I was brought up short walking through Leicester Square today to see 48 Leicester Square — a building I used to work in at the start of my career — reduced to a skeleton shell of its exterior frame only. I had joined Dewynters, the ad agency that specialises in West End theatre advertising, marketing and promotion, in 1986, fresh from University, as its publishing manager in charge of theatre programmes and souvenir brochures.
When I first joined, the company was based in Bruton Street in Mayfair, just off Berkeley Square, but within a year or so they moved to 48 Leicester Square — putting them in the very heart of the West End that they represented. And there they remained for the next twenty-something years, on the top (8th) floor. I occasionally visited — they used to give us house room to record sessions for Theatrevoice there — before they moved to their current premises at the corner of Waterloo Bridge and the Strand a couple of years ago.
So it was a shock to see that an era had truly ended in Leicester Square. And it’s far from alone, it seems: on the next corner, the Odeon West End is now dark, too — no doubt awaiting redevelopment.