It’s taken me over 20 years to get around to shooting the magnificent art deco industrial buildings on my own doorstep. But I had to wait until the light was just so. Like this afternoon.
The stretch of the Great West Road which they flank is known as the Golden Mile and we Brentfordians are rightly proud of them. They were built more or less in the decade from the late 1920s to the late 1930s. The legendary Art Deco specialists Wallis, Gilbert and Partners loom large. Many of the buildings were erected by American manufacturers who needed to establish UK bases to get around trade tariffs. On the north side of the road we have the brick Gillette building which dominated the area until the massive Glaxo SmithKline steel and glass complex was raised in recent years. Gillette moved their manufacturing to Poland in 2006. The building is currently disused.
On the south, partially opposite GSK we have three classic units along a stretch of several hundred yards, all cream/white. These were at one time counterbalanced by the legendary Firestone factory opposite, on the north side. Tragically, this building was hurredly demolished by developers over a weekend in 1980 before the authorities could get it listed. All that remains are some forlorn Art Deco lamposts at the west gate. Unbelievably, the rather fetching central gate was torn down in 2004 to make way for extra parking.
If you’d like to visit these lovely structures, I recommend you park in PC World car park (in West Cross complex, where Firestone was), or take a short walk from Brentford or Syon Lane mainline stations.
I have omitted Wallis House (old Beechams building), further to the east next to the M4 flyover. Also Wallis, Gilbert & Partners, c1940. Picture here.