Esoteric London

No. 584: Warwick Road, W14

Posted in Architectural, Clubs, Shops by esotericlondon on May 24, 2012

Homebase, Warwick Road, London, W14. Photo © Roger Dean 2012

Palace and Hovel: Or, Phases of London Life. Being Personal Observations Of An American in London, by Day and Night; With Graphic Descriptions of Royal and Noble Personages, their Residences and Relaxations; Together with Vivid Illustrations of the Manners, Social Customs, and Modes of Living of the Rich and the Reckless, the Destitute and the Depraved, in the Metropolis of Great Britain – Daniel Joseph Kirwan, 1870:

While we are standing looking […], the room [in the Argyll] is darkened, the gas being almost extinguished, and a chemical, light-colored flame irradiates the room like a twilight at sea, and the entire female population rush below to join in the last, wild, mad shadow-dance of the night. Around and around they go in each other’s arms, whirling in the dim, uncertain, graveyard light, these unclean things of the darkness, shouting and shrieking, totally lost to shame – their gestures wanton as the movements of an Egyptian Almee and mad as the capers of a dancing dervish.

[ Egypt and the Egyptians have long had an influence on English architecture and design. Ian Pollard Architects continued this tradition when in 1988 they designed the Homebase store on Warwick Road. The external wall of the building has a frieze of kitch Egyptiana which features several deities including Seth in the photograph above who can be seen clutching an electric drill.

The Argyll Rooms opened as a fashionable ‘evening club’ in Little Argyll Street in 1806. R.D.]

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