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GREATER LONDON INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY SOCIETY

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Notes from Bob Carr — December 1993

The Hoover building

At Perivale in West London the Hoover Building (former Hoover Factory by Wallis Gilbert and Partners 1932) (GLIAS Newsletter April 1992) can readily be inspected from the outside when visiting the associated Tesco supermarket which stays open into the evening. The factory itself has all but gone and it is the former office building fronting Western Avenue which is the main feature of interest. The supermarket which is behind the office building is not a long walk from Perivale station on the Central Line and you can take some interesting routes through the contemporary housing estate to the west of the Hoover site making use of pedestrian only facilities.

This summer the gardens in front of the Hoover Building were magnificently kept. At night the front facade has been dramatically lit by green floodlights but in houses close by it has not been that pleasant to have everything rendered in shades of green every evening and the practice was being reduced in scale. Inside, next to the supermarket itself, the cafe can be recommended. Numerous period photographs are on display together giving the visitor an idea of what the site did and looked like before the recent conversion. Architecturally the join between new and old and the way in which the two have been combined is well worth attention. Of the new work the doors on the west side which allow delivery lorries access are most impressive and are reminiscent of curtains in front of a great 1930s cinema screen. They should be seen in action. All that is required is a cinema organ accompaniment. This is adaptive re-use in a grand manner. Bob Carr

Mornington Crescent Underground station

Nationally known, at least from the game of the same name, the LT underground station at Mornington Crescent has been closed for a considerable time and seems unlikely to reopen in the near future.

Funding ceased to flow during refurbishment work and despite local annoyance one still cannot get on a train here.

The old station was remarkable in that the booking clerk rode up and down in the lift all day selling tickets. The ticket office was installed in the lift so the clerk could operate the lift as well. Bob Carr

The Great Central Hotel

When well-dressed, GLIAS members might consider a casual visit to the restored Great Central Hotel at number 222 Marylebone Road, NW1. It is possible to pop in, look around and have a drink at the Cellars bar in the basement at the southeast corner of the site. The hotel reopened on 20 February this year as The Regent. The new arrangements include a high central atrium with large palm trees where one can take (expensive) afternoon tea. Joining the hotel to Marylebone railway station to the north is a glazed walkway (porte cochère) currently being refurbished by Mowlems.

The architect of the original Great Central Hotel was Colonel Robert William Edis FRIBA and he produced a massive red brick pile in the Flemish Renaissance style having seven stories and 700 rooms. A cycle track on the roof enabled patrons to take healthy exercise. The establishment opened on 1 July 1899 and was managed by Frederick Hotels Ltd for a long time. During the world wars it was used for military purposes and until recently was the headquarters of the British Railways Board. Members wishing to read more are referred to Chapter 1 of the third volume of George Dow's Great Central (Ian Allan 1965). Bob Carr

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© GLIAS, 1993