, north of Regent Street in Central London, stands the imposing structure of Broadcasting House, home of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) since the early 1930s. Today the building serves as the broadcaster's headquarters for news gathering, radio, television and online services. The building's original purpose was home to Britain's fledgling radio service, the country's first purpose-built broadcasting facility including offices and radio studios. Broadcasting House was designed by architects George Val Myer and Watson Hart, using a steel frame clad in traditional Portland stone. The building rises for nine storeys, with a three storey basement, and extends substantially north for some thirty-five bays along Portland Place. The building terminates to the south with a narrow, rounded main facade on Langham Place, adjacent to All Souls Church, by eminent English architect John Nash. The western side of the building along Portland Place, is higher that that to the east, along Langham Place, where the height of the building diminishes from nine storeys to six, so that it didn't block the light for properties on neighbouring Langham Street. The sloping roof used to bridge the change in height was obscured by the clock tower, a practical and effective design solution. The main facade rises for six storeys and is topped with an ornamental clock tower, with an oval shaped clock and, originally, two latticework masts for long wave and short wave radio; the mast visible today is a replica. Above the main entrance doors, atop a stone lintel,... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Commercial

Isokon Building, London

Isokon Building

Lawn Road, Hampstead, London, NW3 2XD

In 1931 the Isokon firm was founded by Jack and Molly Pritchard and partners. The partners of the company were interested in modern living and sought to design buildings and furniture a modern style. Previously, in the mid-1920s, Jack Pritchard had met architect Wells Wintemute Coates and a synergy between the Pritchards and Coates was formed, all having an appreciation for architecture and modern design for living. The Pritchards purchased a plot of land at Lawn Road, Hampstead, London (near to Belsize Park Underground station) and commissioned Wells Coates to design and build a block of serviced flats. Coates had grown up in Japan, served in the Royal Air Force, and studied at the University of British Columbia before moving to Britain where he set up an architectural and design practice. Properly known as Lawn Road Flats, Coates designed a four storey block of thirty-four flats with two roof-top penthouses. Built of reinforced concrete with cement wash render, the main elevation facing Lawn Road featured a cantilevered stairwell to the left, giving access to cantilevered balconies that are carried the full extent of the elevation. The balconies terminated at the right with a five storey tower providing stairwell access to all floors - the penthouse flat is not accessible by the cantilevered left stairwell and balconies. The stair tower is illuminated by a slender vertical window. The west-facing (rear) elevation, away from Lawn Road, features twelve bays of windows, with balconies on three of these bays. At ground floor level, adjacent to... Read more »
Tags: Housing, International Style

Chiswick Park Station, London

Chiswick Park Station

Bollo Lane, London, W4 5NE

Standing at the junction of Bollo Lane and Acton Lane in Chiswick, West London, Chiswick Park Station is a station serving the District Line on London Underground. The Underground Electric Railways Company of London operated a numebr of lines, including the Northern and Piccadilly Lines, and since 1902 the company had also owned the Metropolitan District Railway, for which Chiswick Park Station was built. The Underground Electric Railways Company of London was managed by Frank Pick (1878-1941). Pick was an enlightened leader for the company, with an appreciation for good design. He commissioned designer Edward Johnston (1872-1944) to design a typography and Underground 'roundel' symbol for the company. Frank Pick also commissioned British architect Charles Holden to work on designs for the Underground Company. Charles Holden was born in Bolton on 12 May 1875. He entered architectural practice in 1892 and joined the practice of Henry Percy Adams (1865-1930) in 1899. In 1913 architect Lionel Godfrey Pearson (1879-1953) joined and the practice became the Adams, Holden and Pearson Partnership. Initially Holden's commissions involved works to station facades supervised by Stanley Heaps (1880-1962), head of the Underground Group's Architects Office. Later Holden's commissions extended to complete stations; in 1925 Pick commissioned Charles Holden to design the seven stations of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London's Northern Line 1926 southern extension to Morden. These new Northern Line stations adopted a modern style which marked the beginning of Holden's influence over London Underground design. But it was Holden's plans for Sudbury Town Station that set... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Transport

Daily Express Building, London

Daily Express Building

120 Fleet Street, London, EC4A 2BE

Located at 120 Fleet Street in the City of London on the corner of Shoe Lane, the former Daily Express Building is one of London's most iconic Modernist buildings. The building was constructed between 1930 and 1932 to serve as the headquarters of the Daily Express Newspaper in the capital. Even today, the building is a striking structure amongst the more traditional stone-clad buildings on Fleet Street and appears futuristic compared to even the most recent additions to the streetscape. In the 1930s, the building must have been such a stark contrast to other architectural schemes of the time. p> Architects Ellis and Clarke (the practice later became Ellis Clarke and Gallanaugh) were commissioned by the owner of the Daily Express William Maxwell Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, to extend forward the existing Daily Express buildings towards Fleet Street. Their original proposal would see a steel-framed structure, clad externally in Portland stone, a scheme similar in principal to that of the Daily Telegraph building further west along Fleet Street. However, complications arose from the physical constraints of the site - it was a relatively narrow plot - and the requirement to have printing presses running through the basement of the existing and new buildings. It meant their scheme was impractical. English architect Sir Evan Owen Williams (1890 - 1969) was drafted in to the project to resolve the problems with the scheme. Williams was an architect and engineer and his company was later responsible for the design and construction of the first section of... Read more »
Tags: Commercial, Streamlined Moderne

Daimler Car Hire Garage, London

Daimler Car Hire Garage

7 Herbrand Street, London, WC1N 1EX

Standing on Herbrand Street in Central London, behind Woburn Place and within walking distance of Russell Square Underground station, is the former Daimler Car Hire Garage. Designed by Wallis, Gilbert and Partners, who also designed the Hoover Factory building and canteen in West London, the building was designed to serve as the headquarters of the Daimler Hire Car Company. The building basement served as a private car park while the upper storeys of the building provided parking for the Daimler fleet, necessitating the construction of a spiralling ramp, which gives the building its unique appearance. Constructed of reinforced concrete and extending over four storeys (and basement level) the building comprises a main block, with a central stairwell and lift core. Each of the storeys features Crittall metal-framed windows forming distinctive horizontal bands. The piers between each window are set with horizontal channels, mirroring those in the windows. The central core has a narrow, continuous vertical window providing illumination into the core. The facade is rendered and painted white, the window frames picked out in a distinctive green colour. The central core window and doorways feature distinctive green and black faience tile surrounds. To the left, the building extends for two bays, before a projecting block extends forward to accommodate a down-ramp to the basement. This left block extends south along Herbrand Street for a further three bays and terminates in a slender four-storey stairwell core, with a narrow slot window. The block rises for three storeys, the... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Garage

Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London

Earls Court Exhibition Centre

Warwick Road, London, SW5 9TA

Standing in West London is one of the capital's premier exhibition centres, Earls Court. Famous for hosting exhibitions, trade shows and concerts, for many years Earls Court played host to the British Motor Show where iconic cars such as the Jaguar E-type and Morris Minor were officially unveiled to the public. The centre traces its history back to 1887, but the current landmark structure at the site was designed by American architect Charles Howard Crane (1885-1952) in 1937. The main building at Earls Court has a concave facade formed of two outer blocks and a recessed central section. For many years the building retained its original unadorned concrete-faced facade (as illustrated) but this was subsequently covered with cladding, which also concealed the original windows with a layer of additional glazing. The outer blocks of the main facade carry two later additions - large advertising hoardings used to promote events at the exhibition centre - beneath lettering spelling 'Earls' on the affixed to the top of western block and 'Court' on the eastern block. The central section comprising five bays. The bays are filled tall windows, with each window topped with a square motif. The central bay motif depicts a knight - an Earl - atop a horse. From left to the right the remaining motifs depict science and industry represented by meshed cog wheels, music represented by musical instruments, sports represented by a tennis racket and archery target, and a thistle and leaves representing flora and fauna. There is a projecting,... Read more »
Tags: Commercial, Modernist

Ibex House, London

Ibex House London

42-47 Minories, London, EC3N 1DY

Standing on the east side of Minories in Central London, less than half a mile north of the Tower of London, stands the Ibex House, a impressive-looking 1930s office block. The building is in the Streamlined Moderne style of Modernist architecture, popularised by the Odeon Cinema chain, but used here for a commercial building. Ibex House was designed by the architectural practice of Fuller, Hall and Foulsham. Today, the practice is one of the lesser known of the period. Fuller, Hall and Foulsham also designed Blenstock House in Cental London, located at the junction of Blenheim Street and Woodstock Street just off Oxford Street, home to the auction house Bonhams. Ibex House occupies a large rectangular plot on Minories, with an extended H-shaped footprint. The building extends for approximately 40 metres on Minories, and for around 100 metres along Haydon (to the north) and Portsoken Street (to the south). Ibex House is built around a structural steel frame, with a western and eastern core providing a space for lifts and staircases. The building ranges over eleven storeys, with a basement level. The top three storeys of the central section on the building on its east-west alignment are stepped back successively, with just the top storey stepped back on its east and west elevations. The exterior of Ibex House is clad in distinctive black faience for its lower storeys and buff faience above. Each storey features black metal framed windows that form continuous horizontal bands of... Read more »
Tags: Commercial, Streamlined Moderne

Park Royal Station, London

Park Royal Station

Western Avenue, London, Greater London, W5 3EL

Standing on Western Avenue, which runs west out of London, Park Royal Station serves the Piccadilly Line on London Underground. In the early 1930s public transport in London was operated by a multitude of separate companies. This saw large companies such as the Underground Electric Railways Company of London, which operated a number of underground lines including the Northern and Piccadilly lines, providing services alongside numerous smaller companies. In 1933 the London Passenger Transport Act sought to consolidate public transport services within the designated 'London Passenger Transport Area' under the auspices of the London Passenger Transport Board (London Transport). Underground and over-ground lines, buses, coaches and trams were combined, although separate 'brands' were created. For example inner London buses were red (such as the Routemaster) whilst in the outer areas 'Green Line' buses were dark green. From the outset London Transport was managed by Frank Pick (1878-1941). Pick was an enlightened leader for the company, with an appreciation for good design. Previously, as Managing Director of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London he had commissioned designer Edward Johnston (1872-1944) to design a typography and Underground 'roundel' symbol for the company. Frank Pick had also commissioned British architect Charles Holden to work on designs for the Underground Company. Charles Holden was born in Bolton on 12 May 1875. He entered architectural practice in 1892 and joined the practice of Henry Percy Adams (1865-1930) in 1899. In 1913 architect Lionel Godfrey Pearson (1879-1953) joined the practice, forming the Adams, Holden and Pearson Partnership. Initially Holden's... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Transport

Portland Place, London

Portland Place

66 - 68 Portland Place, London, W1B 1AD

Between 1957 and 1958 the Royal Institute of British Architects extended its existing headquarters at 66 Portland Place in Central London to meet the expanding accommodation requirements of the organisation. The extensions - both upwards and outwards - were designed to harmonise with the existing Modernist building, designed by British architect George Grey Wornum. His design for 66 Portland Place was implemented between 1933, when the foundation stone was laid by the 8th Baron Howard de Walden on 28 June, and 1934 when the building was officially opened on 8 November by King George V and Queen Mary. Wornum's design for 66 Portland Place saw the construction of a large, six storey building occupying a corner plot. The building extends for three bays along Portland Place, and extends deeply for eleven bays down Weymouth Street. Outwardly the building appears to be built of Portland Stone, but it is in reality built around a steel-frame and reinforced concrete core. The ground floor facade on both elevations has rusticated stonework beneath a plain architrave. There are double height windows to the first and second storeys on both elevations, with smaller square windows to the third floor and fifth floors. The front elevation has a large window in the central bay, extending to the third storey. There is a balcony on the third storey along Weymouth Street. The Portland Place elevation features a bas-relief figure titled 'Architectural Aspiration', while on the Weymouth Street elevation are five bas-relief figures of a painter, sculptor, architect, engineer... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Headquarters, Office

