7 May 2024

It's a wrap! Marvellous metal in Greville Street by Groupwork + Amin Taha

Last week I was wandering along Leather Lane becoming a bit despondent at how the market has lost its proper 'anything and everything you need' vibe as it was when I worked in the area in the 1980s. I mused that it was still decent street market selling all sorts until the early 2000s. In 2011 I wrote about how London street markets were gradually diminishing. Then Covid-19 hit our street markets hard* and these days all you are likely to find here, or any of the other previously vibrant markets such as Berwick Street or Whitecross Street, is street food, although I'd counter that buying a meal in a box that you need to sit down and eat with cutlery on a flat surface doesn't constitute street food. There are no bite-sized snacks, pasties, or fried locusts on a stick available. Anyway... I digress.

Memories of Lether Lane market got me thinking about the places and businesses that were in the Hatton Garden area in the 1980s when I used to work in Bleeding Hart Yard. This was a name that almost everyone thought I'd made up. No need to swear love! I can't recall anyone back then talking about the bloody legend of the spurned lady. This vague info I had discovered on a panel outside the wine bar restaurant by the same name in the corner of the yard. The pic above is a screen grab from Google dated 2020 and shows a pub on the corner of BHYard and Greville Street. Despite all the info written on the pub's exterior, it certainly wasn't a pub in the 1980s or else I'd have used it! I'm told it was a café, but I don't remember that. 

Today I am more interested in the building on the left side of the street. In the pic above you can see a sample of what was to happen here, attached to the corner as a test piece. I was keen to see how that had evolved. Well, it's marvellous. They've done it again!  As per at Clerkenwell Green and Upper Street

Here we have a mesh surround that allows light through and it's just lovely. I'll leave it at that. Go see for yourself, or find out more here

In 1981-1983, I used to work for a small advertising company in the building that's partially visible in the bottom left picture, though my drawing board/desk was on the other side of the building, facing east.

 *Markets – The big supermarkets offering a one-stop-shop, trollies and car parking, have been a major factor here, and I hear that youngsters are not keen to continue a stall-holding businesses when their costermonger parents retire.

6 May 2024

The Grosvenor Cinema – Art Deco splendour inside The Zoroastrian Centre at Rayners Lane

The gorgeous Grosvenor Cinema cinema opened in October 1936, as part of the Gaumont chain, situated on Alexandra Avenue, a stone's throw from Rayners Lane tube station. Indeed, the whole area is an Art Deco fan's dreamworld being as it forms part of 1930's era Metroland. I first experienced the interior of this marvellous movie theatre during Open House Weekend in September 2016 as part of a guided tour. We heard all about the building and learned about the Zoarastrian faith. I really enjoyed ever aspect of the tour and I resolved to keep an eye out for an opportunity to revisit the building. 
In March this year I was delighted to be able to join other London Appreciation Society members for another guided tour.

As you enter the building from Alexandra Avenue you enter the foyer. This was originally designed as a sunken café area and the church still uses it as such. They had put out a lot of info boards for us to look at showing how the building and the local area had evolved through the decades and the pic above shows how this space looked back in 1986. I noticed that part of the geometric pattern in the metalwork that encloses this area looks like JL – perhaps I could use as my avatar!

The ceiling here is stunning:

Stairs at the front of the building, allow light from the street and lead you up to the auditorium...

...which brings you to the back of the circle and excellent view of the undulating ceiling, today spotted with modern ceiling lights and fans, although the original effect is not lost.

And here's a wide shot I took inside the auditorium back in 2016:

Find out more about the history of this cinema here where I've just noticed the main pic is practically same as mine!