Friday, 4 September 2015

Friday Is Rock'n'Roll London Day – Giles Gilbert Scott's Greatest Hits

Adam writes…

Passing by the Phoenix Theatre on the Rock'n'Roll London Walk recently (on our way to the famous Saville Theatre) and something suddenly caught my eye in the design…

The architect at work is Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and the theatre dates from 1930.

I'd noticed the pilasters before, of course – the four carved 2-D, "flat pillars", two either side of the facade.

But last week, for the first time, I caught an echo of another of Gilbert Scott's famous London buildings which also features four upright "columns" as its central motif…

Granted, the "columns" on Battersea Power Station were designed to be more than decorative, but… if you take the two central pilasters on The Phoenix (see above) and push them backward, and then take the two outer pilasters and pull them forwards, the Phoenix becomes a neo-classical,  2-D fold-out Battersea Power Station.

Both buildings have musical connections. The Pheonix was opened in 1930 with the play Private Lives, written by Noel Coward, Coward being one of England's leading pop song writers of the first half of the 20th Century. In more recent years, chart-topping pop stars have appeared here in musicals: Ronan Keating of Boyzone in Once; Marti Pellow of Wet Wet Wet, Petula Clark and Mel C of the Spice Girls in Blood Brothers. All the acts mentioned achieved UK number one singles.*

Battersea Power Station can be glimpsed in The Beatles film Help! The interior features on the sleeve of Hawkwind's 1977 album Quark, Strangeness and Calm. Most famously, of course, it appears on the cover of Pink Floyd's Animals – as featured in issue one of the Rock'n'Roll London Comic Book

* We don't usually set out to cover the Spice Girls, or Wet Wet Wet, Boyzone or Noel Coward on the Rock'n'Roll London Walk, but our Walkers have famously eclectic tastes!

The Rock'n'Roll London Walk meets at Tottenham Court Road station every Friday at 2:00p.m.

And here's our Rock'n'Roll London film…

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment