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Laurence Marks & Maurice Gran, Writers

June 24, 2019
by the gentle author

On the afternoon of Sunday July 7th, Laurence Marks & Maurice Gran – celebrated television dramatists whose work has entertained the nation for the past four decades – will be speaking at Sandys Row Synagogue in Spitalfields, discussing their relationship with the East End.

This side of town has proved a source of inspiration for many of their most popular works, including Birds of a Feather, Frieda & Erich Gottlieb, Shine On Harvey Moon and their films Mosley and Wall of Silence.

It promises to be an enthralling evening of storytelling by two born raconteurs in one of London’s most beautiful synagogues. As a preview, I was granted the privilege of an audience with the genial duo who talked to me about their East End roots.

Click here for tickets

Laurence Marks & Maurice Gran

Maurice Gran - For me, the East End is a place of kinship. My family was a very large family but now it is quite a small family, because so many people have died and all those aunts and uncles in the thirties did not have many children. My father, Mark, always believed that family was all you needed, he did not trust friends – certainly not friends who were not Jewish.

My parents, like most Jewish people who came into this country in the early twentieth century, lived in the East End and I think they migrated to Finsbury Park in the thirties. Debbie, my mother’s family lived in Sydney St and I was told that journalists came to ask if they would let them up on the roof to watch the siege in 1911. When the journalists left, the family found a guinea on the table which was as much as a month’s rent.

My parents relationship to the East End was quite conflicted. They moved out in stages, first to Stamford Hill and then to Finsbury Park. In the late thirties, Auntie Sadie, my mother’s youngest sister, she lived with her husband in a couple of rooms in Mile End, very near to where they were building the new Odeon. One day there was a rap on the door and there was a burly foreman standing there in a leather jerkin and a collar and tie. He said, ‘What are you doing here? All these houses are coming down to make way for the Odeon.’ She said, ‘Well, no-one told me,’ and he replied, ‘If you are not out by teatime, there will be a wrecking ball coming through your front parlour.’ She said, ‘We can’t move at the drop of a hat.’

Someone came round and gave her some money to bugger off there and then. Ten pounds, let’s guess. So she got on the 106 bus and sat on the top deck looking out the window all the way from Hackney to Finsbury Park to see where she could move to. When the bus was nearly at the terminus, she thought, ‘Well, this looks alright.’ She got off the bus, went into the first estate agent and said, ‘I need to rent somewhere today.’ My parents subsequently took over and eventually bought the house she rented, which was where I grew up.

Sadie found the house by lunchtime and spent the afternoon buying a bed and some other bits of furniture with the fiver she had left over. At the end of the day, she waited outside the sweatshop where her husband worked and told him, ‘We don’t live in Mile End anymore, we live in Finsbury Park.’

My father came over from Russia in 1910 and went to the Jews Free School in Spitalfields. He was there for a couple of years, I have got a certificate somewhere. He had nice handwriting and could do his sums on the back of an envelope.

My parents were at the Battle of Cable St, yet my father was not a courageous man. My father and my sister were on a trolley bus once, and some blackshirts got on and my father and his sister jumped off and ran for their lives. I do not know if they needed to run for their lives but that was the shadow it cast.

By the time I was growing up, the East End was a place for occasional visits to Petticoat Lane – which was always a big deal – and very occasional salt beef sandwiches at Blooms, if we were feeling really flush which was not very frequently.

They managed to kill Yiddish as a spoken language in a generation, it was a secret language for me. We never learnt it, it was the language for ‘not in front of the kinder.’ I do not think this was unique to my family, that whole generation did not want us to speak Yiddish even if they used it to have conversations in front of us.

The war was such a massive discontinuity. Before the war was the Shteitel in the East End and after the war was looking forward. They never went to Israel when my father was alive, but my mother went after he died. That was very big thing, the existence of the state of Israel and every Jewish household had a Jewish National Fund collecting tin on the kitchen table which all the spare change went into. I would steal most things but I never thought about robbing that, because I would have died.

My father and my wealthy uncle had sponsored a charity bed in their dead brother’s name in a hospital in the East End. When I was about seventeen, I remember being dragged down to see this bed. I thought, ‘Why are we going on this long journey to see a bed?’

The real old East End I never knew that well. If you put me down there, I would be lost looking for Aldgate East station or Gardiner’s Corner.

Laurence Marks - My uncle said that of you were able to make it beyond Gardiner’s Corner, then you were able to make it to the West End.

Lily, my mother did not come from the East End, she came to the East End. Bernard, my father was born in a flat above a shop in the Mile End Rd and his family lived in that area their entire lives. In 1928, my mother came to London from Cardiff with a chaperone, on a trip organised by the Board of Jewish Deputies, to be show around the Jewish East End. She was taken to the Brady Club where my father was a member. He also played cricket and football for the Peoples Palace. He was a fine cricketer.

My mother and father met at the club and they corresponded through 1928 and 1929. My father’s family were very different to my mother’s, so she was slumming it in many ways but she clearly loved him and his family. They were a family with five children living in two rooms and my grandfather was a bootmaker who worked from home, cutting leather on the kitchen table.

When her father in Cardiff met my father and approved of him, he decided to visit London to see my father’s family in Mile End. He walked into abject poverty. He had never gone up three flights of stairs to two small rooms in which seven people lived. I do not know if he ever said to my mother, ‘Are you sure you know what you are doing?’ but he might well have done. The love must have been very strong. I think it disappeared in about 1940.

Nevertheless, my father courted my mother and they married in Cardiff in 1931. Before the wedding, she had decided to leave Cardiff and come and live in this overcrowded two bedroom flat in Mile End, when she had been brought up in a very nice house in Cardiff. I think she wanted to escape the Jewish circle in Cardiff where her father was the Rabbi and everyone knew everyone.

When they got married, they found a basement flat in King Edward Rd near Columbia Rd. She suddenly realised what poverty was like because he could not get work as furrier. It was a seasonal job. By 1935, they had two child but they could not afford to feed them or themselves, but fortunately grandparents were living nearby who used to fed them every Friday and Saturday. Her life was really horrible, but the man who owned the house was a Hungarian chef and he taught her how to cook. She became a very good cook, domestically.

Eventually, my father decided that work was almost impossible to get and was advised to join the police. It was regular job with regular wages and their life became stable. He was a policeman all through the war when the bombing was heavy and missed death narrowly on at least two occasions. He often spoke about the blitz.

I never lived in the East End and was not schooled there. In the fifties, my father still had lots of relatives there so we would visit them and I remember him taking me to the salt beef bars in Petticoat Lane. One had a large oak beer barrel outside full of pickled cucumbers. The smell of those cucumbers and the salt beef was a big treat for us. He would buy a salt beef sandwich and share it with me. So I knew the East End through relatives of his family and going there most Sundays. He had an aunt who lived near Wentworth St and I would accompany him. My mother never went.

Years later, I met Sue, a girl who lived in Duckett St, Stepney Green, and we got married in Nelson St Synagogue on a very wet Sunday afternoon in February 1972. She was very much an East End girl, so I got to know the East End during the time her parents and relatives were alive. Her family never moved further than two or three streets in their entire lives. They were not typical East End though because her brother went to Cambridge and it was on the front page of the East London Advertiser, ‘Stepney Boy Accepted at Cambridge.’

There was this cloud of the Holocaust hanging over the East End after the war.

In the sixties, my parents took a coach tour to see Europe but when they reached Germany and Austria, my mother would not get off the bus. She slept on the bus. My second wife was German and I do not know quite what my mother would have said about that. I do not know if it would have been possible while she was alive.

I was in Leeds filming once and I rang my mother’s brother to let him know I was there. He said, ‘You must come for Friday night supper,’ which was big deal in his house. I said, ‘The problem is I am with my new ladyfriend. Have you heard I have separate from Sue?’ ‘Then you must bring her to Friday night dinner,’ he insisted. ‘There is a problem, something you ought to know, ‘ I told him. He asked ‘What is it?’ I said, ‘She’s not Jewish.’ There was a pause and he said, ‘Bring her anyway.’ I said, ‘And there’s something else you ought to know, she’s German.’ He said, ‘You bring her.’ So I took her there and he said he had a lovely night because he could talk Yiddish with my German girlfriend. There was this bond. It really meant a great deal to him.’

My last remaining relative in the East End died a few weeks ago. He was ninety-nine, three months off a hundred. He lived off Commercial Rd with my wife’s mother, they used to take in a lot of people from abroad who arrived at the docks and walked down the road with nowhere to go. They took in young people to give them a Jewish home.

Maurice’s mother Debbie is in the middle with his Aunt Sadie on the left and Aunt Debbie in the right, taken at Maurice’s sister Celia’s wedding in 1962

Passport photo of Maurice’s maternal grandfather Morris Cohen from the late thirties

Maurice’s father Mark stands on the right with his brother Hymie on the left and Hymie’s daughter Naomi, c. 1936

Laurence’s parents, Bernard Marks and Lily Goldberg in the twenties

Bernard and Lily in the twenties

Bernard & Lily Marks in the thirties

Click here for tickets for Laurence Marks & Maurice Gran at Sandys Row Synagogue

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At Sandys Row Synagogue

Adam Dant’s Map Of Civil War London

June 23, 2019
by the gentle author

You may recall that Adam Dant & I set out to walk the lines of the Civil War defences from Wapping to Westminster last month, as part of Adam’s research for his map of London in the Civil War which is now complete and published for the first time here.

