On Brentford's Art Deco Golden Mile

By London Historians Last edited 6 months ago
On Brentford's Art Deco Golden Mile
Art Decaux! JC Decaux building, formerly HQ of Currys, 1936.

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.

Gillette Building, Sir Bannister Flight Fletcher, 1936-37.

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.

Gillette Building

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.

Westlink House, former Pyrene (fire extinguishers) Building, Wallis, Gilbert & Partners, 1930

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 hurriedly demolished by developers over a weekend in 1980 before the authorities could get it listed. All that remains are some forlorn art deco lampposts at the west gate. Unbelievably, the rather fetching central gate was torn down in 2004 to make way for extra parking.

Westlink House

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.

JC Decaux building
Former HQ of Coty Cosmetics, Wallis, Gilbert & Partners, 1932
Old Coty Cosmetics building
This lamp post is a surviving reminder of the Firestone factory, destroyed in 1980

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Last Updated 18 May 2017