219 Oxford Street, London W1

From a Draft Chapter 19 of the Survey of London:

“…Occupying the eastern angle with Hills Place, No. 219 is a small stone-clad building of 1950–1 containing shops and offices, with wrap- around corner windows in strips. Replacing a café previously on this site, it was designed by Ronald Ward & Partners as a small speculation for Jack Salmon, who transformed his interest into Oxford Street Properties Ltd. It is a listed building, no doubt by virtue of the three charming relief panels commemorating Festival of Britain year at the Oxford Street ends of the upper-storey windows…”

From the Historic England entry:

“This mixed retail and office building of 1951-2 is situated on the corner of Oxford Street and Hills Terrace.

As built, No. 219 Oxford Street comprised a ground-floor shop, with a showroom and three floors of offices above. The building was designed by Ronald Ward and Partners in 1950 for the landlord Jack Salmon, who took the second-floor suite for himself. The scheme was revised in February 1951, but was not built until after August 1951 (explaining the plaques celebrating the Festival of Britain – an event which was held in the summer of that year), and appears not to have been completed until 1952, as evidenced by the dated tile near the door to the upper floors. Despite the delay in its construction the building was among the very earliest post-war commercial buildings to be put up in the capital.

MATERIALS: the building is steel-framed and clad in pre-cast stone panels, with metal-framed windows.

PLAN: the building has five storeys and a basement. At each floor there is a single corner room (now opened through into No. 215-217 Oxford Street on all but the first floor). A stair to the south (now used as a fire escape) runs the full height of the building, giving access to each of the rooms. There is a small WC on each half-landing. 

EXTERIOR: the Oxford Street elevation turns with a curved corner into the Hills Terrace elevation, and continuous bands of metal-framed windows to the upper four floors wrap around the two elevations. The ground floor acts as a fully-glazed corner shop window (this arrangement replacing the original shop front), with a fascia recess above. The original entrance is on Hills Terrace; there is a recessed, glazed, hardwood, door with a yellow ochre tiled surround, which includes a tile with the date of the building and name of the architects.

The east side of the Oxford Street elevation has three cast stone reliefs, one at the end of each band of fenestration to the upper three floors. The reliefs depict subjects relating to the Festival of Britain, and are by David Trussler. The second-floor relief depicts the Dome of Discovery and the Skylon, along with nautical instruments and emblems; the third-floor relief reproduces the Festival logo, designed by Abram Games;

and the fourth-floor relief depicts the Festival Hall and Shot Tower, along with musical instruments.

INTERIOR: the staircase is open with curvilinear metal balustrading and hand rail, with a terrazzo floor. At each level the corner room has been fitted-out for its modern function. The interior of the building, with the exception of the staircase, is not of special interest.”

https://www.encyclopedia.com/literature-and-arts/art-and-architecture/architecture/festival-britain

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