“traditional Art Deco buildings turn into right angles at the corners, Streamline Moderne buildings curve at the edges”*


From “Shall We Dance” (1937)

From the Cinema Treasures website:

“The Queens Cinema was built for and operated by W.C Dawes’ Modern Cinemas, a small independent circuit which had cinemas in the west of London. It opened on 3rd October 1932 and architects J. Stanley Beard and Clare designed a pleasing cine/variety cinema for (what today is) the rather up-market area inner west London district of Bayswater. The main façade has a central feature over the entrance which is clad in white stone. Along the top of the building it has a zig-zag pattern and the name ‘Queens’ laid out in multi-coloured terrazzo. Seating in the auditorium was provided in stalls and balcony levels. The stage was 15feet deep and the proscenium opening was 40feet wide.

It was taken over by John Maxwell’s Associated British Cinemas (ABC) chain from 19th February 1935 and remained under the control of that circuit for almost all of its cinematic life. It was re-named ABC in 1962 and blue metal sheeting was attached to the façade of the building covering all the original decorative detail. It closed in June 1975 for conversion into a triple screen cinema which re-opened on 2nd October 1975. Seating was now provided for 436 in the former balcony and 224 and 213 in the former stalls area.

Taken over by the Cannon Cinemas chain in April 1986, it was closed by Cannon on 11th August 1988 with Eddie Murphy in “Coming to America” screening in screen 1 located in the former balcony.”

From the website of Stiff + Trevillion:

“Queens (main image) is a fresh and contemporary building tucked behind part of the original façade of a 1930s Art Deco cinema on Bishops Bridge Road, Bayswater. Behind the retained facade, sixteen flats have been created above ground floor retail space. The scheme has also re-configured traffic flow to create a new public space on the corner of Westbourne Grove.

The new elevations were designed to compliment the Art Deco styling of the front facade, and have been clad in specially manufactured glazed terracotta panels.”

‘Charterhouse Square area: Introduction; Charterhouse Square’, in Survey of London: Volume 46, South and East Clerkenwell, ed. Philip Temple (2008):

“Nos 6–9, now called Florin Court (above), is the most prominent building on the east side of the square. A ten-storey block of flats in the streamlined moderne style, it was built in 1935–7 for Charterhouse Ltd (by 1937 Charter Estates). The architects were Guy Morgan & Partners, specialists at that time in such flats. The builders were J. Gerrard & Sons Ltd, and the cost about £74,000. The interior decoration was by Mrs V. M. Thomas.

The U-plan of the building was adopted to give an outlook over the square to the maximum number of rooms. The London County Council gave permission for the recessed centre of the main front to be carried up to the full height of the block without the usual set-back, but insisted that the two projecting wings should have the uppermost storey set back. This allowed the top flats to have small roof gardens.

The block is steel-framed and clad in pale yellow and brown mottled bricks of ‘a particularly high quality’ produced by Williamson Cliff Ltd of Great Casterton, near Stamford, who also made the special bricks for the arms of Charterhouse over the entrance. The flowing cantilevered entrance canopy is covered in copper and sheet steel. The entrance hall had a marble floor inset with the arms of Charterhouse, but this area is now carpeted.

The internal planning was dictated by the expectation that businessmen, needing to be at Smithfield Market early in the morning, would find the flats convenient pieds-à-terre. Many of the flats were no more than bedsitters, in some cases with a bed recess, allowing the total number of flats to come to 126. Only one flat per floor had two bedrooms and a sitting-room. The ground floor included a porter’s office and flat for the head porter. In the basement was a public restaurant, a cocktail bar and a clubroom, and beneath was a garage with parking for twenty cars. Behind the block a single-storey building contained two squash courts. By the early 1950s some of the flats were in use as offices.

In 1988 the block was refurbished and modernized for Regalian Properties at a cost of about £2 million, by architects Hildebrand & Glicker (job architect Stephen Bodimeade; interior designer Andrew Dandridge), and once again became fully residential. It then acquired the name Florin Court. The roof gardens were reinstated, and up-to-date features such as jacuzzis and a basement swimming-pool were installed. In its restored state Florin Court appeared on television in the late 1980s and 90s in the guise of Whitehaven Mansions, the home of Agatha Christie’s fictional detective, Hercule Poirot.”

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