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“It’s The Real Thing”

I have to admit to being a bit of a binge watcher when it comes to box sets. Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, The Soprano’s and House have all been polished off in quick time. Mad Men was the most recent and the final shot (Spoiler Alert) was the iconic 1971 “Hilltop” ad, which featured the “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” jingle. The ad was created in real life by the McCann Erikson agency.

The synchronicity to this was that I had been going through my photo collection cataloguing Art Deco buildings, when I came across a much loved and much snapped building in Bloomsbury.

The building started out life as a Daimler car hire garage. It was designed by the architectural practice of Wallis Gilbert and Partners and built in 1931. The company were also responsible for a number of other high profile art deco building such as the Hoover Factory and Victoria Coach Station. After Daimler left the building it had a number of functions including a parking garage for the London Taxi Centre and depot for a coach company, Frames Rickard.

The Hoover Building

Victoria Coach Station

The building received Grade II listed status in 1982 when it was still the home of the coach company. Following a £7 million renovation, the building was converted to 60,000 square feet of office space and became the offices of McCann Erikson.

I have many photos of the building, which must have looked as if an alien spaceship had landed in the heart genteel Bloomsbury when it was first built, taken from all angles and viewpoints, but all from street level. The building has been part of the London “Open House” scheme, but I have never managed to get inside to see it. If it will ever open it’s doors again is questionable. However, while staying at the hotel on the opposite side of the road, I was fortunate to get a room overlooking the building and was able to get a new perspective on it.

The Open House festival is taking place from 3-21 September 2022. Details can be found Here

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