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Buildings featured on these pages:
|Hoover Factory, Perivale|
By the early 1930s, the American Hoover Company had established itself as a leading brand of vacuum cleaner manufacturers internationally, and as domestic residences were increasingly being wired up to mains electricity, demand grew for the new appliances. The Perivale plant was to be first manufacturing facility outside of North America to be built by
Designed by the architectural firm of Wallis Gilbert and Partners, the Perivale plant was just one of several spectacular Art Deco factory buildings that lined Western Avenue. Their different styles befitted their prominent locations on this new highway, and it would not be innaccurate to claim that the factories themselves formed a type of advertising for their owners. The main building at Hoover was opened and manufacturing vacuum cleaners by 1933, and although the building is relatively restrained in comparison to other examples of this architectural genre on these pages, it nevertheless proved to be a striking landmark, both then and now. The factory was built in steel-reinforced concrete, which was formulated to stay pure white in colour and referred to at the as 'Snowcrete'. This kept the building looking clean at all times, especially after rainfall, and seeing such a sparkling and modern building would have led to a positive association between it and its products to the passer-by.
The plant stayed in use by Hoover until the early 1980s, as concerns about the condition of the structure were expressed. The building was suffering from what is known as concrete cancer - the process of the steel reinforcing rusting and pushing apart the concrete. The building had been listed before closure, a move seen to be a response to the destruction of the
After standing idle for some years, the site was purchased by Tesco supermarkets in 1989, and although the main manufacturing area at the rear was removed to make way for a supermarket and car parking, the frontage and the canteen were carefully restored by the retail chain, a process which included pioneering use of a re-alkalisation technique which was instrumental in preserving the original fabric of the structure. The future of this remarkable building is now assured, and it remains as one of the best-known landmarks in West London.