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Firestone factory, Great West Road, 1970s
Peter Young took four photos of the magnificent Art Deco Firestone factory between July 1972 and March 1974. The first two feature the facade and date from the 29th July 1972:
The entrance is imposing - a flight of shallow steps, two lamps framing it and tiling in poster red, turquoise green and ultramarine blue, with the 'F' for Firestone picked out in gilt.
The Twentieth Century Society website, Campaigning for Twentieth century architecture, notes 'the design of the whole building, not just the façade, was based on that of an Egyptian temple'. Their website includes three photos of the building, one of which shows the two lamps clearly.
The next photo, taken just before Christmas 1973, shows the factory from the Great West Road. It opened in 1928 and was one of the first factories to take advantage of the newly-built road. The Western Morning News of 24 February 1928 reported:
The Firestone Tyre and Rubber Company has decided to erect a large factory near Brentford
An official of the company said yesterday: "When Mr. Churchill introduced tax on tyres last year we took it as an invitation to make our tyres here. We shall employ at first about 1,000 men, and produce somewhere about 2,000 tyre covers a day. Our idea will be to use British machines and British labour."
Robert Hurst provided more information in October 2017: 'Architects Wallis, Gilbert & Partners designed this factory + the Hoover Building on Western Avenue in Perivale, as well as many bus garages that got rebuilt by the London Transport Board in 1935 such as Amersham.'
'From the LT Golden Jubilee book, Page 37, written by Green & Reed, ISBN 0-901684-86-4, published by Daily Telegraph newspapers 135 Fleet Street EC4P 4BL, 1983.'
The final photo, 3 March 1974, shows part of Firestone's roof furniture and lots of other verticals.
The gasometer near St George's church is visible and the tower block in the distance MAY be the Police Section House on St Paul's Road / Half Acre.
Robert Hurst wrote in May 2017 with more information: 'I believe the towers (there are two adjoined together) are the higher building used by SKY TV now on the rhs of the pic (obscuring the gasometer), and (most importantly for me) the shorter building to its left joined by the staircase seen through glass, is the place where I worked for many years in late 1970's : "Great West House". At that time it was the hq for Honeywell Computers.'
'You may see from Google Earth that there is annotated a picture of G.W.House taken April 2007 showing the new extra floor atop the exec offices where I once worked (not my pic). It is on the crossing of Gt West Rd and Boston Manor Road on the south western corner.'
Local readers will be aware of the demise of the factory - it was demolished over the August bank holiday weekend in 1980 before paperwork to protect the facade could be completed.
As the Twentieth Century Society website notes 'Every conservation society needs a martyr – a demolition so outrageous and shocking that the press and public realise the need for the society ... For the Twentieth Century Society ... the Firestone Factory became its martyr in 1980.'
Full list of Peter's photos
Published September 2016; updated October 2017