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A Grade II* Listed Building in St James's, London

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Latitude: 51.509 / 51°30'32"N

Longitude: -0.136 / 0°8'9"W

OS Eastings: 529456

OS Northings: 180539

OS Grid: TQ294805

Mapcode National: GBR FF.M7

Mapcode Global: VHGQZ.LBGK

Plus Code: 9C3XGV57+HJ

Entry Name: Simpsons

Listing Date: 14 September 1970

Last Amended: 30 March 2001

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1226639

English Heritage Legacy ID: 423869

Location: St. James's, Westminster, London, SW1Y

County: London

District: City of Westminster

Electoral Ward/Division: St James's

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: City of Westminster

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St James Piccadilly

Church of England Diocese: London

Tagged with: Building

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1900/70/84 No.30

(Formerly listed as:
Nos. 30 and 34


Includes: Simpsons, No.203-206 PICCADILLY W1

Men's outfitters, now a department store. 1935-6 by Joseph Emberton with Felix Samuely,
structural engineer. Welded steel frame clad in Portland stone, flat roof to Emberton building raised behind parapet in 1962 by Leo de SyUas of Architects' Co- Partnership. Showrooms on five storeys plus basement, each an open space divided only by two pairs of columns. Sixth floor offices, with staff rooms on roof. End stacks. Principal facade on PiccadiUy with the ground-floor shopfront opening spanning in excess of 60', and the patent non-reflecting, concave display windows set in black marble on either side of central recessed display case (a later addition) and chromed steel-framed entrance doors, emphasised bya cantilevered canopy. The first to fourth floors given a strong horizontal emphasis with one long window divided into three bays with bronze-cased mullions. The aprons faced with Portland stone slabs tipped slightly outwards to receive the soft neon floodlighting from curved bronze troughs set as continuous eyebrows above the windows. The composition is framed on each side by vertical stone-faced panels on to which are bracketed bronze flagstaffs. The fifth floor is recessed to create a terrace and is protected by a full-width concrete canopy inset with panels of glass blocks. This obscures the sixth and seventh floors from most views in the street. The rear facade on Jermyn Street is treated as a well-proportioned stone-faced wall with strong perforations. Wide, double-height window includes set-back mullion glazed window over black marble-fIamed shopfronts and central door. This double-height space subtly denotes a change of levels between Jermyn Street and Piccadilly. The first, second and third floors have a regular tripartite pattern of glazing to the left of an escape stair on the south-east corner. The windows are linked by a continuous stone cill. The upper floors are set back behind balconies. The original 'Simpson Piccadilly, the letter 'P' shared by both words, designed by Ashley Havinden in 1936-7.
Internally the innovative, electrically welded steel structural frame is organised in four rows of columns forming a square grid. This is denoted by two pairs of columns on each floor which partially divide each space into three sections. Travertine floors throughout. In the centre of the west wall is the gracious staircase, of travertine steps, with rough-cast plate glass balustrading secured by widely spaced aluminium balusters and surmounted by an orange vermilion coated circular handrail. Fully glazed stairwell with ribbed, opaque glass. The interior is a remarkably complete surviving example of the 1930s' moderne style.
On top of Emberton's building, Leo de Syllas's staff recreation room is an innovative light-weight structure of steel panels with fused-on stone dust surface, that is discrete and which does not damage the integrity of Emberton's building. The interiors of this roof extension are not of special interest. An immaculately composed, innovative and well-preserved 'tour de force' of the Modern Movement, by the principal English architect to build commercial premises in the idiom and one of his foremost works. The welded steel structure is one of the first two in Britain, comparable in date with the better known example at the De la Warr Pavilion, Bexhill (q.v.) by the same engineer. The combination produced Britain's finest department store of the 1930s, 'an excellent, progressive piece of store design' (Pevsner and Cherry, The Buildings of England, London 1, 1972.
Sources: Architect and Building News, 8 May 1936 Architects' Journal, 21 May 1936
Architectural Design and Construction, June 1936 Architectural Review, June 1936
-Survey of London, vol. XXIX, The Parish of StJames, Westminster, Part One, South of Piccadilly, 1960,
p.258 Nikolaus Pevsner and Bridget Cherry, The Buildings of England, London 1, 1972 Rosemary Ind, Emberton, 1983

Listing NGR: TQ2945680539

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