An architectural monstrosity


People dressed in Western Australia’s traditional costume

If asked to list Perth’s ten worst buildings, this office would definitely include London Court. A cut-price Disneyland Tudor street scene, it was erected in 1937 by shady miner, Claude de Bernales.

How bad does a building have to be to get condemned from the pulpit? Rev Iona Williams described it as so ugly, London Court was an offence against God Himself. Preaching at Trinity Congregational Church, the good reverend said the arcade was a admission that architects had no original ideas. Architecture should be about the now, not a repetition of the past.

But what would a theologian know? Let’s get the opinion of an architect. A poor imitation of Tudor architecture, the architect spluttered, before lashing out at the ridiculous Punch and Judy clock. When archaeologists of the future excavate the arcade, he said, they will be baffled as to why it was erected in the first place. In any case, a good archaeologist would immediately rebury the monstrosity.

Warming to his theme, the architect demanded to know where it would all end? A Leaning Tower of Pisa outside the GPO? Stonehenge on the Esplanade?

In a blistering conclusion, he said the only thing that should be doing impressions is a monkey. And a monkey would probably have made a better job of the London Court anyway.

As you can see, London Court has been much loved ever since it was erected.