Hoover Building

Hoover Building

The Hoover Building on the Western Avenue (A40) in Perivale, Middlesex is an example of Art Deco architecture, designed by Wallis, Gilbert and Partners. It is celebrated in the song "Hoover Factory" by Elvis Costello.


Built for The Hoover Company, the building originally housed Hoover's main UK manufacturing facility making vacuum cleaners, and employed up to 600 staff in the its offices and works. The original building (No.1) was built in 1932 and contained the main offices; before it was completed plans were being put in place to add manufacturing facilities. As staff moved into their new offices foundations were being laid for a factory block to the east of the original building; this new block came to be known as Building No.3 and was complete and fully operational by February 1933. In January 1934 plans were drawn up for an additional two storey extension on top of the factory building and by May 1934 construction was well under way. Demand for Hoover vacuum cleaners continued to grow and in 1935 Wallis, Gilbert and Partners designed a new factory (Building No.5) behind the original building. In 1938 a separate canteen and recreation centre (Building No.7) was completed to the west of the original office.

Second World War

During the Second World War the Hoover Factory manufactured electrical equipment for aircraft and tanks. The factory operated 24 hours a day, with employees working shifts. The buildings were repainted and camouflaged with netting to avoid being spotted and bombed by German aircraft. During the blitz a lookout post was set up on the roof, and was manned by members of the sales force who were too old for active service. The Hoover Company organised an evacuation scheme, and sent children of employees to live at the homes of Hoover staff in Canada.

Hoover's UK expansion

After the Second World War an additional five-storey building (No.8) was built and stood to the north of the site alongside building No.5. Over the following years Hoover expanded their operations in the UK, building a new factory for cylinder vacuum cleaners in Cambuslang. Hoover continued manufacturing upright cleaners at the Hoover Building until the early 1980s when production was moved to the Cambuslang facility. The office remained open at the site for a few more years until it too was eventually closed and Hoover left the site. The building remained empty for many years, slowly falling into disrepair and, like many buildings of its generation, its future looked in doubt. Another one of Wallis, Gilbert and Partners' Art-Deco factories, the Firestone Building on the Great West Road (A4) in West London was demolished over a bank holiday weekend in 1980, as the owners, Trafalgar House Investments, had got wind of the listing to save the factory, which had been issued but which was granted a day too late. All that remains of the Firestone Building today is the railing around the site. The same fate could have befallen the Hoover Building, but in 1980 the original building [IoEentry|201068|Main Front Block to Hoover Factory - listing on Images of England] and in 1981 the canteen block [IoEentry|201088|Canteen Block to Hoover Factory - listing on Images of England] were granted a Grade II* listing.

Tesco Re-generation

In 1989 the supermarket chain Tesco purchased the Hoover Building and 16 of the 17 houses that backed onto the Hoover site. Plans were then set in motion to build a Tesco Supermarket at the rear of the site and restore the original building and canteen, and convert them into offices. Work on the site started in 1991 and included the demolition of Buildings No.5 and 8. Construction of the new supermarket started in January 1992 and was completed in November 1992. Tesco worked closely with English Heritage during design and construction on the site. The new supermarket includes lots of design nods to the original building. The entrance to the supermarket mirrors the fan window design of the Hoover Building's front entrance.


ee also

*India Tyre Factory
*Carreras Building
*Golden Mile (Brentford)

External links

* [http://www.74simon.co.uk/hooverbuilding.html Hoover Factory, Perivale ]
* [http://edward.vam.ac.uk/vastatic/microsites/1157_art_deco/about/buildings/hoover.htm Hoover Factory Western Avenue, Greenford, UB6 8BW]

Coordinates: [http://www.jonathanriley.net/hoover_building.kml 51.53357N, 0.319265W]

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