On 17th January 2011, the NJC re-located to the 5th floor of Spirella House, a Grade II listed building situated at the south east corner of Oxford Circus, designed by Sir Henry Tanner as part of the development of Oxford Circus between 1913 and 1928.
Originally called Paris House, in 1925 the building was given a street number, No 270 Regent Street. In the early 30s, it was renamed Spirella House. However, the words ‘Spirella House’ emblazoned on the entablature of the colonnaded front (seen in the picture right) have long gone.
Spirella takes its name from the famous Spirella Corset Company which was formed on 27th May 1910. The Company’s ‘Service Sales Office’ was based here at Oxford Circus from 1916-c1975. Their UK factory, the magnificent Spirella Building in Letchworth Garden City, was created between 1912-1920.
The company’s founder, William Wallace Kincaid commissioned architect Cecil Hignett to design a state of the art factory of great beauty. He achieved his goal in as much as the Spirella Building provided the perfect environment for his workers to be happy, contented and highly productive – coincidentally similar to some of the key NAECI Agreement’s objectives!
In 1959 a Spirella shop assistant is reported to have described three brassiere sizes “The Totalitarian – designed for suppression of the masses; the Salvation Army – to uplift the fallen; and the Political Agitator – to make mountains out of molehills”. Ironically, although the Spirella Corset Company departed the building many years ago, the ground floor retail area is now occupied by Tezenis who sell ladies lingerie.
Following on from the celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, here is a picture taken on the Queen’s Coronation Day, 2nd June 1953, showing Spirella House lavishly bedecked for the occasion.