Recent English Architecture 1920-1940 – Then & Now

I was recently fortunate enough to pick up a copy of marvellous book entitled ‘Recent English Architecture 1920-1940’. Its a small hard back compendium, published by Country Life in 1947, containing 63 of  images of English architectural highlights from the inter-war years. Selected by the Architecture Club, it served as an epitaph to the groundbreaking design from this era, and heralded the start of a new one in a post-war Britain.img_1035

The photographs show each of the buildings, some iconic, some less well known, at their best. Each freshly completed and free from the ravages of ‘modernisation’ and general weathering. I initially decided to reproduce the book in blog form, simply to share these striking images, then curiosity got the better of me. How many of these structures still exist, and to what extent have they been altered? Below is a selection of my personal highlights from the book, with a modern comparison from various credited sources (if you own the copyright to any of these photos and would like me to remove them, i am happy to do so).

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#7 Town Hall (aka Meridian House), Greenwich by Culpin and Son (1939)

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Image courtesy of Google Streetview

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#8 Town Hall, Dagenham by E. Berry Webber (1937)

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Image courtesy of WIkipedia commons. 

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#9 Arnos Grove Underground Station by Adams, Holden and Pearson (1932)

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Image courtesy of hiddenlondon.com

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London Passenger Transport Board by Adams, Holden & Pearson (1927)

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Grade I listed. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia commons

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#11 Woodside Ventilation Station, Mersey Tunnel, Liverpool by Herbert J. Rowse (1925-1934)

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Grade II Listed. Image courtesy of Panoramio

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#17 Ramsgate Air Port by A. Pleydell-Bouverie (1935)

Closed in 1968 and demolished at some point during the following decade I’m afraid folks.

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#18 Liverpool Philharmonic Hall by Herbert J. Rowse (1939)

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Photo courtesy of streetsofliverpool.co.uk

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#19 St Dunstan’s Convalescent and Holiday Home, Rottingdean by Francis Lorne (1938) 

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Photo courtesy of blindveterans.org.uk

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#27 National Provincial Bank, Osterley by W.F.C. Holden (1935)

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Photo courtesy of Pete aka DaveyJones144 – a prolific deco hunter!

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#29 “Comet” Roadhouse, Near Barnet by E.B. Musman (1936)

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Photo courtesy of Mark Amies, his blog post about the roadhouse notified me of the existence of the book.

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#36 Church of St Nicholas, Burnage by Welch, Cachemaille-Day & Lander (1932)

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Photo courtesy of Sarah aka tintrunk via flickr

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#38 Church of St. Saviour, Eltham by Welch, Cachemaille-Day & Lander (1934)

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Photo courtesy of Stephen Craven via Geograph

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#45 Bedford Girls Modern School by Oswald P. Milne (1938)

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Photo courtesy of Britainfromabove.org.uk

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#48 Greenford County Secondary Grammar School, Middlesex by H. W. Burchett (1939)

While the school still thrives as Greenford High School, it appears that the original building has either been replaced or modified beyond recognition.

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#58 House at fawley, Bucks by Christopher Nicholson

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‘Kits Close’, the house was used in the Poirot episode ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’. Photo couresty of Chimi Wiki

This is obviously only a selection of the images featured in the book. There are some interior shots, and some more well known buildings such as Battersea Power Station and The University of London, and others that showcase some more traditional constructions of the era. Should you wish to track down your own copy they seem to be fairly obtainable. Mine only cost a mere 83p + P&P from Abebooks!

 

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About Art Deco Magpie

Seasoned Art Deco collector and blogger Philip Butler, aka Art Deco Magpie, has spent many years transforming the interior of his family home into a 1930’s time warp. Furniture, wall coverings, fixtures, fittings and carpets, nothing has been neglected from his quest to obtain near film set perfection. Combining a love of photography and passion for 20th century history, Philip is now working on his debut book; “Streamline Worcestershire – A Journey Through the Inter-War Modernist Architecture in the County“. Philip lives in Great Malvern with his wife and two young daughters. When not immersing himself in all things Art Deco, he can be found tinkering with classic cars, working in the alcoholic drinks trade, practicing writing in the third person, and trying to be a good dad!
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7 Responses to Recent English Architecture 1920-1940 – Then & Now

  1. Thanks for sharing all the info about the book – it’s a great find and I will order a copy too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. poshbirdy says:

    This has made me so happy. Great work. It’s good top see that several of these are fairly much as intended (I usually rant about how people have ruined art deco buildings, so thanks for sharing)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Robert Gurd says:

    Great comparisons. NatWest Bank Gt West Road now shut; Greenford High School demolished despite local campaign to save it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. macB says:

    Cobham, Kent
    “Laughing Water” Road House Restaurant
    Clough Williams-Ellis, 1933 (demolished 1960s)

    Like

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