RIBA Headquarters, London

RIBA Headquarters

66 - Portland Place, London, W1B 1AD

Standing on the corner of Portland Place and Weymouth Street near to London's Regents Park, 66 Portland Place is an impressive Art Deco office building serving as the headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The RIBA, founded in 1834, is the professional body for architects in the United Kingdom. The RIBA received its Royal Charter in 1837. Today the organisation has a membership of over 40,000 professionals. The RIBA offers support and training to its membership, it seeks to inform and influence government policy, and has a public programme of different activities from exhibitions to talks. Since 1859 the RIBA had been headquartered at 9 Conduit Street (now a trendy restaurant), just off Regent Street in London. However, the RIBA had outgrown the building and in 1929 a competition was announced inviting submissions for a new headquarters for the RIBA, to be completed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the organisation. By 1932, some 284 submissions had been received by the RIBA. The winning design was by British architect George Grey Wornum. George Grey Wornum as born on 17 April 1888 and entered architectural practice in 1906. In 1916, whilst serving with the Artist Rifles (a regiment of the British Army originally formed in 1859 by volunteers from the creative arts) in the First World War, Wornum was seriously injured. He suffered leg injuries and lost his right eye. He resumed architectural practice after the war and in 1929 submitted plans to the RIBA. In... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Headquarters, Office

St Olaf House, London

St Olaf House

27 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2PR

Standing on Tooley Street, near to HMS Belfast and on the south side of London Bridge in central London, St Olaf House was built between 1928 and 1932 for the Hay's Wharf Company. The Hay's Wharf Company was founded in 1867 ane operated warehouses and wharves on the Thames in London. St Olaf House was built on the site of the former Church of St Olave. The company commissioned the architect Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel to design a London headquarters for the company. Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel was born in Cambridge in 1887. As well as an architect Goodhart-Rendel was a soldier, composer, pianist and writer. In 1913 he inherited the ancestral family home, Hatchlands Park, near Guildford in Surrey. Hatchlands was beuqeathed to the National Trust in 1945 and was handed over to the Trust on the death of Goodhart-Rendel in 1959. St Olaf House is a steel-framed building, clad in white Portland stone. The building footprint is a T-shape with the 'arm' of the T facing onto the River Thames. The building is six storeys high with a wide entrance bay at the Tooley Street frontage. The entrance bay is lit by two large decorative bronze light fixtures. The building name is carried above the entrance bay in tall, slender gilt lettering. Steel columns divide the entrance bay area, with a entrance hall set to the rear. With the exception of the outside corners at ground floor level, the corners of the building are chamfered. To the right of the entrance bay... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Commercial

Summit House, London

Summit House

12 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4QD

Standing on Red Lion Square just off High Holborn in central London is Summit House, an impressive office building in the Modernist style. Designed by the British architect Joseph Emberton with his architectural partner Percy Westwood, Summit House was built in 1925 for the Austin Reed Company. The Austin Reed company was founded in 1900 by Austin Leonard Reed as a gentleman's tailor. By 1911 the company had a flagship store on London's Regent Street, and by 1925 the company commissioned the architectural practice of Westwood & Emberton to design its London headquarters for the company. By the 1930s the company had concessions aboard the transatlantic Cunard Liners Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. The company went into administration in 2016, before the brand name was bought out by the Edinburgh Woollen Mill company. Architect Joseph Emberton and his partner Percy Westwood formed Westwood & Emberton in 1922. Emberton was born in Staffordshire in 1889 and died in 1956. Percy Westwood was born in 1878 and died two years later in 1958. The practice was responsible for a number of designs for Austin Reed shops, including in Glasgow (on the corner of Gordon Street and Renfield Street) and Sheffield (on Fargate, near to its junction with the High Street) although these were in a more traditional style of architecture compared to Summit House. Emberton in his own right was responsible for some notable Modernist buildings including Simpson's of Piccadilly (in London), the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Burnham-on-Crouch and Blackpool Pleasure... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Commercial

Trinity Court, London

Trinity Court

254 Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8JX

At the approximate mid-point of Grays Inn Road in London, which runs from its junction with the Euston Road (near to Kings Cross Station) to High Holborn, stands Trinity Court. Constructed in the space between the old St Andrew's Holborn Burial Ground (dating from 1754) and Grays Inn Road, Trinity Court is an impressive Modernist-style residential apartment building. Trinity Court was built between 1934 and 1935 to plans drawn up by the London-based architectural practice of F Taperell and Haase. Another example of their work is Heathview, on Gordon House Road in north London (near to Gospel Oak Overground station). Although somewhat wider than Trinity Court, the similarities between Heathview and Trinity Court are plain, particularly the bay windows treatment, the balconies and their railings, and the checkerboard pattern on the steps to the entrance. Trinity Court stands out amongst the more traditional buildings on Grays Inn Road, not only in its style, but also in its stature, extending over nine storeys including a basement storey. The buildings is rectangular in plan, with its shorter sides parallel to Grays Inn Road. The front and rear elevations project slightly at each return, giving a Roman 'I' footprint to the building. Built using a steel frame construction, and clad in white-painted render, with a distinctive blue colour to its window frames and railings, Trinity Court is an attractive building and important example of 1930s residential architecture. At street level the main facade is five bays wide, with a central entrance with double... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Housing

Odeon Cinema Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Odeon Cinema Harrogate

East Parade, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 5LB

Standing on the corner of East Parade and Station Avenue in the North Yorkshire town of Harrogate is arguably one of Britain's finest Modernist cinema buildings. Today, the building survives as part of the Odeon cinema chain after eight decades of continuous use as a working cinema. The Odeon company traces its history back to 1930 when the firm established by Oscar Deutsch (1893-1941) opened its first cinema bearing the Odeon name, at Perry Barr in Birmingham, on 4 August 1930. The company saw its greatest period of expansion during the 1930s, as the increasing popularity of cinema-going allowed Deutsch to open in excess of 250 cinemas prior to the Second World War. Like the majority of Odeon's cinemas, the Odeon Harrogate was built in the Streamlined Moderne style and was a product of the Weedon Partnership. Harry Weedon (1887-1970) became involved with the Odeon chain in 1934 and his company produced designs for some of the finest buildings of the period. Although the majority of pre-war Odeon cinemas are in the Streamlined Moderne style, it is curious that Odeon didn't opt for a standardised design of cinema. Today, out-of-town superstores, supermarkets and fast-food restaurants tend to adopt 'identi-kit' designs, with apparent cost-savings in design, construction and operation. However, with very few exceptions, each Odeon cinema was different from the next. Certain design elements and overall schemes were re-used, but each cinema was unique. Many cinemas were designed to fit the plot land they were built upon, or the population they were... Read more »
Tags: Cinema, Streamlined Moderne

