architecture,  Art Deco

English Riviera Art Deco

Like bread and butter, and Tom and Jerry, Art Deco and the seaside are a match seemingly made in heaven. Whether this is linked to the mainly white painted, or faience tiled buildings looking better on the coast, or if it is linked to the details that sometimes call to mind ocean liners (porthole style windows, smooth curves and fin details etc), there is no doubt that you find a lot of art deco architecture beside the sea. A case in point is Devon. I spent last week in the Torbay area of Devon, the so called (and pretty wonderful) English Riviera of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, and found there was so much deco that I would need to take another trip to document it all. From old shop fronts, to glamorous former quayside hotels, from former electricity showrooms, to the incredible house that is Sunpark, art deco is alive and kicking, and, with many of the buildings Grade 2 listed, hopefully preserved for future generations.

Here are some of the buildings I was able to photograph last week, with some pictures not brilliant as they were grabbed while I was in the car (or from the tourist train!)

Torquay – The former Queens Hotel

This stunning, majestic building is on the Marina at Torquay on The Strend and was the former Queens Hotel. It is now Queens Quay, and has been converted into apartments. The bottom floor houses a dinosaur attraction, hence some of the interesting street furniture. This is an incredible building that seems to have been sympathetically restored.

Park Lane – The former Gibbons Hotel

Just up the road from Queens Quay on The Strand is another fabulous former hotel. This is Park Lane, now a nightclub and bar, but formally the Gibbons Hotel and Siver Grill. You can find an original picture here

Electric House

Built in 1935 as the Electric Showroom, this is a prime example of how, during the 1930’s electricity in homes was becoming more commonplace, and the showrooms for these new products were often futuristic and ultra modern in style. This is now grade 2 listed.

Castle Circus House

This is a building that many often mistake as built in the 1970’s, but this is another example of moderne style that was actually built in the mid 1930’s.

Hoopers Department Store Formally Williams and Cox Department Store

Another beautiful 1930’s building on The Strand is, since 1982, Hoopers Department store. Previous to this, it has been Williams and Cox department store, one of two buildings they owned on The Strand, the other being destroyed by a huge fire in 1939.

You can find out more about Williams and Cox here.

Harvester Restaurant

This reminds me a little of the Harvester restaurant at Boscombe, which has a similar Art Deco look.

Paignton Co-0p store

Moving onto Paignton now, and this Art Deco building that is home to a branch of Co-op supermarket. I’m not sure if it was originally a Co-op, although they were certainly responsible for some stunning, art deco buildings so it could well be the case. If anyone knows, I would love to know.

Sunpark – Brixham

One of the most stunning private houses around the Sunpark, a 1935 Art Deco home. Designed by architect Melville Aubin for Mr G. B. Jordain, this is now Grade 2 listed and is, quite frankly, my dream home.

Shoalstone Seawater Pool

When you think of a Lido or freshwater pool, you can only think of the 1930’s, art deco era. Shoalstone pool is fabulous, a relic of the 1930’s that has incredible views and is still in use, thanks to local volunteers who took it over in 2014. It is the perfect place to enjoy a drink and meal overlooking Brixham, and, if you are brave, to have a dip.

Art Deco House, Shoalstone, Brixham

Another beautiful house I spotted at Shoalstone. I have no details on this one, but it is a beauty.

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