The Twentieth Century Society remains opposed to the demolition of Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre which was given planning permission by Kensington and Chelsea last week. The Society strongly believes that the main elevation of Earl’s Court One (facing Warwick Road) should be retained and incorporated in the current proposals for the Earl’s Court and West Kensington Opportunity Area. English Heritage have issued a Certificate of Immunity twice for this site to prevent it being listed.
The size and function of the building, its association with numerous important public events for more than three quarters of a century, and also the architectural interest of its distinctive Art Deco main elevation, all contribute to the building’s special role in the urban history and experience of this part of London.
The loss of this landmark building will be to the detriment of the entirety of London, not just the local area.
The original Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, dating from 1936—7, was designed and built by architects C. Howard Crane and Gordon Jeeves. Crane, an American, was responsible for a number of the very large ‘movie palaces’ of the 1920’s in the States, and was also one of the architects involved in the Radio City Music Hall in New York. He designed at least two cinemas in Britain – the former Gaumont, Holloway, 1938 (now Odeon and listed at Grade II), and the former Granada, Greenwich, 1937 (now converted to flats). Jeeves built a number of police stations in London (for example, Savile Row and Bishopsgate) and collaborated with Raymond Hood, another American, on the Ideal Boiler building in Great Marlborough Street.