Skip to content

More Ghastly Facades

January 8, 2021
by the gentle author

To give you a chance to stock up for the new lockdown, we are extending our January sale. All titles in the online shop are half price with the discount code JANUARY until midnight on Sunday.

Click here to visit the Spitalfields Life Bookshop

Despite everything, the relentless advance of facadism continues across London as illustrated by these most recent examples. THE CREEPING PLAGUE OF GHASTLY FACADISM is included in the sale.

In Newell St next to Nicholas Hawksmoor’s St Anne, Limehouse

Nineteenth century warehouse in Norton Folgate facaded by British Land

Former Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel

Corner of Half Moon St and Piccadilly

Former American Embassy, Grosvenor Sq, designed by Eero Saarinen in 1960

All that remains of the Kings Rd Odeon. Originally named the Gaumont Palace, it was designed by cinema architect William Edward Trent and opened in 1934.

Eighteenth Century Weaver’s House in Norton Folgate facaded by British Land

All that remains of Kensington Odeon. Originally built in as 1926 as The Kensington in 1926, designed by Julian Randolph Leathart & W.F Grainger.

Click here to order a copy for half price

“As if I were being poked repeatedly in the eye with a blunt stick, I cannot avoid becoming increasingly aware of a painfully cynical trend in London architecture which threatens to turn the city into the backlot of an abandoned movie studio.”

The Gentle Author presents a humorous analysis of facadism – the unfortunate practice of destroying an old building apart from the front wall and constructing a new building behind it – revealing why it is happening and what it means.

As this bizarre architectural fad has spread across the capital, The Gentle Author has photographed the most notorious examples, collecting an astonishing gallery of images guaranteed to inspire both laughter and horror in equal measure.

You may also like to take a look at

My Facade Safaris

The Creeping Plague of Ghastly Facadism

8 Responses leave one →
  1. Ros permalink
    January 8, 2021

    O horrible! Most horrible! And as you say, it’s continuing its relentless progress even during the pandemic, when so many other things have ground to a halt. If only….

  2. Jill Wilson permalink
    January 8, 2021

    Not so much a plague – more like a pandemic!!

    I wish there was a vaccine on the horizon to stop all this ghastliness….

  3. Sue Mayer permalink
    January 8, 2021

    The criminal and wanton destruction of historical buildings in London makes me very cross. I think a facade is worse than total destruction as it is a constant reminder of what has been lost forever.

    I hope somebody sees sense soon.

  4. January 8, 2021

    I don’t like facadism, but better than totally eradicating the original. During my married life I lived in Maidenhead Berkshire for 34 years which used to be an attractive market town, on the old London to Bath/A4 Road. Maidenhead has/had a rich past history, but sadly, current town planners have had most of it recently demolished to replace with a high rise centre, mainly consisting of blocks of flats. All visible signs of history eradicated – due to expected planned cross-rail which I believe is no longer going to run through Maidenhead Station. A disgraceful state of affairs, but will those Planners be held to account? I very much doubt it!

  5. paul loften permalink
    January 8, 2021

    The corner of Half Moon St and Picadilly could be a case of life imitating art. The facade gives us a gap which is an eyesore more than a builder’s bum in an aptly named street One cannot resist a crack when faced with such sights.

  6. Marvin permalink
    January 8, 2021

    [The Developer parasite] “attacks a host [building], replaces its [inner being, soul, and] tissue, and sprouts ominous [additional floors, so-called-“amenities,” reflective glass windows, and] stems that grow outside of its body. These [amenity] stems eventually release spores into the air, [attracting more investors, governmental planners, and developers, and ultimately] infecting other host [building]s.”

  7. melissa delano permalink
    January 8, 2021

    The same is happening in our neck of the woods in northern New Mexico…no understanding/appreciation of our unique historic legacy… frankly, it smacks of cultural genocide…unfortunately, it appears to be a world wide trend…positively soul sucking

  8. January 10, 2021

    They have ruined my beautiful city and its memories.

Leave a Reply

Note: Comments may be edited. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS