On-line tribute to iconic Gilbeys building

History / Mon 2nd Jul 2018 at 10:17am

AN ON-LINE tribute pays homage to a number of lost iconic buildings in Britain and pays a particular tribute to the Gilbeys Building in Harlow.

Designed by Peter Falconer and Associates, this building was completed in 1963, when the company moved its operation from London to Harlow.

Traditionally, a factory would have been built in a peripheral industrial zone of the city. However the local council gave permission for it to be built on a prominent hillside site, provided that its design would be worthy of such a location.

Despite achieving listed status in 1992, the complex was nevertheless demolished in 1993, just one year after becoming listed. A Sainsburys supermarket was built on the site. The Twentieth Century Society called for a public inquiry, but their request was rejected.

This quote from Catherine Croft, Director of the Twentieth Century Society, sums up the issue well:

“As a society we tend to under-value the architectural accomplishments of the preceding generation, but in time the most loathed and deeply unfashionable buildings can end up both loved and listed. It’s hard to remember just how reviled Victorian Gothic once was, now that St. Pancras, which was only saved by the efforts of John Betjeman and the Victorian Society, is a treasured masterpiece and a glamorous hotel.

Good C20th architecture is losing out to more easily understood building periods such as Victorian and Georgian when it comes to the increasing pressures for redevelopment. But these buildings are a valuable legacy which add to the richness of the fabric of our architectural heritage and the best examples should be safeguarded for future generations. Sadly this is just not happening. These buildings formed the background to our everyday lives and their absence will impoverish us all.”

For further details….https://www.gocompare.com/home-insurance/demolishing-modernism/

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3 Comments for On-line tribute to iconic Gilbeys building:

2018-07-02 22:18:25

How about naming the book!

2018-07-03 11:23:51

It was a truly stunning building, visitors to Harlow could see it as the drove or walked up to the town centre at night, all lit up. Echoes of it remain in the old telephone exchange building and underpass.

bob dinwiddy
2021-07-11 09:24:32

New Town Disease: so desperate to become, they are forward looking in ethos: Progress! Growth! Modernity! Such maxims do not go hand in hand with conservation, preservation or reclamation… the past, is exactly that.

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