219 Oxford Street was designed by Ronald Ward & Partners in 1950 and constructed between 1951 and 1952, as commemorated by the Festival of Britain plaques. It is one of London’s earliest postwar commercial buildings and is a mixture of prewar and postwar architectural styles. As built, the five-storey building comprised a ground-floor shop, with a showroom, and three floors of offices. Landlord Jack Salmon used the second-floor office himself.
In 2001, 219 Oxford Street became a Grade II listed building. Consequently, when the adjoining buildings were demolished in 2004 to make way for a block of flats and a Zara store, 219 was incorporated into the development and now forms a part of the latter.
Visible from the Western Avenue, this bridge has long suffered from graffiti. When I was a boy in the 1960s, the then otherwise unpainted bridge was daubed with a flash-and-circle and the word ‘Mosley’, presumably dating back to Sir Oswald Mosley’s activities in the 1930s. By the 1980s, the bridge had been painted white, but in recent years it has become covered with graffiti. It would be good to see it restored to its original brickwork, but it would undoubtedly soon attract fresh graffiti.
A torrential late afternoon shower was followed almost immediately by bright sunshine, giving rise to this spectacular rainbow against the still-dark sky. But unlike the rainbow I photographed in Sevenoaks, this one was very brief. Within five minutes, it had gone.