Odeon Cinema Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Odeon Cinema Scarborough

Westborough, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 1JW

Standing on the corner of Westborough, at the junction between Northway and Filey Road, stands Scarborough's former Odeon Cinema. The building stands away from the main centre of the North Yorkshire seaside town, located opposite the train station. This impressive building was constructed in the 1930s for the Odeon Cinema chain as part of its rapidly expanding nationwide network of cinemas. The company, founded by Oscar Deutsch (1893-1941), opened its first cinema bearing the Odeon name at Perry Barr in Birmingham on 4 August 1930. The increasing popularity of cinema-going amongst the British public allowed the Odeon chain to grow, so much so that by the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 the company owned around 250 cinemas across the country. The company almost exclusively built its cinema in an Art Deco style. Many were products of the Weedon Partnership. Harry Weedon (1887-1970) became involved with the Odeon chain in 1934 when he was commissioned to come up with alternative plans for the interior of the Warley cinema, then under construction in West Warley, Warwickshire. Weedon himself employed John Cecil Clavering (1910-2001) to execute the designs for the Warley Cinema. The work of Weedon and Clavering appealed to Oscar Deutsch and the Weedon Partnership would go on to design many of the chain's finest cinemas including those at Kingstanding, Sutton Coldfield, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Newport (Gwent) and Scarborough. The Odeon Scarborough opened on 28 March 1936, incorporating a first floor cafe and ground floor shops. The design for the Odeon Scarborough... Read more »
Tags: Cinema, Streamlined Moderne

Odeon Cinema York

Odeon Cinema York

3 Blossom Street, York, North Yorkshire, YO24 1AJ

Standing on Blossom Street in York is the former Odeon Cinema, now operated by the Reel Cinema chain as part of its nationwide chain of fifteen cinemas. The building stands away from the main centre of the North Yorkshire city as, in the 1930s, it was only possible to obtain planning permission to build a cinema outside the walls of historic York. Additional constraints on the design of the cinema meant that Odeon's usual house style had to be toned down. The Odeon cinema chain was founded by Oscar Deutsch (1893-1941). The company opened its first cinema bearing the Odeon name at Perry Barr in Birmingham on 4 August 1930. The increasing popularity of cinema-going amongst the British public allowed the Odeon chain to grow, so much so that by the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 the company owned around 250 cinemas across the country. The company almost exclusively built its cinema in an Art Deco style, and although no two cinemas were identical (Harrogate and Sutton Coldfield came very close), the company's house style was bold and innovative. Weedon's designs incorporated soaring towers and fins; dynamic, curved canopies; facades clad in black and buff-coloured faience pierced with horizontal bands of coloured faience; curved and semi-circular wings; and extensive use of neon lighting. The Odeon at nearby Harrogate is strikingly dissimilar to the Odeon York. Whereas at Harrogate the cinema has a tall tower with a faience-clad facade and curved canopy, the design at York was executed solely in brown... Read more »
Tags: Cinema, Streamlined Moderne

Midland Hotel, Morecambe

Midland Hotel Morecambe

Marine Road West, Morecambe, Lancashire, LA4 4BU

Standing on Marine Road West in Morecambe the Midland Hotel is one of Britain's finest twentieth century Modernist buildings. The hotel was built by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway company, one of many hotels built by the company at station termini across the country. The hotel's position on the sea-front, opposite the railway station, was an advantage to the railway company's passengers at at time when car ownership was still an expensive luxury hobby. The hotel was designed by English architect Oliver Hill (1887-1968) in the Streamlined Moderne style. Hill's earlier works were in the Arts and Crafts style but his later work in the Modernist style is arguably his finest output. The hotel features sculptures by the famous British designer and sculptor Eric Gill (1882-1940), who was also responsible for sculptures for the BBC's Broadcasting House in central London and 55 Broadway, the headquarters of London Underground. Hill's design uses a curved form, following the alignment of the sea-front. The concave side of the hotel forms its main elevation, with the convex side facing out to sea. The eastern range of the hotel comprises a single storey structure with a rotunda facing seawards. Built over a reinforced concrete frame with brick walls, the hotel is rendered in 'Snowcrete', a type of Portland-limestone cement with a brilliant white pigment that has good durability against weathering, giving the hotel a brilliant white appearance. The hotel is built across three storeys, with two wings either side of a central core, housing a magnificent... Read more »
Tags: Hotel, Seaside, Streamlined Moderne

Odeon Cinema Morecambe, Lancashire

Odeon Cinema Morecambe

Thornton Road/Euston Road, Morecambe, Lancashire, LA4 5LE

The Lancashire seaside town of Morecambe is noted for one of Britain's best Modernist buildings, the Midland Hotel. Within the town, however, is another important Modernist building. However, it is one that is somewhat forgotten, partly because of its more glamorous compatriot, but also because its state of repair is poor with the building seemingly unloved and overlooked. The building is the former Odeon Cinema, located on the corner of Thornton Road and Euston Road. The Odeon company can trace its origins back to 1930 when the firm formed by Oscar Deutsch (1893-1941) opened its first cinema bearing the Odeon name, at Perry Barr in the West Midlands, on 4 August 1930. The company saw its greatest period of expansion during the 1930s, as the increasing popularity of cinema-going allowed Deutsch to open in excess of 250 cinemas before the outbreak of the Second World War. Amongst those cinemas was the Odeon Morecambe, which opened in 1937. As with so many other Odeon cinemas, the company employed the Weedon Partnership, led by Harry Weedon (1887-1970) to design the Morecambe cinema. Working with Calder Robson, with whom Weedon had also designed the Odeon Harrogate, the partnership produced a building in the Streamlined Moderne for Morecambe. The building employs many of the signature architectural elements that have come to characterise buildings of the Odeon cinema chain. Many of Odeon's cinemas occupy corner plots in Britain's towns and cities, including the Odeon Morecambe. However, the Odeon Morecambe is located away from the town's centre, a factor... Read more »
Tags: Cinema, Streamlined Moderne

