When planners at Hammersmith and Fulham Council gave their backing to transform a Shepherd’s Bush property into serviced apartments , it signalled another chapter in an extraordinary building’s history.
Dorsett Hospitality International was given planning permission for the former Palladium building on March 14.
To many, it is best known as the Walkabout, nestled between two Grade II listed buildings on Shepherd’s Bush Green.
The pub, popular with thirty Australian backpackers, closed in 2013, but its history stretches back more than 100 years before that.
Dating back to 1910, the Shepherds Bush Cinematograph Theatre, as it was then known, was owned and run by Montagu Pyke.
Any hopes he had of a successful business were scuppered by the local electricity company, which was unable to provide enough power for the cinema to operate past 6.15pm each day.
In 1923, the building reopened as the Shepherd’s Bush Palladium and featured a new, grander façade, designed by leading architect John Stanley Coombe Beard, who was responsible for a number of cinemas across London.
The building was modernised once more in 1968, becoming The Classic, but a fire delayed the opening until 1972.
In 1973 it was taken over by Odeon but, like the earlier cinema on the site, it failed to flourish and in 1981, the cinema closed for the final time.
The building then became the Walkabout pub and has been used as offices since 2013.
Developers will now build an eight-storey building to accommodate 74 new apartments, along with commercial space on the ground and lower ground floors.
However, their development will see the original façade and historic details merged in with new brickwork to create a striking new Art Deco-inspired building.
The grand pediment, the triangular upper part of the front of the building which has changed over time, will also be restored back to its original 1923 design.
And as part of the plans, original light coloured terra cotta tiling will be matched and blended with glazing and solid brick elements to complement the neighbouring historic buildings - The Pavilion, which was formerly a cinema and is now a four-star Dorsett Hotel , and the live music venue The O2 Empire, which was built in 1903 as a music hall.John Connolly, head of UK development at Far East Consortium Ltd, of which Dorsett is a subsidiary company, said: “The building is steeped in history and has played a pivotal role in the history of Shepherd’s Bush.
“We are proud to be able to restore its original details, most of which are covered up at present.
“The new building pays homage to its past but also gives it a future for many to enjoy for years to come.”
Construction on the building, designed by award-winning architects Flanagan Lawrence, will begin in 2018, with completion expected in 2019.
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