Catalogue Of Destruction
Bulldozers move in on the Queen Elizabeth Children’s Hospital
Recently – as I walked down Cheshire St – I discovered a great hole on the south side, where the week before there had been an unbroken run of nineteenth century buildings between Brick Lane and the Pedley St bridge.
Meanwhile, demolition of the much-loved Queen Elizabeth Children’s Hospital in Hackney Rd has commenced, in preparation for replacing it with a disproportionate building of inferior design that has been approved without any significant public consultation. Later this year in Spitalfields, we also anticipate the demolition of the Fruit & Wool Exchange – against the unanimous wishes of the local council in a scheme pushed through by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
Yet this is only the beginning of the destruction that is impending because, like a hungry dog taking bites from a cake, great chunks of the East End are vanishing fast. So I asked Contributing Photographer Simon Mooney to make a survey of just a few of the buildings that are being destroyed, under threat of imminent demolition, or at risk, to highlight the crisis that is at hand.
All around us, characterful nineteenth or early-twentieth century buildings, constructed of brick and stone with featured craft elements, are being replaced with low-quality generic structures designed to maximise profit, to the detriment both of the environment and the quality of life for those destined to inhabit them. Most disappointing is to see proud nineteenth century edifices which embody social purpose replaced by cheap-jack commercial developments that erase the memory of past altruistic endeavour.
Only the facade of the Queen Elizabeth Children’s Hospital will survive in a monster development pushed through without any significant public consultation.
Sunflower frieze upon the oldest part of the hospital constructed in 1874
Georgian terrace in Sun St currently being demolished after years of neglect with only the facade retained
Neglected window frames and fascias in Sun St
When the demolition starts shortly, the Gun pub will be destroyed and the central part of this facade is all that will remain of the Spitalfields Fruit & Wool Exchange designed by in 1927 by Sydney Perks
The new development will replace both Fruit & Wool Exchange and the multi-storey carpark behind
The brick work of the Fruit & Wool Exchange harmonises with the Spitalfields Market next door
In Toynbee St, a terrace of shops with workshops above neglected for decades by Tower Hamlets Council. A consultation for redevelopment, replacing these with a much larger building that straddles the site as far as Commercial St, took place in 2011
Silwex House, Quaker St. A remarkable nineteenth century stable and horse depot containing horse lifts descending to the railway line at the rear
Travelodge is currently undertaking consultation to reduce this building to a facade with a large hotel of generic design behind it. Planning application will be submitted imminently. Click here to see the proposal
113-114 Bethnal Green Rd, a rare pair of eighteenth century weavers’ houses that have suffered many years of neglect
Dignified nineteeth century furniture factory that has been left to rot in Great Eastern St
Warehouses of 1878 in Blossom St destined for demolition as part of a huge development by British Land that will consume this entire block if it goes ahead
Eighteenth and nineeenth century terrace in Bishopsgate threatened by the British Land scheme
The former Nicholls & Clarke art deco showroom in Bishopsgate is at risk
London Chest Hospital is to be sold to developers
Photographs copyright © Simon Mooney
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