Petrol filling station, c.1926 for Cory Bros. Ltd.
Reason for Listing
The East Sheen Filling Station is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Early date: one of the earliest surviving examples of a purpose-built filling station;
* Plan form: a pioneering UK instance of an 'American-style' filling station, with canopy and office under a single roof;
* Architectural treatment: a building of considerable charm, its external details echoing the contemporary suburban vernacular and reflecting an attempt to give the motor car a reassuringly domestic face.
Planning permission and a petrol licence for a filling station on Upper Richmond Road West were obtained in 1922 by Cory Bros., a large firm of fuel distributors based in the City of London. The station itself, which belonged to the Blue Star network, was built around 1926, at a time when the surrounding area - previously a surviving pocket of orchards and market gardens between Mortlake and Richmond - was being developed for housing. The building remained largely unaltered until the mid-1990s, when the door and windows to the forecourt were replaced, and the side door and window blocked up.
Early British filling stations - of which the first was opened by the AA at Aldermaston, Berkshire in 1919 - were generally built on limited budgets by private individuals or small firms, and were seldom more than a ramshackle collection of roadside pumps, kiosks, advertisement hoardings and other ad-hoc structures. Criticism of their visual impact by the Council for the Protection of Rural England and others led to the adoption of an architecturally more coordinated approach, often based on the US pattern of an integrated office and canopy structure. The present building is a very early instance of this type, of which only a few examples now survive; they include the extravagant 'Chinese garage' at Beckenham, south London (1928) and the Italianate filling station at Clovelly Cross in Devon (1930).
MATERIALS: painted brick, partly pebbledashed; pitched timber roof clad in pantiles.
PLAN: the filling station is a small rectangular structure comprising an office/shop to the rear with a forecourt in front, both covered by a single pitched roof. The rear block is roughly square, and is pebbledashed above a high brick plinth. Facing the forecourt are two windows flanking a central doorway, their apertures and cills original but the glazing and door now renewed. The large window in the west flank preserves its original Crittall-type glazing, but the smaller window and doorway in the east flank have been blocked up. The low-pitched chalet-style roof structure has a boarded soffit and deep overhanging eaves carried on moulded triangular brackets. At the north end it is supported on two square brick piers, between which are set the (modern) petrol pumps. The gable above has applied half-timbering and a scroll finial. The interior of the shop has been wholly modernised and is not of special interest.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.