Listing: Locally listed, approved March 2000.
Research laboratories and offices for GKN, built in the early 1950s.
Architects: Lavender, Twentyman and Percy.
Awards: Bronze Medal, RIBA design award.
||The 1950s produced some terrible
architecture and the style has long been unfashionable. The few
exceptions are worth preserving and this is one of them. It is well
ordered, unfussy, classical in its restraint. By one of
Wolverhampton's leading firms of architects, who did a good job with
several other important buildings locally, including Bushbury
Crematorium, the Gas Company Offices in Darlington Street and St.
Andrew's Church in Whitmore Reans. The value of the building
is much enhanced by the well designed and well
It is not surprising that it was local residents who initiated the move
for its preservation when redevelopment plans for the whole GKN site
seemed to threaten it. That local people should support a building
of this era speaks volumes for it. The site was once an enormous fireclay pit, of
considerable importance to local industry. The fact that this is
reclaimed land adds to the merit of the development.
Plans have now been approved for the residential
development of the whole site behind these buildings, preserving these
buildings as offices.
The building has at least one entertaining detail:
These symbols appear above the doorway, shown in the top
photo. Thanks to Karl Johnson we can now identify them. They are the
three alchemic signs.
The symbol on the left is for sulphur, the middle symbol
is for salt and the right-hand symbol is for mercury.