The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Glaxo Building, Ealing, London Photo © John East

40 Buildings Saved

22. Glaxo Building, now Wallis House, Ealing, London

Status: Listed Grade II
Architect: Wallis Gilbert & Partners
Location: Great West Road, Brentford, London

Background

This glorious Art Deco factory with an 11 storey tower and 3-storey flanking blocks was designed by Wallis Gilbert & Partners in 1935, one of a number of stylish large buildings by the firm: it was built originally for Simmons Aerocessories; converted to offices for BOAC in 1947 and altered for occupation by Beecham (R Gallanaugh) in 1955-56 which became part of the newly formed Glaxo Laboratories Ltd (later GlaxoSmithKline or GSK). Within were offices, laboratories and a factory manufacturing food and pharmaceuticals, with the accent on maximising space, light and air for each worker, augmented by tennis courts and canteen, close to a canal and arterial road approaching London.

Threat

The demolition of the Firestone Factory in 1980 had helped bring the C20 Society to the fore, and with it came a vigilance towards the preservation of the ‘Golden Mile’: the Art Deco stretch of the Great West Road, which was being earmarked for residential development. This made it imperative to protect the best aspects of the Glaxo site.

Action

The frontage of the Glaxo building was listed in 2011, with help from C20.  Although its use is changing, the listing protects the integrity of its Wallis Gilbert exterior and keeps the character of the ‘Golden Mile’.

Outcome

Consent was given in 2017 for the conversion of the listed front building to be converted into residential use and for the rest of the site to be demolished for a mixed-use scheme.

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