Modernism in Metro-Land

We’re excited to welcome Joshua Abbott as a new expert on Placecloud.

Joshua is a writer, photographer and tour guide, focusing on the Art Deco and Modernist architecture of London’s suburbs. Since 2011 he has run the Modernism in Metro-Land website and has just published A Guide to Modernism in Metro-Land, the pocket guide to the suburbs’ hidden architecture. He is also contributor to 100 20th-Century Gardens and Landscapes, and The Alternative Guide to the London Boroughs.

“A Guide to Modernism in Metro-Land” has been featured in The Guardian, Monocle and Dezeen, and on BBC London Radio. Joshua is also prominent on social media channels via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr. He lives in Welwyn Garden City with his family, and works in London as a printer.

Joshua will be publishing 12 viewpoints on Placecloud in June 2021. We can look forward to hearing about an array of his favourite Art Deco and Modernist manifestations in London:

  • Factories of the Great West Road, Brentford. The “Golden Mile”, featuring fantastical art deco factories by Wallis, Gilbert & Partners and others.
  • Arnos Grove Tube Station. Charles Holden’s mini masterpiece, a marriage of Scandinavian modernism and British Arts and Crafts.
  • Daily Express Building, Fleet Street. Owen Williams sleek 1932 headquarters for the Daily Express, the future straight from the past. 
  • The Isokon Building, Belsize Park. A machine for living in, designed by Wells Coates and home to a host of artists, designers and writers.
  • The Warren Estate, Stanmore. A well preserved group of modernist houses at the end of the Jubilee line in Stanmore, the definition of modernism in metro-land.
  • Lady Bankes School, Ruislip. The best work of the pioneering Middlesex County Council architect department, using Dutch-inspired modernist design.
  • Simpson of Piccadilly. The elegant premises for Simpsons mens outfitters, designed by Joseph Emberton in Portland stone and internally arranged by Laszlo Mohloy-Nagy.
  • Walthamstow Town Hall. A grandiose civic centre, proclaiming the confidence of the new Municipal Boroughs and District Councils of the 1930s.
  • Stockwell Bus Garage. The cathedral of bus garages, designed by Adie, Button and Partners in 1952 to accommodate 200 buses under soaring concrete. 
  • St Pauls, Bow Common. East end, brutalist-style church by Maguire and Murray, voted by Britain’s best modern church in 2013.
  • Crystal Palace recreation Centre. Sports complex featuring an athletics stadium, swimming pools, squash courts and an outdoor music venue.
  • Balfron Tower, Poplar. The centerpiece of the Brownfield Estate, designed by Erno Goldfinger, and lightning rod in the debate over social housing and gentrification. 

We’re delighted to have Joshua on board.

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