Just to the west of the lower end of Tottenham Court Road only a few buildings in Stephen Street and Gresse Street survived the huge redevelopment of the Gort Estate in the mid-1970s. In the foreground on the left hand side of the picture below are the Stephen Buildings, and in the mid-ground on the left is what was the Ofrex building and what today houses the British Film Institute (BFI) in Stephen Street.
On the other side of Stephen Street on the corner were the Gresse Buildings, which were built at the same time and in the same style as the Stephen Buildings. Both buildings would have been built in the early twentieth-century as light industrial units probably for the manufacture of furniture, which Tottenham Court Road had its heyday between 1850 and 1950. In the mid-1970s permission was given to demolish most of the street to make way for the office complex called Central Cross, and previously referred to as the Freemantle building, but was planned to be the headquarters for EMI. Demolition took place on a piecemeal basis with some of these photographs capturing the changing streetscape as it evolved.
This is the final article in the three-part feature about the demolition of the Gort Estate. See also: Part 1, Tudor Place; part 2, Tottenham Court Road. Photographs taken by persons unknown. Part of the Fitzrovia Archive at the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association. More about the history of Fitzrovia in the forthcoming Fitzrovia Festival.
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