As one of the Society’s main themes for this year is the 1930s, we thought we’d support the Modernism in Metro-Land blog’s efforts to crowdfund a guide to the architectural delights of the north-western end of the Metropolitan line. Here the book’s author, Joshua Abbot, tells us about the project and how you can donate and get your hands on a copy of the book.
“Metroland is a country with elastic borders that each visitor can draw for himself as Stevenson drew his map of Treasure Island” Metro-Land Guidebook 1924
I started Modernism in Metro-Land in 2011 whilst living in South Harrow. I began noticing some of the buildings in the area, like Rayners Lane station and the art deco former Grosvenor Cinema, and began to be interested in them and the idea of Metro-Land. Metro-Land has become synonymous with a wistful sort of suburbia, all privet hedges and mock tudor. In fact Metro-Land is actually full of exuberant art deco cinemas, stark modernist houses and brutalist megastructures. Created by the expansion of the Metropolitan Railway at the start of the 20th century, transport links would bring modernism to the suburbs, from Charles Holden’s Piccadilly Line stations to Wallis, Gilbert and Partners Egyptian themed factories by the Great West Road.
The website has expanded, much like London itself, to encompass not just the Metro-Land towns of Wembley, Harrow and Pinner, but other suburban centres like Greenford, Enfield and Edgware, often overlooked when talking about the Capital’s architectural heritage. Modernism in Metro-Land has now teamed up with crowdfunding publishing company Unbound, to produce A Guide to Modernism in Metro-Land, a pocket guide to the modernist buildings of the suburbs.