Welbeck Street Car Park
One road along from London’s busiest shopping mecca – Oxford Street – stood the brutalist marvel; Welbeck Street Car Park.
Sure, It may have not been everyone’s cup of tea aesthetically, but even if you’re not a fan of Brutalist architecture, I think you could at least admire its geometric forms.
Sadly, the new view of Welbeck Street Car Park is this, covered in tarpaulin and readied for demolition.
Built in the 1970s and designed by Michael Blampied and Partners. It was sold in 2016 to Shiva Hotels for around £100m. Despite its striking design, it doesn’t meet the listings requirements for Historic England, so was approved for demolition by Westminster Council.
An alternative plan by JAA architects was submitted as part of a campaign to keep the car park’s features. The Twentieth Century Society supported this design as part of its ‘Diamonds are Forever’ campaign against demolition.
Image by Theo Simpson for JAA. From Dezeen.
However judging by the approved initial architectural plans by Eric Parry Architects, none of the original building’s features will be kept.
Image of the design by Eric Parry Architects, picture from Architects Journal
The architects in a statement did say they’d considered including the existing building’s facade so the diamond-shaped pattern could be saved, but “no suitable solution was found”. The sticking point was the height of car park levels compared to modern hotel expectations.
I’ve always found that the joy of London is the mix of old and new. So, just as we should save the centuries-old historic buildings, we also have a duty to maintain and keep newer buildings of architectural note.
Meatliquor (who rent the retail space on the ground floor) reported that they will be closing their doors in February 2019. They have now closed.
An objector quoted in the Evening Standard on 23 November 2018 said “Yes it may need a clean up and the ground floor levels have not been looked after, but look up! This building is stunning.”
I can’t help but agree.
Shortly after I posted the original version of this blog in December 2018, a reader alerted me to an epic verse of love and loss. It was scrawled on the white hoardings and is shared below. I think it sums up my feelings of seeing this unique structure go.
More London Inspiration
Oxford Street has a bad rep from Londoners, but there’s a surprising among of fabulous history if you know where to look. From a hidden little oasis to the more gruesome reminders at Tottenham Court Road and Marble Arch, often you have to look up......
26 Apr Inside Crosby Moran Hall
I’m constantly surprised by the wonderful doors that have opened since starting this blog back in 2015. A case in point was that a few weeks ago I wrote about the extraordinary history of Crosby Hall; the Medieval Mansion that was moved 5 miles across......
Look up at 22 Endell Street in Covent Garden, and you’ll see the striking facade of a former stained glass studio. Built in 1859 and designed by Robert Jewell Withers, between the multi-coloured decorative brickwork you can make out the proclamation in stone; Lavers and......
The London Museum – formerly Museum of London – is scheduled to open for a mini festival in 2025 then fully as a museum in 2026. So you can imagine my excitement when I was invited to get a special look around the building site......
Along Vestry Road in Walthamstow there’s a huge Ionic Capital which looks very out of place. It’s the last piece of the General Post Office Building and once stood 7 miles away in the City of London. The General Post Office Building Although the history......
21 Mar Westminster Cathedral
Poor old Westminster Cathedral, forever being confused with Westminster Abbey and even once being mistaken for a mosque, it’s well worth admiring this stripy brick beauty set back from Victoria Street Built on the site of a prison and still incomplete after over 100 years,......