The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

The Guinness Factory, Photo © Gavin Stamp
The Guinness Factory, Photo © Gavin Stamp

Lost Modern

Guinness Factory, Park Royal, London

Status: Destroyed
Type: Commercial/offices
Architect: Alexander Gibb and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott
Location: Park Royal, London

The C20 Society described the demolition of the Art Deco Guinness brewery and offices in West London in 2006 as an act of “pure architectural vandalism”.

Built between 1933 and 1936, the factory was a joint architectural project between Alexander Gibb and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, but it was essentially Gibb who created the shape of the huge but decoratively restrained environment for 1,500 workers who produced Guinness for the whole of the UK.

According to Gavin Stamp, architectural historian and former chair of C20 Society, the brewery bore comparison with Scott’s better-known designs for Battersea power station and Bankside power station – now the Tate Modern. “This is modern industrial architecture of a high order,” he said.

The large brick volumes supported by steel frames, were inter-connected with bridges and facilitated all the steps of the brewing process. Malthouse, brewhouse and storehouse, all one hundred feet high, shaped the imposing silhouette of this west London landmark.

Nikolaus Pevsner described it as “the one distinguished contribution to the area” and an antidote to “the exuberance of contemporary bypass Art Deco.”

In 1997 Guinness merged with Grand Metropolitan to create a new company, Diageo, who made the Park Royal site their headquarters. Diageo ceased the production of Guinness at the brewery in 2005, transferring it to their brewery in Dublin instead. The C20 Society had put the factory forward for statutory listing but while English Heritage supported the request with a positive recommendation, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport turned this down and issued a Certificate of Immunity. The entire factory was demolished in 2006.

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