Reprinted from Newsletter 92, dated 1999 July–August

One supermarket or another: use Jack Hepworth’s design 40 years ago

Stephanie Morland

A warehouse interior during construction. A construction worker stands on a raised platform. Some construction materials lie on the floor, which is otherwise empty.
Sainsbury’s at Greenwich (2000, praised in design magazine)
An empty factory interior.
Morlands Block O at Glastonbury (1961, architect Jack Hepworth)

40 years on, Sainsbury’s splendid new millennium store at Greenwich, featured in Building Design last week, is catching up with Glastonbury!

The design of the main store area at Greenwich is remarkably similar to that of the Hepworth building on the derelict Morlands site here, completed in 1961: the same curved roof spans over a clear 120-foot space (ignoring the old service grid of pipes) and the similar impact of the sequence of rooflights.

It could be adapted to make an equally eye-catching low-energy-use millennium building.

But of course the developer, Welbeck Land, wants to demolish it to make way for … guess what … a modern superstore!

The latest issue of Free State magazine (£1.95 from Unique Publications or bookshops) has an update on the campaign to adapt some of the worthwhile buildings on the Morlands site for new uses, rather than wait forever for wholesale high-capital “development” that will further undermine the town centre. We are hoping that a tour of the site can be arranged for Conservation Society members.