The first thing you'll notice about the two 'camouflaged' buildings I'm about to mention, is that on the photos below, they are quite visible, which would suggest they're not very well camouflaged. However, they're still officially camouflaged, and both as a result of the Second World War.
Stoke Newington Town Hall
This Art Deco building, completed in 1937 resides on Stoke Newington Church Street, just next to Clissold Park and opposite quite a nice pub called the Rose & Crown, should you happen to be in the area and fancy a drink.
If you look very closely at the exterior of the Town Hall, you'll notice faded swirling shapes of camouflage paint, which were applied in 1939. I think it was because the building was used as the area's civil defense headquarters, rather than because they were worried about loosing it through bombing, when they'd only just built it in the first place. It's a Grade II listed building and apparently due to the rarity of the feature, every effort is made to preserve the camouflage paint.
The Admiralty Citadel
This rather grandly named, monstrosity of a building is right in the centre of London, backs on to The Mall which leads from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace, looks over Horse Guards Parade and is a hop and a skip from St James's Park. It looks like a massive concrete fortress that has been plunged in to the centre of Whitehall and actually, that's exactly what it is. The amazing thing is, that most people pass through Horse Guards Parade without even noticing its existence. Usually, it's completely covered in ivy, but when I took the photos of it the other day, it was devoid of its leafy cover, so was basking in all its practical and nondescript glory.
It's the building on the left, in case you were wondering. The Admiralty Citadel was built at the beginning of WWII as the Admiralty communications centre. It was basically supposed to be a bomb proof bunker, has a 6 metre thick roof and is apparently still used by the Ministry of Defence today. If you're interested to discover what life was like for those working there during WWII, deciphering codes and keeping the naval war effort going, then the BBC have a couple of accounts in their archive of WWII memories which are quite interesting.
According to 'London's Strangest Tales' by Tom Quinn, when the building first appeared, the press were forbidden to mention its existence and to ensure that the Citadel looked like part of the nearby park from above, the roof was laid with grass and that even today, in the summer, a guy goes up there with a lawn-mower and cuts it.
21/3/2013 01:35:38 am
Take the northbound Bakerloo line and about 100 metres from leaving Stonebridge Park is a large railway building.
13/11/2016 01:02:47 am
Seriously ugly building, the only thing that helps is the ivy growing up the side of it; just seen it on BBC News as part of their Rememberance Day coverage. @ best functional architecture.
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