Hoover. 23rd April

Horsenden Hill

You may or not have noticed the absence of our Water Explorer location just to the right here. We had noticed that this didn’t seem to be working any more, Mick has spent some time over the last couple of days trying to get it to work again, but with no luck. It works if we put it on our NB Oleanna blog, but not here on a wordpress site. So until we can get it working again it will be absent from our page.

Anyhow, I have spent most of the day doing some baking and Mick has been trying to get a mooring chain unstuck from behind the girder along the bank of the canal. He’d tried to use it to moor a couple of days ago, but got it well and truly stuck, until today when I went outdoors camera in hand!


The Tesco entrance

Our nearest supermarket is Tescos on the Western Avenue, we have visited it before by car when visiting Mick’s Mum in Ealing. It is not your average Tescos, as it was The Hoover Building one of London’s finest art deco buildings. I wanted to go and have a better look and buy a pint of milk, whilst Mick stayed on board waiting for Pete and his coal boat to arrive.


A deco delight

In 1931 Ohio-based vacuum cleaner makers the Hoover Company commis­sioned Wallis, Gilbert and Partners to create a factory on the Western Avenue in Perivale. Wallis considered the building as ‘Fancy’. The exterior is rendered in ‘Snowcrete’, a type of portland-limestone cement with a brilliant white pigment, architectural detailing with glazed tiles were inspired by the art of Central and North American Indians along the increasing influence of Egypt following the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.


The Hoover factory opened in 1933 and work on extensions  and outbuildings continued until the outbreak of WW2. At the time it’s lack of a cohesive form was critisised and thought brash and vulgar, but the company, it’s employees and the public liked it.



The production of vacuum cleaners ceased in 1982 and the factory closed. It reopened ten years later restored, with the rear ground floor converted into a Tesco superstore. I had a walk around the exterior, which is wonderful even with Deco touches in the rear car park, but when you get inside sadly you could be in any Tescos anywhere in the country, not even a nod to the outside is visible.


Chrome work at the rear

In 1980 Elvis Costello thought the building fine enough to write a song about it. If you are a fan of art deco as I am it is worth looking at the few photos of the interior on Pinterest, the only listed toilets in London!


Mooring on the wrong side

Back at Lillian Pete still hadn’t been. A narrowboat seemed to be stopping to moor, but then pulled over to the off side and tied up to some trees. We couldn’t make out whether they were unaware they had pulled up at the side of a fairway. Maybe they were thinking of having a barbecue, but after about an hour they pulled away.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 stuck chain released, 1 bakewell tart, 1 ball of biscuit dough ready to cook, 1 of the best deco buildings in England, 2 pints milk, 1 loaf of bread, 1 bottle of wine, 1 golfing boat, 1 model dusted off and glued, 0 coal boat still, 1st look at Nicholsons Guide 7.

1 thought on “Hoover. 23rd April

  1. Pingback: Last Lock To London. 5th July | NB Oleanna

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