Bank of Ireland Building, Belfast

Bank Of Ireland Building

92-94 Royal Avenue, Belfast, County Antrim, BT1 1DL

Standing on the corner of Royal Parade and North Street in the centre of Belfast (less than half a mile north of Donegall Square and the City Hall) the former Bank of Ireland Building is one of the finest Modernist buildings in Ireland. The building was constructed during 1929 and 1930 to designs by Joseph Vincent Downes. Born in 1891, Downes studied architecture at University College Dublin before graduating in 1920. During his studies Downes worked an apprenticeship at the architectural practice of Lucius O'Callaghan (1877 - 1954) and James Henry Webb (1873 - 1955). After graduation Downes initially worked in London for Sir Herbert Baker (1862 - 1946) before moving to work for the practice of Robert Atkinson (1883 - 1952). Notably, Atkinson worked on the Gresham Hotel in Dublin, which was rebuilt between 1925 and 1927 following damage sustained during the Irish Civil War. In 1928 Downes joined the practice of McDonnell and Dixon (Laurence Aloysius McDonnell, d 1925; William Albert Dixon, 1892 - 1970), for whom he designed the Bank of Ireland Building. He set up his own practice in 1935, subsequently expanding the partnership. In 1943 Downes became Professor of Architecture at University College Dublin, before returning to practice in 1950. He died at the age of 76 on 23 November 1967. Built of Portland Limestone, the Bank of Ireland Building occupies a corner plot and is five storeys tall, with a shallow ground floor storey beneath a piano nobile (main) first floor. The building comprises three bays along... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Commercial

Sinclair's Department Store, Belfast

Sinclairs Department Store

89-101 Royal Avenue, Belfast, County Antrim, BT1 1FE

Standing on the corner of Royal Parade and North Street in the centre of Belfast (less than half a mile north of Donegall Square and the City Hall) the former Sinclair's Department Store is a fine example of Modernist architecture in Ireland, in the Art Deco style. Sinclair's was once one of Belfast's most prestigious department stores. The store on Royal Avenue as seen today was built in 1926 in the classical style. By 1935, Sinclair's was extended with an Art Deco-style addition by Belfast-born architect James Scott, who had previously designed the 1926 building. At its height the store had premises had on North Street, Lower Garfield Street and Royal Avenue. The three streets form a triangle with Royal Avenue to the west, North Street to the east, Lower Garfield Street to the south and with the 1935 addition to the north, at the 'point' of the triangle. According to the Irish Architectural Archive James Scott was born in 1875/76 and died in 1949/50. He designed a number of building in Belfast, but the Sinclair's Department Store commissions were arguably his most significant works. For the 1935 addition to the department store, Scott used a corner site on Royal Avenue and North Street, opposite the Art Deco-style Bank of Ireland building. By occupying a corner site, Scott was able to produce a dramatic, expansive scheme, with facades on North Street and Royal Avenue, and the main facade on the corner of North Street and Royal Avenue. The building extends over five storeys,... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Commercial

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea

The De La Warr Pavilion

Marina, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, TN40 1DP

The Victorian era saw a rapid growth of seaside resorts around the coast of Britain, fuelled by a number of factors. In Britain, working conditions for workers were improving, driven by worker's unions and increased acceptance of workers rights. The 1871 Bank Holidays Act granted workers four days when banks and offices were closed, the first guaranteed holidays for workers across Britain; while in 1909 Trade Boards Act created four trade boards that could determine minimum wages in certain industries, giving more workers higher wages. The expansion of the railways pushed out from the major cities to reach smaller seaside towns. Together, increasing household incomes and improved transport links to the seaside allowed tens of thousands of working-class Britons to take day trips to the seaside. Entrepreneurs seeking to take advantage of these waves of visitors developed a unique brand of British seaside entertainment from Punch and Judy shows to donkey rides; from candy-floss, to ice-cream and sticks of rock. Increasing rivalry between neighbouring resorts saw seaside towns commission architects and planners to design and build the very best amenities: piers, lidos, hotels, pleasure gardens and pavilions, all designed to tempt the holiday-goers.  By the end of the 1930s some 15 million Britons annually were taking a holiday at the seaside. Bexhill-on-Sea was no exception. As its population expanded and its popularity as a seaside resort grew the mayor, the 9th Earl De La Warr, formulated an idea for a centre for arts and entertainment for the town. In 1933, an international competition... Read more »
Tags: Modernist, Pavilion, Seaside

Marine Court, St Leonards-on-Sea

Marine Court

Marina, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, TN38 0DZ

Marine Court in St Leonards-on-Sea in East Sussex was constructed by South Coast (Hastings & St Leonards) Properties company. On 30 November 1936 the foundation stone was laid by Robert Holland-Martin, Chairman of the Southern Railway and the building was completed in 1938. Marine Court is fourteen storeys high, and from basement to roof, measures 170 ft/49 metres in height; east-west 416 ft/127 metres in length. When viewed from the east or west Marine Court is very tall and slender, from the beach (south) or north, the full expanse of the building dwarfs all those on the seafront. Marine Court was an early pioneer of steel-frame construction, like the earlier De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea. The building was designed by architects Kenneth Dalgleish and Roger K Pullen, with overt references to the Cunard White-Star Line Queen Mary, which had entered commercial transatlantic service in 1936. The east end of Marine Court is shaped to imitate the curved, stacked bridge front of the Queen Mary; the eastern restaurant served to imitate the fo'c'sle deck of the ship. The south elevation is vertical, with balconies imitating the promenade deck aboard the Queen Mary. The upper stories of Marine Court are stepped-in from those beneath, like the superstructure of a ship, those beneath like the immense hull of a liner. The ground floor shop frontages were black, the external walls of Marine Court were painted white. Marine Court was damaged at its eastern end by bombing during the Second World War and restoration of the building... Read more »
Tags: Housing, Seaside, Streamlined Moderne

