Thursday, 30 August 2012

Elms Lesters Painting Rooms - WC2

Given my propensity for wandering down alleyways and my love for the Phoenix Garden (which I think would make it into my list of all time favourite central London spots), plus the fact it is pretty much opposite where I work, I have walked past the Elms Lesters Painting Rooms many time and have always admired its late Victorian style.  Plus I loved the Space Invader stuck on the side.  I was never quite sure what it was however - I had heard about someone going to a party there so assumed it must be some funky venue.  It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that my friend  Don clued me in on the history, which is fascinating.  Purpose built in 1904, ELPR is one of the last of its breed and for decades was used to paint backdrops for west end theatres (hence the tall narrow green door you can see in the picture).  The digital age has obviously meant there is less need for spaces such as this but luckily ELPR has reinvented itself as a gallery and the building itself is listed.  I love the fact that this characterful building represents a piece of theatreland history - I would have loved to have seen gaudily painted back-drops being carried out and carted off to nearby theatres.  So next time you are in the area, grab yourself a coffee from the lovely folk at Damson or the nearby Flat Cap coffee cart and take a closer look at this historic building.

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