In Archway, North London, the times they are a changin’.

Exposed, marooned on the windswept backside of an unfashionable gyratory system the Archway Methodist Church Central Hall has long stood empty and forlorn. Now, amid rapid gentrification and plans for a eurostyle ‘piazza’, it may yet rise phoenix-like from the ashes. We do hope so.

The 1,300 capacity hall was built in 1934 to plans by George E and K G Withers with funding provided by the Methodist businessman and movie-mogul J Arthur Rank. It is therefore unsurprising that with its stripped down Mayan-Deco aesthetic it is often mistaken for a former cinema fallen on hard times. The condition of the interior remains somewhat of a mystery since it was last open to the public in the 1980s, although it does form part of the larger church complex, much of which is still in use. The only information we can gather is from the photo below taken from the architectural reclamation company LASSCO, which suggests a somewhat austere presentation as befitting its Methodist setting. LASSCO purchased some of the original seating in the 1980s, and remarkably examples of these can still be purchased from them today.

Archway Methodist Hall internal view

By now the hall has garnered a list of planning applications stretching back over three decades; the latest from 2014 is a plan by Kingsbury for a mixed-usage site (image below). That a for sale sign has recently been added noting its D1 non-residential institution designation may suggest these plans have been shelved. Meanwhile the nearby Archway Tower seen in the background is undergoing an expensive makeover of its own by GRID architects. The 1963 office block will soon re-emerge as luxury rental accommodation under the moniker ‘Vantage Point Archway Tower‘.

© Modernist Tourists 2016