Embassy Court, Brighton

Embassy Court

King's Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 2PX

Standing on King's Road on Brighton seafront Embassy Court is a fine example of Modernist architecture. Designed by the architect Wells Coates (1895 - 1958), Embassy Court was built between 1934 and 1936. Coates was a designer and architect and was responsible for many fine Modernist buildings in Britain, including the Isokon building in London and the Telekinema for the 1951 Festival of Britain. Even today Embassy Court provides a striking architectural contrast to the surrounding Regency and Victorian-style buildings on Brighton and Hove's seafront. When built in the mid-1930s its appearance must have been even more radical. However, the scale of the building is better judged in comparison to nearby Marine Court in St Leonard's on Sea, a building that completely dominates its surroundings. The footprint of Embassy Court forms a mirror 'L'-shape on King's Road and Western Street in Brighton. Constructed of rendered, reinforced concrete the building comprises twelve storeys including its basement structure. Embassy Court contains 72 separate apartments, spread across its eleven principal storeys. The main block comprises the first eight storeys. The south-east corner of the building features a curved bay of windows. Each of the first eight storeys has glazed bays with recessed balconies, with adjacent balconies separated by screens. From the ninth floor upwards the remaining three storeys are set back successively providing sun terraces for the apartments, with a final twelfth storey featuring a canopied-roof and sun terrace. The main entrance is on King's Road via a glazed entrance... Read more »
Tags: Housing, International Style, Seaside

Ocean Hotel, Saltdean

Ocean Hotel Saltdean

Longridge Avenue, Saltdean , Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 8BU

Standing on Longridge Avenue in Saltdean, at its junction with Wicklands Avenue is the former (Grand) Ocean Hotel. The Ocean Hotel was built in 1938 and was designed by the architect Richard William Herbert Jones, who also designed Saltdean's Grade II*-listed Lido and residential properties Teynham House, Curzon House and Marine View along Chichester Road East and Marine Drive. The hotel was built by the Ocean Hotels Ltd at a cost of £200,000. Designed in the Streamlined Moderne style, the hotel extends over three main storeys above a basement storey. The frontage of the hotel is concave in form, with a symmetrical design, featuring ranges and outer wings either side of a central core. The ground floor level of the hotel houses the main public rooms of the hotel, including the ballroom. The second and third storeys are given over to hotel accommodation. The central core of the hotel comprises three bays, with the central bay occupied by a large, full height window to the second and third storeys illuminating the hotel's spiral staircase. At the ground floor there are double doors opening onto the hotel foyer, beneath a curved canopy roof. The central bay terminates with a raised parapet, and is topped with a central flagpole. Beside the central core are ranges on either side. Each extends over five bays, with the central bay being narrower than the outer bays. The ground floor windows are set beneath a shallow canopy, while above the horizontal bands formed by the metal-framed windows are separated... Read more »
Tags: Hotel, Seaside, Streamlined Moderne

Saltdean Lido, Saltdean

Saltdean Lido

Saltdean Park Road, Saltdean, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 8SP

Lying three miles east of Brighton, on the south coast of England, is the small town of Saltdean. Despite its size Saltdean possesses two of the finest Modernist buildings in Britain, the former Ocean Hotel and Saltdean Lido. A lido is a public outdoor swimming pool and it was during the 1930s the construction of lidos reached its peak in Britain, and arguably some of the finest lidos were built in this period. Lidos were built across the country, not only on the coast like at Saltdean, but in many industrial cities and urban areas. According to Janet Smith, author of "Liquid Assets" on the history of lidos and open air pools in Britain, 300 lidos and open air pools in Britain have closed, while less than 100 remain in operation. Saltdean Lido was built in 1938 and was designed by the architect Richard William Herbert Jones, who also designed Saltdean's former Ocean Hotel and residential properties Teynham House, Curzon House and Marine View located on Chichester Road East and Marine Drive. Constructed of rendered, reinforced concrete Saltdean Lido comprises a central two storey block with a curved, main facade facing a large swimming pool. Each side of the building has a wing, giving the Lido a symmetrical appearance. The building's ground floor originally housed a foyer, changing rooms, boiler, fuel room and offices. Each wing terminates in a two-storey pavilion, with an internal staicase providing access to terraces above, which occupy the upperside of the ground-floor canopy roof. The upper... Read more »
Tags: International Style, Lido, Seaside

Odeon Cinema Bridgwater, Somerset

Odeon Cinema Bridgwater

Penel Orlieu, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 3PH

The former Odeon cinema on Penel Orlieu in Bridgwater, Somerset was designed by British architect Thomas Cecil Howitt (1889 - 1968). Howitt designed a number of cinemas - at Bridgwater, Clacton, Warley,and Weston-super-Mare - for the Odeon chain. Howitt had previously worked in Nottingham city engineer's department and later in private practice in the same city. His design at Bridgwater aped that at nearby Weston-super-Mare, although the Odeon Bridgwater was a some-what simpler design than that seen at Weston-super-Mare. All four of Howitt's Odeons featured a square tower with a projecting flat slab roof supported by squat, cylindrical columns - the cinema at Bridgwater was the fourth of Howitt's cinema to use the slab tower. The corners or the tower are chamfered, as at Warley and Clacton - only Weston-super-Mare had 'sharp' corners to the tower. The east elevation of the slab tower has two slender full height, slit windows. A curved canopy projects outwards from the slab tower, above three sets of double doors providing access to the street via steps into the foyer. To the left on Penel Orlieu (when looking towards the building) is the main wing of the building, in front of the auditorium. This comprises five bays and originally housing shops at ground floor level - with a canopy above - and flats on the first and second storeys. The windows on the first and second storeys are Crittall-style metal framed windows, the second and fourth bays feature shutters on the first storey and ornate, metal window... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Cinema

