An Art Deco Walking Tour of Whitechapel

Way back in 2015, when I was still working in London, the company I was working for moved their offices from the Strand (near Charing Cross) to east London. I was excited to explore a new area but I was pleasantly surprised to see how many Art Deco buildings there were in the area. I immediately mentioned this to Yannick and was delighted when he announced an Art Deco Tour of Whitechapel last year.

Yannick’s tour was incredibly well-researched and we learned all about the characters and changing times of the Whitechapel area, including the rag trade, famous photography studios, Jewish refugees and sweatshops. I definitely don’t want to spoil the tour but I’ll share ten of the Art Deco buildings that we saw on the tour.

One America Square

One America Square was the first 'Art Deco' building that I spotted in the area. I’ve used quote marks there because the building is somewhat of a pretender, as suggested by its ostentatious grandeur and was only completed in 1990. There used to a fabulous bar at the bottom of my photo, which proved very popular for after-work drinks and farewell parties. I suspect it was a victim of the pandemic.

Ibex House

I'm going to try not to proclaim favourites on this post because out of the ten buildings I’ve featured, approximately half of them are favourites of mine. Nevertheless, Ibex House is my third favourite of the buildings featured in this post. It is pictured both here and at the very top of the post. Located at 42-47 Minories, I used to walk past this beautiful building every day on the way to work.

Number One Prescot Street

This imposing building was once known as The Tea House and is now divided into several posh apartments.

Sugar House, 99 Lehman Street

Sugar House fell into disrepair for over 20 years but was restored and divided into more expensive apartments.

Pentex Head Office, 94-100 Christian Street

The Pentex building remains Pentex’s head office.

Myrdle Court, Myrdle Street

Myrdle Court is part of the Myrdle Street conservation area which hopefully means the building will get an injection of cash to update the facades and windows.

Cheviot House

Cheviot House is my second favourite of the buildings featured in this post and is located on Philpot Street.

Cheviot House was built in 1937 for textile merchants Kornberg & Segal and was the subject of a massive fight against demolition. The building was saved from the ill intentions of Tower Hamlets borough and is now (you guessed it) divided into posh apartments.

Comfort House

Comfort House, Gwynne House and New Road Hotel (below) were designed by Hume Victor Kerr.

Gwynne House

I loved this building so much and took an insane amount of photos of it. Gwynne House is located on Turner Street and there is a lift in that central tower. This building brought back so many memories of living in apartments in Johannesburg, which also has a high number of Art Deco properties.

New Road Hotel

As suggested by its name, New Road Hotel is now a hotel after a multi-million pound investment but it was formerly a garment factory until its closure in 2000. It was originally designed by Hume Victor Kerr.

That brings us to the end of the Art Deco walking tour of Whitechapel. Yannick doesn't have any tours planned at the moment but visit London Art Deco Tours and sign up to be notified when the next tours are scheduled. You can also visit my previous posts on Yannick's Art Deco Tours of Bloomsbury and The Strand or check out the interactive map below to plan your own walk.

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