Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Firestone Factory, Brentford

Firestone Gate, Brentford

On a visit to West London in 2003 to see the Gillette Factory, I came to Brentford's Golden Mile, a section of the Great West Road opened in the mid 1920s and quickly became a preferred location for new factories, many Art Deco in style.

We pulled he car off the road so I could jump out and take some photos. The gate above is the first thing I saw. Obviously it was deco but I had no idea exactly what I had come across.

Firestone Fence, Brentford

The fence along the main road was interspersed every few metres with these stylish pillars.

It was not until I reached the main gates that I was able to confirm what I was beginning to suspect. The F on the gates told me this was all that was left of the Firestone Factory.

Designed by Wallis, Gilbert & Partners in 1928, The Firestone Factory was an Art Deco gem, not unlike the Hoover Factory in Perivale also by Wallis, Gilbert & Partners.

I've read conflicting reports on various websites that the factory was demolished in 1971 or over the August Bank Holiday weekend in 1980 just days before a Preservation Order was going to be enacted.

Certainly the Twentieth Century Society website supports the second version. Gavin Stamp and Alan Powers go on to say that the demolition served as a catalyst to protect 20th C buildings leading directly to the listing of 150 inter-war buildings.

Firestone Gates, Brentford

The fence and gates are now Grade II Listed which I guess is something and it does serve as a reminder of one of the greatest acts of architectural vandalism.

There are lot more pictures on the delightful Dog and Deco site and if you can face seeing what the building looked like before and as it was being demolished then have a look at
[The photo of the original entrance is worth a visit to this site]


  1. The developer, part of Trafalgar House who were developing in the eary 80's got wind that the facade was to be listed so arranged for it to be demolished over the weekend prior to any possible listing. What nobody remembers is the hell-hole of a working environment that was behind the glossy exterior.

    1. You are quite right, wasn't so good for those who had to work there. I was attached to the racing division at Brentford in the early seventies, so I know the conditions some of the guys had to contend with. However an iconic building was lost to the Nation forever,and that should never have been.