Sunday, November 25


Joseph Emberton the architect Simpson's (now Waterstone's) a multiple-floor Modernism building and the first shop in Britain to have an uninterrupted curved-glass frontage. This new style made possible by arc-welding a wide-span steel frame, rather than earlier techniques that used bulky bolted joints. The interior designed with rooms conforming to domestic proportions arranged around an open staircase.

The building notable for the 42-foot spans of its welded steel framing, which produced one of the most elegant shop interiors of the decade or any time, although the purity of the concept compromised as a result of interventions by the London County Council. It was faced in Portland stone as required by the landlord to be consistent with the neighbourhood.

There was a men's toilet between the ground and first floors perfect for an emergency leak but, probably owing to popularity, it closed last summer.