8, BALDERTON STREET

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1393648
Date first listed:
11-Dec-2009
Statutory Address:
8, BALDERTON STREET

Map

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Location

Statutory Address:
8, BALDERTON STREET

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:
Greater London Authority
District:
City of Westminster (London Borough)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 28306 80955

Reasons for Designation

No 8 Balderton Street of 1925-6 by Wimperis and Simpson for Macy's Ltd is designated for the following principal reasons: * Special architectural interest: the façade is remarkably ambitious for a car park of this date * Special historic interest: for its importance in the evolution of the multi-storey car park as a distinctive C20 building type * Group value: with the listed electricity generating station opposite in Brown Hart Gardens, together representing how utilitarian structures can be afforded an ambitious architectural treatment in this prestigious area

Details



1900/0/10478 BALDERTON STREET 11-DEC-09 8

II Multi-storey car park. Built 1925-6 to the design of Wimperis and Simpson, for Macy's Ltd.

MATERIALS: Rendered brick; concrete-frame construction with concrete-slab floors supported on steel stanchions. Steel windows.

PLAN: 4 main storeys with parking deck to each floor; ground floor has modern shop infill to front. A ramp runs alongside the rear (W) elevation. Side wings originally contained facilities for customers and their chauffeurs.

EXTERIOR: Stripped neo-Classical style. Symmetrical composition comprising 5 main bays: 1-3-1. Open-fronted ground floor carried on two columns with stylised capitals; over-sized egg-and-dart frieze above. Above this, the 3 central bays are separated by broad pilasters into three 1-window bays divided by pilasters with stylised capitals. End bays slightly set-forward, flanked by plain pilasters; each has projecting 2-storey pavilion: that to N has paired round-arched entrances; that to S has single with small window to eitherside; both have first-floor window set in round-headed recessed arch, and paterae ornament to either side. The forecourt between the pavilions always accommodated a filling station, although equipment is modern. First floor windows keyed; second and third have aprons. Stainless-steel casements; those to the first and second third floors with rectangular panes; those to third with diamond lattice panes. Parapet to roof, broken in sections with iron balustrading; slightly raised and sloped over end bays. Return (S) elevation plain, with similar fenestration; entrance to ramp in lower end bay. Pitched roofs.

INTERIOR: Utilitarian interior. Parking decks much as original, apart from superficial alterations such as suspended ceilings. The lift cages remain and one turntable.

HISTORY: Multi-storey car parks (or parking garages) originated in the Edwardian period, and relied on lifts and turntables to transport vehicles to the upper decks. While still the preserve of the wealthy, car ownership increased sharply after WWI, and new building types to service motor transport: petrol stations, car showrooms and garages, sprang up. The ramped car park, which allowed cars to drive from one deck to another, arrived in the 1920s and several were built in London, principally in the West End, but they remained rare outside the capital until after WWII. The first staggered-ramp car park was built in Poland Street, Soho in 1925 to the design of Walter Gibbings, drawing from French and US prototypes, but this form did not take on until the 1930s, possibly due to vehicle manoeuvring problems. An interim, hybrid form emerged comprising a straight ramp between ground and first floors, and lifts to the floors above, of which Macy's is the earliest known example. It was also an early car park to incorporate a recessed forecourt for petrol pumps.

Stylistically, early car parks had little to distinguish themselves from other commercial building types, and it was not until the 1920s that the type began to evolve into a form recognisable today. Inter-war car parks followed the mainstream architectural trends of the day: classical in the mid 1920s followed by stylised Art Deco, giving way to restrained Modernism in the later 1930s.

Macy's featured in the 1927 RIBA Exhibition of Modern Architecture. It was given unusually elaborate treatment for its date, and appears to have been influential in developing an aesthetic for this utilitarian new building type. The context of the Grosvenor Estate may also explain this well-above-average treatment: the façade; with its quirky, exaggerated neo-classical mannerisms, can be seen as an interesting modification, for a very modern sort of building, of the neo-Georgian aesthetic insisted upon by the Estate in the inter-war years. Macy's was one of the first garages to cater principally for shoppers, offering free parking to the customers of nearby Selfridge's department store. The garage changed hands several times, the longest occupant being Dagenham Motors Ltd from c1932 to the 1980s.

SOURCES: The Architect and Building News, 24 February 1928 Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Road Transport Buildings. Unpublished report (1998). Chapter 5

REASON FOR DESIGNATION DECISION: No 8 Balderton Street is designated for the following principal reasons: * Special architectural interest: the façade is remarkably ambitious for a car park of this date * Special historic interest: for its importance in the evolution of the multi-storey car park as a distinctive C20 building type * Group value: with the listed electricity generating station opposite in Brown Hart Gardens, together representing how utilitarian structures can be afforded an ambitious architectural treatment in this prestigious area

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
508138
Legacy System:
LBS

Legal

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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