Wallis Building

Wallis House

Also known as Smithkline Beecham House
Including Midland Bank
Great West Road

Factory built 1936-42 currently being converted to commercial and residential space.

Grade II statutory listed.

English Heritage Listing

Smithkline Beecham House (also known as Wallis House) Including Midland Bank

Factory; now company headquarters and offices, and bank.

East wing 1936 by G A Warren; otherwise 1937-42 by Wallis, Gilbert and Partners; for Simmonds Aerocessories. 1947 converted into offices for British Overseas Aircraft Corporation; further alterations 1955-6 and 1960 by R Gallanaugh for Beechams and subsequently.

Pale brick in Flemish bond with concrete and ashlar plinth; sill and lintel bands; window jambs; architraves; fins to tower and flanking blocks; upper storey of tower; and parapets. Flat concrete roofs.

Central 11-storey tower with lower 3-storey flanking blocks set slightly forward and overlapping front corners of tower. Long side wings of 2 storeys and basement which terminate in circular entrance towers (not much taller than wings) and then return rearwards.

Entrance elevation; entrance across full-width of tower has late C20 glazing, fascia, balconied windows over and deep band linking the 2 flanking blocks. Tower has 3-light window with original metal glazing bars, rising to 8th floor; 9th floor fronted by figure of a airman with eagle on shoulder, on stand; indented parapet; returns of tower have 9-light similar windows with 9 windows to top floor, some of which have replacement glazing; rear has plainer 3-light window with flanking narrow windows on each floor; chimney. Blocks flanking tower each have a full-height 5-light window to front, 5 plainer windows to rear and 9 to returns retaining original glazing bars except to lower floors at rear.

Side wings on each floor have near-
continuous windows separated by wide jambs, only the basement windows retaining original glazing bars; curved corners at junctions with end entrance towers. These each have steps up to a double door with bowed columns and hood; window above; and are flanked by fins and tall narrow windows. Each wing return has a plainer entrance at east end.

Later wing extensions and additions to rear of wings and to tower. Interior: tower retains original stair on right hand side with marbled lobby and keyed round archway on 2nd floor, marbled lift lobby to lst floor on left side and in reception area; otherwise interior is considerably altered.

Of Railings In Front Of Smithkline Beecham House Terminating In Line With Entrance At Right (West) End Of Right (West) Wing

Railings. c.1937 for Simmons Aerocessories (as Smithkline Beecham House q.v.). Concrete plinth, metal railings. Plain bars. Short sections of railing divided by panels with curved and scrolled interlaced rods which continue undulatingly across railings; above each panel is winged monogram, “SA”, with finalled hood. Included for group value.

Further Information

The surviving building was the offices of Beechams, with the works behind. Of note is a fabulous airman sculpture on the façade – the sculptor is Donald Gilbert and title is Inspiration to Flight.

As of September 2013 – At present being converted by Barratt Property Developers.

[mapsmarker marker=”140″]



One thought on “Wallis House

  1. Beechams was a great company to work for and be trained by when I was recruited back in 1988 on the YTS youth training scheme for young school leavers to step into the world of emolument . Never forgotten yesteryear .
    I still remember my HR mangers name H Gillman . As I worked for the financial accounts department ground floor .

    Hope we can keep history going

    Best wishes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s