Odeon Cinema Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

Odeon Cinema Weston-super-Mare

Walliscote Road, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, BS23 1UW

The Odeon cinema in Weston-super-Mare stands on the corner of Walliscote Road and Regent Street, a quarter of a mile from the sea front of the North Somerset town. The building is an imposing structure and arguably one of the finest buildings constructed for the Odeon cinema chain. The building was designed by British architect Thomas Cecil Howitt (1889 - 1968). Howitt is responsible for a number of significant twentieth century buildings in Nottingham, where he worked in the city engineer's department and later in private practice. Howitt also went on to design a number of cinemas for the Odeon chain. His designs for cinemas at Warley, Weston-super-Mare, Bridgwater and Clacton were all based around a dominant design theme, a square tower with a projecting flat slab roof supported by squat, cylindrical columns. At Weston-super-Mare the tower is positioned at the corner of the site, above and behind the foyer. A curved canopy projects outwards from the slab tower, above five sets of double doors providing access to the street via steps into the foyer. Howitt used a second smaller tower to the left of the slab tower (when looking towards the building from Regent Street), with a large double-height metal framed window. The two 'wings' (enclosing the auditorium behind) either side of the towers on Regent Street and Walliscote Road are both three storeys high, with shop units at ground floor level and offices and rooms above. The Regent Street elevation comprises three bays with Crittall-style metal framed windows. The windows in... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Cinema

Odeon Cinema Newport, Gwent

Odeon Cinema Newport

Clarence Place, Newport, Gwent, NP19 7AB

The former Odeon Cinema, located on Clarence Place in Newport, Gwent, is a remarkable, surviving building from the Odeon Cinema chain. The chain, started by Oscar Deutsch with its first cinema in Perry Barr in Birmingham owned in excess of 250 cinemas prior to the Second World War. Modernist architecture was almost exclusively used by Deutsch; only local planning constraints in particularly sensitive locations - such as historic Chester and York - restricted the design ambitions of Deutsch's architects. Like many of the early Odeon cinemas the Odeon Newport was designed by the Weedon Partnership, with Arthur J Price assisting Harry Weedon in the execution of the design. Overall, the design bears a striking similarity to that of the Odeon at Sutton Coldfield, by Harry Weedon and Cecil Clavering. Again the design of the cinema was dominated by a central 'fin', although the 'Cinema' lettering at the top of the fin found at Sutton Coldfield was substituted with the Odeon name; perhaps the brand was considered sufficiently established enough that the name would speak for itself. In a departure from Sutton Coldfield, the fin featured projecting brick piers with horizontal, projecting brick bands. To the left of the fin was a four-storey block with a tiled, faience frontage for the lower three storeys. The faience was placed in a 'basket-weave' style, providing some relief to the expanse of faience. Adjacent to the brick fin the windows feature a surround of black tiles, providing a horizontal emphasis to the frontage. To the left... Read more »
Tags: Cinema, Streamlined Moderne

Penarth Pier Pavilion, Penarth

Penarth Pier Pavilion

The Esplanade, Penarth, Wales, CF64 3AU

Penarth Pier stands at the junction of Beach Road and The Esplanade in the Welsh seaside town, a couple of miles south of Cardiff. The original pier was designed by H F Edwards and construction began at the beginning of 1894, before its official opening on 4 February 1895. The original pier was fairly simple in form, with a wider landward section, a narrow pier neck, a wider central section housing two shelter structures, and a further narrower section leading to a wider pier head. The pier had a pavilion at its head and two ornamental toll houses, with adjoining small shops, at the landward end. In 1926 the owners of Penarth Pier set about making improvements to the structure. The first stage saw the construction of a concrete landing stage at the pier head, allowing steam ships to call at the pier for pleasure trips. The original toll houses and shops were demolished and a much larger shore-end pavilion building was constructed from concrete. To allow the construction of the new pier pavilion the shore end was widened by the firm of Messrs MacDonald of Avergavenney, to incorporate a supporting concrete frame. The pavilion itself was built by Messrs E J Smith of Cardiff. Designed by M F Edwards, the pavilion adopted the fashionable Art Deco style, with Mughal architectural influences. The most famous example of a building from the Mughal empire period is the Taj Mahal palace at Agra, India. The form of the pavilion is of an elongated rectangular block extending along... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Pavilion, Pier

Washington Cimema, Penarth

Washington Cimema

1-3 Stanwell Road, Penarth, CF64 2AD

Standing on Stanwell Road in Penarth, at its junction with Herbert Terrace, is the former Washington Cinema. The cinema was designed by the Welsh architect Harry Teather (1867-1956) for the Willmore Brothers. The brothers, from London, already owned a cinema in the town called the Windsor Kinema, which opened in 1914. The Washington cinema was named after a hotel that previously stood on the site and was marketed as a luxury cinema. The design of the cinema is Modernist in style, with Art Deco style features and decoration. The cinema occupies a sloping corner site on Stanwell Road. The main block, incorporating the foyer, is a three storey block extending for three bays, with a smaller single bay wing to the left. The main block extends along Herbert Terrace for three bays, with the cinema's auditorium block extending for a further seven bays. The main three bay block features a wider central bay and narrower outer bays. On the ground floor steps lead up to the cinema entrance. Either side of the entrance are small retail units while above is a projecting canopy. The first and second storeys have window bays with a decorative architrave, extending for both storeys, with a rectangular key stone. The windows are metal-framed Crittall-style windows, beneath which are panels with a decorative herringbone pattern. The second storey is surmounted by a pediment, with a ribbed moulding and a central acanthus leaf-style finial. The bays of the... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Cinema, Seaside

Odeon Cinema Kingstanding, Birmingham

Odeon Cinema Kingstanding

Kettlehouse Road, Birmingham, West Midlands, B44 9JD

Located at the convergence of six roads in Kingstanding in Birmingham, the Odeon cinema stands out as a dramatic building as it is the tallest building within the locality. As the cinema is surrounded on both sides by roads it dominates the environment. Designed by Harry Weedon and Cecil Clavering and built between 1935 and 1936, the cinema is one of the best surviving Odeon cinemas in Britain and represents one of the finest works of the Weedon Partnership. This area is particularly fortunate to have two of the most significant surviving Odeon Cinemas in the country; within a few miles of Kingstanding stands the Odeon Sutton Coldfield. Unlike many other Odeon cinemas the Kingstanding cinema employs a symmetrical design. A central section of three slender faience (glazed tiles) fins rise behind the curved, cantilevered entrance canopy with large "Odeon" lettering. The top of the outermost fins features "CINEMA" lettering. Projecting from the main body of the building is the main frontage again featuring faience; the corners are gently, elegantly curved. The main body of the building is of brown brick, the front corners are again subtly curved. The frontage features prominent horizontal banding which flow across the curved canopy from one side of the building to the other. The roof-line of the main body of the building, of brown brick, rises in steps to abut the central fins. The cinema was closed on 1st December 1962 and converted into a Top Rank Bingo Club. Today the building still serves as a bingo... Read more »
Tags: Cinema, Streamlined Moderne

Odeon Cinema Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands

Odeon Cinema Sutton Coldfield

Maney Corner, Birmingham Road, Sutton Coldfield, B72 1QL

One company more than any other in Britain brought Modernist architecture to the attention of towns and cities across the country. The Odeon cinema chain owned in excess of 250 cinemas prior to the Second World War. Oscar Deutsch had commissioned the firm of Weedon Partnership to design a cinema in Perry Barr, Birmingham. The style of that cinema was so well received by Deutsch that this became the in-house style for the three hundred cinemas designed by the Weedon Partnership. The cinema in Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham in the West Midlands was built in 1935 - 1936 to plans by Harry Weedon and Cecil Clavering. The design of the cinema was dominated by a central "fin" with large "CINEMA" lettering at the top. To the west was a two-storey block with tiled frontage, housing the double-height foyer. To the other side of the fin was the main entrance, above which the corner of the building curved elegantly to bisect the eastern projecting wing of the cinema, itself elegantly curved. The geometric style Odeon lettering featured prominently on the left and right hand frontages. Much of the frontage was covered in cream tiles, broken by horizontal bands of green tiles, the rest of the building was faced with brown brick. The horizontal banding was replicated on some of the brickwork producing a "ribbed" effect, on the fin and also the lower storey of the eastern-most part of the building. The Odeon Cinema in Harrogate is a virtual copy of the Sutton Coldfield... Read more »
Tags: Cinema, Streamlined Moderne

Moat Lane Yardley, Birmingham

Moat Lane Yardley

85 Moat Lane, Yardley, Birmingham, B26 1TJ

During the Second World War many British towns and cities suffered extensive damage from aerial bombing by the German Luftwaffe. Industrial assets - including factories, railway stations and ports - were targeted by German forces in an attempt to disrupt Britain's production of armaments, munitions, aircraft, vehicles and ships, along with the movement of troops. Aerial warfare was indiscriminate, if bombs were aimed at a particular industrial complex they could fall miles off target, through poor navigation and bomb-aiming or weather conditions. Area bombing saw significant numbers of aircraft formed overhead to saturate air defences and areas 'blitzed', damaging and destroying large urban areas. Residential areas close to industrial facilities were hit particularly hardly. Many homes suffered direct hits from bombs and incendiaries, which set fire to the house. Others, survived a direct hit but suffered blast damage from high explosives. With the end of the Second World War there was a shortage of available housing for displaced residents in many British towns and cities. Raw materials were in short supply and rebuilding would take time. A short-term solution was sought by the Government, which invited designs for prefabricated homes that could be manufactured quickly and at a relatively low cost, and could be easily and swiftly installed. Some 150,000 prefabricated homes were built in Britain after the Second World War. Although intended for temporary use only, many remained in use for decades. Today only a handful remain in Britain in anything close to the original construction and appearance. English Heritage has... Read more »
Tags: Housing, Post-war, Prefab

Odeon Cinema Dudley, West Midlands

Odeon Cinema Dudley

22 Castle Hill, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 4QQ

The Odeon Cinema Dudley was built on a plot opposite Dudley Castle and opened on 28 July 1937. The cinema stands on Castle Hill, which rises from Birmingham Road to Dudley Town Centre. The cinema was designed by Harry Weedon and Budge Reid of the Weedon Partnership in the Odeon house style. The general outline of the design is similar to many Odeon cinemas, including Swiss Cottage in London, Bolton in Greater Manchester, and Loughborough in Leicestershire. The symmetrical design of the cinema is in a single, brick-faced block outside a steel, inner frame. Both corners of the front elevation feature gently curved corners, the corners distinguished by horizontal channels forming bands of brick that rise the full height of the building. Projecting from the main block is a lower frontage with subtly curved corners. The frontage is clad in cream faience tiles. The faience tiles are grouped with two vertically aligned rectangular tiles forming a square, separated by prominent horizontal and vertical pointing between the faience tiles. At ground floor level the base is clad in black tiles, and above with the same cream faience broken by prominent horizontal green faience bands. The front elevation has five deeply recessed window openings, surmounted by a moulded canopy. Below the windows is a cantilevered canopy beneath which are five doors in recesses mirroring the window recesses above the canopy. Above the window canopy, the five letters of the Odeon name are aligned with the recesses for the windows. Smaller letters, aligned vertically, spell... Read more »
Tags: Cinema, Streamlined Moderne

Odeon Cinema Wolverhampton, West Midlands

Odeon Cinema Wolverhampton

Skinner Street, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, WV1 4LD

The former Odeon Cinema stands on Skinner Street in the centre of Wolverhampton. The Mayor Of Wolverhampton, Sir Charles Mander, officially opened the cinema on 11 September 1937. The cinema was designed by Harry Weedon and P.J. Price. The design was distinguished by a main tower. Set on the left hand side of the building the tall, slender tower features two projecting vertical 'ribs' clad in black faience. The front of the tower itself is clad in buff faience while the sides are characterised with projecting vermilion red horizontal 'ribs'. The 'ribs' terminate just short of the full height of the tower to allow the 'Odeon' name to be displayed prominently. At ground floor level the main entrance sits beneath a projecting canopy which terminates to the left in a 180 degree curve, and to the right in an elaborate 'scroll'. The entrance is clad in black faience with slender horizontal bands of green faience. Advertising boards are located either side of the main entrance. Above the canopy, the facade is clad in three vertical bands of buff faience separate by projecting brick piers. The central band is double the width of the outside bands and is broken mid-height by two slot windows. The uppermost section of faience is broken by further vermilion red horizontal 'ribs'. To the right the auditorium is stepped down in height. Its facade features five tall, double height windows, surrounded by black faience - broken with further horizontal bands of green faience - set into a projecting... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Cinema

A celebration of Modernist architecture in Britain