Modernism in Lewisham?

First off I’m not entirely sure that ‘modernist’ is the correct term to describe these three buildings in Lewisham High Street that caught my eye when I was down there the other week. But it’s the word that pops into my befuddled brain when I look at them.

Nikolaus Pevsner was fairly dismissive of Lewisham, writing in 1952 that it was, ‘A large borough, but little to see’. Although he knew his modernism from his art-deco, I am compelled to disagree.
The building above however is the only one I’ve found any info on – it was a 1960s department store, but I haven’t yet found out its original name.

The past life and former glories of this branch of Currys eludes me though. It’s a magnficient building worthy of more than being shared between cheap electronics and nail varnish remover.

The detail on the facade was clearly the product of an age that took its retail architecture seriously. This building seems slightly embarrassed by what has become of it, skulking back behind its tacky plastic frontage.
I wonder if it’s a survivor of the V1 attack on Lewisham Market in July 1944 that devastated the town centre

Ok this Primark isn’t quite so grand but still recalls a Grace Brothers age of High Street glamour and civic dignity.
I didn’t glide down to Lewisham on the DLR to study retail behemoths but I can’t seem to get these buildings out of my head. Just need to find out the correct word to describe them now.

london

2 Comments

  1. Martin   •  

    I think the Superdrug and Currys one was originally F. W. Woolworth. When the shopping centre behind the building opened Woolworths would have had an entrance at either end. The store was split and Woolworths kept the shopping centre side where it remained until Woolworths closed it’s stores. It is now H&M.

    Before the 90s Woolworths stores were much bigger than the 90s/00s and the Lewisham store was halved. At the time Superdrug and Woolworths were owned by the same company, in fact Woolworths used to sell Superdrug products and in the late 80s / early 90s when they started reducing the size of the stores they would have Superdrug stores open in parts that were the parts of the Woolworths stores, they did the same in Croydon.

  2. Pingback: Lewisham – Store 20 | Woolies Buildings - Then and Now

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