The golden age of LA architecture: how the City of Angels got its angles 

A 1952 interior by William Haines
A 1952 interior by William Haines

In the mid-Thirties, Jeremy Pordage, a young English archivist, takes on a job cataloguing rare books for a Californian millionaire who is obsessed with the idea of living forever. Everything is new to our cautiously spoken man in tweed.

Arriving in Los Angeles, he is driven through a wholly unfamiliar realm of film stars' houses built in brave new architectural styles, interspersed with brazen roadside signs offering hot dogs, malts, spiritual healing and colonic irrigation.

This, of course, is fiction. Pordage is the lead character in Aldous Huxley's kaleidoscopic 1939 novel After Many a Summer. The British author of Brave New World had come with his family to live in California in 1937, and,...

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