Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Picture Post 71 - A Hidden Art Deco Treasure in London's West End.

One of London's most attractive Art Deco facades is tucked away in a side street, just a few steps from Bond Street in the city centre. Built in 1937, Blenstock House was designed by architects Fuller, Hall and Foulsham who were also responsible for the superb Ibex House near Tower Hill.


The building stands on the corner of Blenheim and Woodstock Street and gets its name from a combination of the two. It received Grade II listed status in 2009 due primarily to its use of "eye-catching materials on the facade which is clad in buff, yellow and peach faience, a distinctive and stylish example of Art Deco architecture". Other features referenced in the listing include bent glass vertical windows, a stair tower, flagpole and the rooftop advertising frame. The stylised external sprinkler stop valve signage is also thought to be original. I particularly like the "thermometer" feature in the centre of the facade and the glazed tower which stands to the left when facing the building. According to the official listing details, some original internal features have been retained including the brass handrail and metal balustrade of the main staircase.


The building was originally the offices of Phillips auctioneers, a company with a long history, founded in 1796 by one Harry Phillips. Harry had served as a senior clerk for Christie's auctioneers before branching out by himself. The first Phillips auction in Blenstock House was held in 1939. Although the building was leased to Phillips, other businesses also occupied space here including sportswear manufacturers Berker Sportscraft Ltd who moved there in 1946. By 1951 two more companies had space here - Glendining and Co Ltd (another auctioneers) and Fina Petroluem Products. Over time Phillips expanded and by 1974 they were the sole tenants. In 1989 they established an interconnection to their other premises in nearby New Bond Street to form a single unit. Bonhams took over the entire building in 2001.

The architectural company of Fuller, Hall and Foulsham was based in Hemel Hempstead and its partners were to design many buildings there during the expansion of the town in the 1950's as well as AMP House in Croydon, completed in 1964.

3 comments:

  1. What an unexpected delight!

    I am very glad Blenstock House received Grade II listed status, but not because of the external colours, advertising etc. The risk would be that developers might tear down the internal architecture and just leave the facade intact.

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  2. Dear Adrian, I'm trying to reach you from France. Can you please send me an email ? architecture.art.deco@gmail.com

    Thank you
    JB

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    1. Hello Jean-Baptiste. I've emailed you as requested. Best wishes, Adrian.

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