Television Centre (1960) - central courtyard
Television Centre (1960) - Stage Door
A walk around the classic buildings of Wood Lane, London W12
Television Centre - Main Entrance (1997)
Shepherds Bush Empire (1903) - BBC Television Theatre
Wood Lane Metropolitan Line station (2008)
White City Living and Central Line tube line
White City Central Line station (1947)
Imperial College ThinkSpace, London W12
BBC Media Village (BBC Broadcast Centre, BBC Media Centre and BBC White City), now White City Place
White City Place
White City Living
Westfield London Extension (2018), Grenfell Tower (1974) on left in distance (derelict, covered in banner)
Wood Lane, red brick railway engine shed (c. 1908) on right, now part of bus terminal
Westfield London (2008)
A walk around the classic buildings of Wood Lane, London W12 reads like a page of the Who’s Who of English architecture. The jewel must be BBC Television Centre (1960, architect Graham Dawbarn), though no longer the “Home of British television”; just up Wood Lane are BBC White City (1990, architects Scott Brownrigg & Turner).and BBC Media Village (2004, architects Allies and Morrison) now called White City Place.
At the foot of Wood Lane is the classic Shepherds Bush Empire theatre (1903, architect Frank Matcham) which served as the BBC Television Theatre from 1953 to 1991, but it is the only one of the once-glorious trio of Shepherds Bush theatres to survive with a stage.
On the city side of Wood Lane, the already massive Westfield shopping centre is rapidly being joined by the blocks of the White City Living project towering Metropolis-like above the tube-train lines.
The White City Central Line station (1947, Post-WW2 austerity architecture) gained an architectural award at the Festival of Britain (1951) and its modernisation also received architectural recognition in 2008. A short walk along Wood Lane and under the railway’s arches is the gate-line of Wood Lane Metropolitan Line station (2008, Ian Ritchie Architects).
Imperial College has renamed as “The Invention Rooms” a building handed on from the BBC’s technology support operation at the top of Wood Lane; then beyond the elevated Westway motorway, towers Imperial College’s ThinkSpace and Central Working on the former site of the BBC’s commercial enterprises.
Notions of architectural coherence for the area? Not a lot, but there are a couple of common themes. Red brick, green glass and white concrete abound, a theme broken only by the stark colours recently added to the ex-BBC White City building. Is it a bit fanciful to suggest the red is inspired by the red brick engine shed at the site of the old Wood Lane tube station, now a bus terminal? Maybe the designers have taken literally the white of “White City” for the White City Living group? The Metropolis-like view of the same development appears to have been deliberately preserved. Also of note, the former BBC Centre House, now The Ugli Campus, a community arts and cultural centre that survives (so far) in one of the last of the BBC's functional and cost-effective but unloved Sixties buildings.
It is staggering how much development has taken place around this area where I worked, on and off, for about twenty years. It is also tragic how little of this investment and development relates to either public service broadcasting or the lonely and the hungry people to whom the many banners of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham are offering support. Chillingly within sight - if you know where to look - are the green heart logo and “Always in our hearts” banners concealing the tragic charred remains of Grenfell Tower.