Tuesday 26 March 2013

Mornington Crescent NW1

Greater London House began life as a cigarette factory built in 1926 by ME & OH Collins for the Carreras company. It is not a thing of beauty, an enormous lump tricked out as a jazzy joke temple to the Egyptian cat-goddess Bubastis. The land of the Pharoahs was incredibly trendy because of the King Tut discovery a few years before. Following trends results in some spectacularly horrible buildings.
The cat motif was chosen because a black cat was the symbol of Carrera's best-selling Craven A cigs.
The original bronze cats on either side of the main entrance were removed when the factory was converted into offices in 1961, replaced with replicas in the restoration of 1998 that also brought back the flashy colour scheme.
But what makes the building really unacceptable is that it was built on the gardens of the Georgian terrace behind, which now look out on the service entrance of this monster. A sad fate for nice Georgian composition.


Anonymous said...

While I take your point about it treading on the toes of the Georgian houses behind it (I wasn't aware of this), I like the building. It is pretty and unusual.

I didn't know the cats were not the originals. That's a shame but better facsimiles than no cats at all, I always say :)

Do we know where the originals are or were the poor things melted down?

He Who Talks Bollocks said...

I agree with Silver Tiger. It is a pity about the Georgian buildings behind, but I do feel that in general terms a lot of corporate architecture from the 1920s and 30s has a sense of play and purpose rarely to be found now. Compared with the monumental, inhuman, dehumanising dreck peddled today such buildings are to be admired and celebrated.

me said...

There is, what I can only assume is some kind of vent for the buildings heating system, an obelix like Cleopatras Needle at the back of this building right in the center with a security kiosk at the base.

Londongal said...

I love this building! So much more unusual than eregimentall columned Georgian townhouses and to actually have a function in life other than housing the rich! And it has cats! And bright colours! Who needs London to look like it does in the Mary Poppins film.