Friday, 3 February 2012

Beauty When You Least Expect It

Had to pop to Linwood near Paisley today to meet someone for work. Nearly missed the place. The St James Centre 'Managed Offices' is barely signed and just off a roundabout amidst a sea of bland industrial erections. As we parked up I started to pay attention. The building we were visiting seemed different. Easy to pass but once noticed it starts to suck you in. It really reminded me of my Dad's old offices in Cwmbran... Lucas Girling... manufacturers of brakes for lorries and, far more excitingly to a six year old boy, Formula One racing.

The similarity was uncanny. More so as we went through the doors.

60s architecture done properly. Fabulous quality materials displaying a real old fashioned sense of a future led by industry and innovation.

My enthusiasm prompted someone to introduce me to John with the words, "He owns the building".

John explained it was built by the Rootes Group, motor manufacturers, and their main base was Birmingham, just like Lucas, so it wasn't impossible that the same architects had been employed at Cwmbran and Linwood.

So this place had been Rootes then later, after a buy-out, Chrysler Europe's HQ and to the front and back stretched the factories that once built the Hillman Imp. The foyer had been the showroom for a time. John's pictured here with a photograph showing the building, the thin strip in the middle, and the factories. They're all gone now.

John bought the building after selling a brick manufacturing business near Swansea. He wasn't sure that sale had left quite enough to retire on. What a brilliantly aesthetic pension plan!

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