Lenny Henry(1975): “Enoch Powell offered me £1,000 to “go home”…But it only costs me 50p to get to Dudley!”

From Wikipedia:

“New River Head is a historic site located adjacent to Sadler’s Wells Theatre on Rosebery Avenue in the Clerkenwell area of London, England. Originally it was the London terminus of the New River, an artificial watercourse opened in 1613 to supply water to London. Subsequently the site also became the headquarters for the New River Company, the owners of the New River, and for its successors, the Metropolitan Water Board, the Thames Water Authority and Thames Water plc.”

From the Historic England entry:

“Laboratory, research, and office building located in New River Head site, with its main entrance in Arlington Way. 1936-38. By Stanley Hall and Easton and Robertson, architects (John Murray Easton, designer), Walter Lawrence and Son Ltd., builders and John Skeaping, stone carver for the Metropolitan Water Board, patron.

Steel frame faced with Himley bricks of brownish-red colour set in stretcher bond (with vertically laid bricks above 1st floor of front block) and Portland stone dressings; hollow tile roof and floor construction, plate glass windows and glass brick panels. Long curved plan to main axis articulated in powerful horizontal expression; attached entrance foyer and semi-circular glazed staircase projection of strong vertical design forms front block on a right angle (cross axis) and faces Arlington Way and Rosebery Avenue. Modern Movement manner.

Three storeys with full basement (to main axis only); 21-window range to curve; double-fronted entrance block of 5-window range to Arlington Way, and 5 giant two-storey full-height glass-brick panels set in recess to round-ended left-hand return wall. Front elevation: two-storey full-height giant brick pilaster strips resting on stone plinth with metal casement sashes set in recess to front and glass brick panels set in recess to round-ended return; flanking steps rise to recessed centre entrance; moulded stone cornice above 1st floor; 2nd floor stepped back slightly and with short sashes to main front, plain brick wall to rounded left-hand return with Metropolitan Water Board’s coat of arms (see image) carved in stone relief to centre, brick parapet with string courses and stone coping…

INTERIOR: : outstanding circular cantilevered staircase with wrought-iron balusters, bronze handrail; stair treads and hall floor of terrazzo, all lit by full-height panels of glazed bricks and surmounted by a blue ceiling over the stairwell upon which F P Morton incised a figure of Aquarius surrounded by stars in plaster and gilt; other period details include square lighting wall fittings mounted on copper backs, and wood figurative relief sculpture panels above some of the doorways. The building was erected over the site of one of the filter beds that had been installed in place of part of the Outer Pond. Easton and Robertson seem to have specialised in laboratories following their work for London Zoo in 1933-1934. The building’s north-south aspect was essential and set as it is in the historic New River Head site it forms a significant group with listed buildings. Additionally, the New River Head Research Building is adjacent to the Sadler’s Wells Theatre. The laboratory is a simple but powerful design in the modern spirit of Charles Holden or Thomas Tail.”

Emma Brockes wrote for The Guardian of 29 Mar 2000:

“Subtlety isn’t a prized approach when it comes to revenge, hence the success of 30 staff at a brick factory in the West Midlands, whose parting gesture when they were fired is growing in legend. It wasn’t the actual dismissal that provoked them. It was the way in which bosses at the Ibstock Brick Himley plant, near Dudley, told them to make sure their last batch of bricks was up to scratch before leaving. Nursing injured pride, they made one quick adjustment to the machinery and 30,000 bricks came out with the word “Bollocks” imprinted on their surface, to wing their way across the county. “There was a problem with an amount of bricks,” confirmed a factory spokesman understandably keen to point out that they were primarily for use in decorative features and unlikely to be seen from the street. When the prank was discovered managers hastily dispatched sorry notes to their customers, but it was too late. The bricks were already changing hands on the black market and letters from Speechless of Dudley were flying in.”

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