You may think that I have a bit of a thing about Art Deco architecture – in fact I don’t but having shown the Hoover Building here recently I could not help noticing the Daimler Garage on my travels in London. This is not quite as spectacular a project as Hoover but it is clearly from the same stable despite it’s tucked away location. It predates Hoover by one whole year (!) so certainly springs from the same creative impulse that was driving WG&P at the time.
There is not that much information about the building itself but it was built for the Daimler Hire Company to accommodate their fleet of chauffeur driven hire limousines for the rich, the idea being that you hired that car and driver together for three months at a time thereby by eliminating the hassle of having to buy the car and employing a driver. It was also a “try before you buy” scheme in as much as you got a refund if you decided to go the whole hog and buy a car. If you have money to burn, I guess it makes sense.
The building itself is home to the McCann advertising agency and there is very little to indicate how exactly the building functioned as it is all now offices where as presumably at least some of the floors would have been garage space.
Anyway here are a few shots of it. (I didn’t do many as I was running late for my meeting and it was a very dull day!)…
Last weekend I had a CGI shoot in Wembley, to the west of London. I finished at about 1600 and decided to head back home on the motorways. The route to the notorious M25 motorway (the 8 lane car park that surrounds London) takes you past the wonderful Hoover building. Normally when I whizz past I’ve either got to be somewhere else or want to get home but Saturday was different. The sun was shining, it was warm for a change and I wasn’t in a hurry so I turned around (that means going to the next exit to join the London bound carriageway btw) parked up and took at look – for the first time I am slightly ashamed to say.
Hoover have long abandoned it’s flagship edifice. Indeed when I arrived here in the mid 80’s it was a pretty derelict and unloved site. Since then Tesco have bought it (in 1989)and for a while it was restored to it’s old colourful glory but all good things come to an end and I note that it is once again empty and available to rent with the onset of dilapidation well underway again. The rear part where the supermarket is, is still functioning. I guess although a marvellous building it simply can’t measure up to the needs of modern life, it’s BREEAM rating is probably in minus figures! (BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is a voluntary measurement rating for green buildings)
By way of background and with courtesy of Wikipedia:
“Built for The Hoover Company, the building originally housed Hoover’s main UK manufacturing facility making vacuum cleaners, and employed up to 600 staff in the its offices and works. The original building (No. 1) was built in 1932 and contained the main offices; before it was completed plans were being put in place to add manufacturing facilities. As staff moved into their new offices foundations were being laid for a factory block to the east of the original building; this new block came to be known as Building No.3 and was complete and fully operational by February 1933. In January 1934 plans were drawn up for an additional two storey extension on top of the factory building and by May 1934 construction was well under way. Demand for Hoover vacuum cleaners continued to grow and in 1935 Wallis, Gilbert and Partners designed a new factory (Building No. 5) behind the original building. In 1938 a separate canteen and recreation centre (Building No. 7) was completed to the west of the original office.”
Sorry, being a bit lazy here! but the fun part is the pictures. For a photographer of architecture this building offers almost limitless possibilities, was great fun to shoot and makes for a pleasant change from more contemporary modernist type structures. But I think as a building with a effective function in the 21st Century, the jury is still out.