As a young man in architecture, I remember one of my very first commissions. At the time I didn’t realise the significance, but it caused the ruination of one of London’s most loved, historic landmarks, the Lyon’s Corner House at the Junction of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street. My part was to measure and draw the now vacant building as it existed.
Looking like the inside of the Titanic wreck, without the floodwater, this magnificent hardwood clad basement space had indeed been splendid. As I wandered though the main room, I could almost hear the violin quartet, gently playing in the background, the clink of porcelean cups and saucers and the polite tittering of ladies taking tea, the ‘Nippies’ bustling to and fro, serving their customers’ every wish.
It took me three days to map every square inch of this subterranean masterpiece, mainly because I stopped so often to marvel at its magnificence. There were relics and old posters everywhere but, I was not able to salvage any of them, indeed, sadly, I didn’t at that time even see a need.
This was however to be the end of an era, the death of a once loved bye-gone age. Horror of horrors, I discovered my drawing was not to be used as the basis to renovate this lovely space to its previous splendour, it was to become one of London’s first multiplex cinemas. Worse than that, it was to be a sex cinema. What a crime against humanity, such a waste, it should have become a museum, but, whereas sex sells, history does not.
The proof of this may well be the title of my blog, the story is true, its title engineered to prove my point.