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Art Deco Traces in London: Hoover Building & Carreras Cigarette Factory

Home > London > Architecture | Art | Places of Interest | Walks
by Joanna Sopylo-Firrisa (subscribe)
Writer by passion, administrator by profession. I check what life brings and turn it into writing.
Published August 28th 2013
Discover hidden treasures of London architecture
Egypt, Greater London House, black cat, camden, mornington crescent, carreras cigarette factory
Black cat sculpture in front of the Carreras building; by Joanna S-F
Two buildings and one city. Two opposite sides of that city and one architecture style. The Hoover Building and Carreras Cigarette Factory both represent the Art Deco style and both are a pleasure for the eyes - and not only for architecture geeks.

I encountered both of the buildings in a quite surprising and unexpected way. During my first trip out of London towards the west, I noticed this gigantic building standing proudly next to A40 Western Avenue road. I saw the inscription "Hoover Building" as well as Tesco sign which didn't match very well in my mind. I left it there, but to my surprise a few days later, when I got off at Mornington Crescent station in Camden, I looked towards the left and saw something so similar! I couldn't miss the chance to see it from closer with its Egyptian style cats' sculptures in front. Again, I didn't really know what this enormous building was doing in the middle of the city. And the Greater London House didn't seem to help in finding the answer. This is how my little research about both of them has started. And here is an encapsulated version of what I found.

The Hoover Building was built for The Hoover Company in 1933 and designed by Wallis, Gilbert and Partners. Actually A40 road next to which the building stands wasn't built much earlier. It was constructed in 1923 as the City of London to Fishguard road. During the Second World War, the Hoover Factory was used for army purposes and manufacturing equipment for aircraft and tanks. At that time, the buildings were repainted and camouflaged with netting. It was bought by supermarket chain Tesco at the end of 1980s and surprisingly the company took good care of it. Some of the complex had to be demolished but others have been well kept with some of the architectural artefacts which are still visible today. The most recognisable elements of the building are tall windows and Egyptian style pillars.

Hoover building, tesco, a40, west london, westway, western avenue, art deco
View at the Hoover Building, by Ewan Munro from London, UK; Wikimedia


Carreras Cigarette Factory, on the other hand, has black cat sculptures in front of the entrance and also some other elements of Egyptian inspiration. Apparently on its opening in 1928 the pavement in front was covered with sand to imitate Egyptian beaches. All of that inspiration was sparked by Howard Carter's 1922 expedition which uncovered the tomb of Tutankhamun. Factory was erected in 1926-28 by the Carreras Tobacco Company Carreras to replace its smaller site on City Road. It is currently an office building housing such companies and organisations as ASOS.com, British Heart Foundation and Young & Rubicam advertising agency.

Carreras Cigarette Factory, art deco, Camden, mornington Crescent. Northern line, London
View at the Carreras Cigarette Factory, by Joanna S-F
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Why? Because it's worthy to see different style of london architecture
When: Anytime
Where: Perivale & Camden
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