Adam points out that today is the anniversary of two events which divided the nation. One was the surrender of Charles I’s capital in Oxford in 1646 – concluding the Civil War with his capture, trial and execution – and the other was the European Referendum in 2016. We hope that this account of London in the Civil War will grant our readers a certain perspective and restore a necessary sense of proportion in the current crisis.


Click on this map to enlarge


Adam Dant writes:

“The date of June 23rd will forever mark a key moment in the history of a fractious and divided kingdom - long and protracted vacillation on the part of the powers that be and their favoured agents, a reticent and recalcitrant parliament, and a threat to the status quo triggering any number of schisms, political, familial, religious and regional .

From outside, London was starting to look like a disputed central European town, as if the continent had claimed the island. The people of the capital, men, women and children, took to the streets voluntarily, marshalled and motivated by a fear of omnipotent and conclusive process. Wielding stakes and all manner of  drums and ensigns, they set about digging in and advancing the cause at London. Calculated to divide and defend vested interests, London’s lines of communication were erected as swiftly as they were removed .

As to the great responsibility handed over to parliament in the hope that they would make good and wholesome laws which the people of the nation expected, hopes were abated. Instead of uniting a nation with righteousness and peace (which would have been a glorious thing to have done) what was found was  anarchy, corruption, division and dissatisfaction in what was from the beginning a provisional government, not truly representative of the people.

Enemies of the nation flourished under parliament’s protection. An immovable parliament being as obnoxious as an immovable king, full of drunkards, tricksters, villains, whore-masters, godless self seeking  tricksters, no more capable of conducting the affairs of the nation than of running a brothel. Scum! and a truly elected scum at that. This is no parliament.”


Bibliographical material used in the creation of the map includes, with gratitude and respect -

David Flintham, The English Civil War Defences of London & Civil War

Stephen Porter, London & the Civil War

John Stubbs, Reprobates- The Cavaliers of The English Civil War

The scholarship of Mike Osbourne, Peter Harrington, Donato Spedaliere, Sarah Sulemsohn, Robin Rowles and David Ryan.


Click here to read about our walk

In Search of the Civil War in London


Charles I by Anthony Van Dyck, 1635

Oliver Cromwell by Samuel Cooper, 1656





Adam Dant’s MAPS OF LONDON & BEYOND is a mighty monograph collecting together all your favourite works by Spitalfields Life‘s Contributing Cartographer in a beautiful big hardback book.

Including a map of London riots, the locations of early coffee houses and a colourful depiction of slang through the centuries, Adam Dant’s vision of city life and our prevailing obsessions with money, power and the pursuit of pleasure may genuinely be described as ‘Hogarthian.’

Unparalleled in his draughtsmanship and inventiveness, Adam Dant explores the byways of London’s cultural history in his ingenious drawings, annotated with erudite commentary and offering hours of fascination for the curious.

The book includes an extensive interview with Adam Dant by The Gentle Author.

Adam Dant’s  limited edition prints are available to purchase through TAG Fine Arts

Midsummer With The Druids

June 22, 2019
by the gentle author

You can join the druids to celebrate midsummer on Primrose Hill this Sunday 23rd June at 1pm

In the grove of sacred hawthorn

One Midsummer, Photographer Colin O’Brien & I joined the celebrants of the Loose Association of Druids on Primrose Hill for the solstice festival hosted by Jay the Tailor, Druid of Wormwood Scrubs. As the most prominent geological feature in the Lower Thames Valley, it seems likely that this elevated site has been a location for rituals since before history began.

Yet this particular event owes its origin to Edward Williams, a monumental mason and poet better known by his bardic name Iolo Morganwg, who founded the Gorsedd community of Welsh bards here on Primrose Hill in June 1792. He claimed he was reviving an ancient rite, citing John Tollund who in 1716 summoned the surviving druids by trumpet to come together and form a Universal Bond.

Consequently, the Druids began their observance by gathering to honour their predecessor at Morganwg’s memorial plaque on the viewing platform at the top of the hill, where they corralled bewildered tourists and passing dog walkers into a circle to recite his Gorsedd prayer in an English translation. From here, the Druids processed to the deep shade of the nearby sacred grove of hawthorn where biscuits and soft drinks were laid upon a tablecloth with a bunch of wild flowers and some curious wooden utensils.

Following at Jay the Tailor’s shoulder as we strode across the long grass, I could not resist asking about the origin of his staff of hawthorn intertwined with ivy. “It was before I became a Druid, when I was losing my Christian faith,” he confessed to me, “I was attending a County Fair and a stick maker who had Second Sight offered to make it for me for fifteen pounds.” Before I could ask more, we arrived in the grove and it was time to get the ritual organised. Everyone was as polite and good humoured as at a Sunday school picnic.

A photocopied order of service was distributed, we formed a circle, and it was necessary to select a Modron to stand in the west, a Mabon to stand in the north, a Thurifer to stand in the east and a Celebrant to stand in the South. Once we all had practised chanting our Greek vowels while processing clockwise, Jay the Tailor rapped his staff firmly on the ground and we were off. A narrow wooden branch – known as the knife that cannot cut – was passed around and we each introduced ourselves.

In spite of the apparent exoticism of the event and the groups of passersby stopping in their tracks to gaze in disbelief, there was a certain innocent familiarity about the proceedings – which celebrated nature, the changing season and the spirit of the place. In the era of the French and the American Revolutions, Iolo Morganwr declared Freedom of Thought, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association. Notions that retain strong resonance to this day.

Once the ritual wound up, we had exchanged kisses of peace Druid-style and everyone ate a biscuit with a gulp of apple juice, I was able to ask Jay the Tailor more questions.“I lost my Christian faith because I studied Theology and I found it difficult to believe Jesus was anything other than a human being, even though I do feel he was a very important guide and I had a personal experience of Jesus when I met Him on the steps of Oxford Town Hall,” he admitted, leaving me searching for a response.

“When I was fourteen, I went up Cader Idris at Midsummer and spent all night and the next day there, and the next night I had a vision of Our Lady of Mists & Sheep,” he continued helpfully,“but that just added to my confusion.” I nodded sagely in response.“I came to Druids through geometry, through studying the heavens and recognising there is an order of things,” he explained to me, “mainly because I am a tailor and a pattern cutter, so I understand sacred geometry.” By now, the other Druids were packing up, disposing of the litter from the picnic in the park bins and heading eagerly towards the pub.

I have such a fond memory of that afternoon Colin O’Brien and I enjoyed among the druids on Primrose Hill.

“Do not tell the priest of our plight for he would call it a sin, but we have been out in the woods all night, a-conjuring the Summer in!” - Rudyard Kipling

Sun worshippers on Primrose Hill

Memorial to Iolo Morganwg who initiated the ritual on Primrose Hill in 1792

Peter Barker, Thurifer - “I felt I was a pagan for many years. I always liked gods and goddesses, and the annual festivals are part of my life and you meet a lot of good people.”

Maureen - “I’m a Druid, a member of O.B.O.D. (the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids), and I’ve done all three grades”

Sarah Louise Smith - “I’m training to be a druid with O.B.O.D. at present”

Simeon Posner, Astrologer - “It helps my soul to mature, seeing the life cycle and participating in it”

John Leopold - “I have pagan inclinations”

Jay the Tailor, Druid of Wormwood Scrubs

Iolo Morgamwg (Edward Williams) Poet & Monumental Mason, 1747-1826

Photographs copyright © Estate of Colin O’Brien

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Sammy McCarthy, Flyweight Champion

June 21, 2019
by the gentle author

Let me tell you the story of “Smilin’ Sammy McCarthy,” one of legends of East End Boxing. Voted “Best British Boxer of 1951″ by Boxing Times, Sammy was a golden boy who won eighty-three out of his ninety amateur contests and represented England four times in the nineteen fifties, before becoming British Featherweight Champion twice and then Lightweight Champion after that.

Yet to this day Sammy is resolute in his refusal to be called a hero. With his impeccable manners and old-fashioned proper way of talking, he is the paragon of self-effacement – an enigma who modestly ascribes his spectacular boxing career to no more than a fear of disappointing others. His contemporaries informed me that only once I knew about his background, could I fully appreciate the true impulse behind Smilin’ Sammy’s suave temperament, but what I discovered was something far more surprising than I ever expected.

Born in 1931 as one of ten children, Sammy grew up in a terrace off Commercial Rd next to Watney Market as the son of costermonger. “My father used to go round the streets selling fruit and veg and we all helped him, and I helped him more than anyone but I always hated it,” Sammy revealed to me, explaining how he visited Spitalfields Market each day with his father in the early morning and stood outside the church while his father bought the produce. Then Sammy had to wheel the loaded barrow back to Stepney but, although it  gave him the physical strength which made him a boxer, it was also was a source of humiliation when Sammy’s schoolmates jeered. “Subconsciously, I suppose I was a bit of snob – I wanted to be posh even though I didn’t know the meaning of the word.” he confided with a blush, expressing emotions that remain current even after all these years.

Sammy’s elder brother Freddie was a boxer before him and Sammy has a vivid memory of hiding under the table as a child, while his father and brother listened to the celebrated Tommy Farr and Joe Louis fight on the radio. “All the talk was of boxing and I so much wanted to participate but I was naturally timid,” he admitted to me shyly, “I was frightened of being frightened, I suppose – but after my fights I was always so elated, it became like a drug.”

Sammy joined the St George’s Gym in Stepney where his brother trained. “I absolutely loved it but each time I went, I was extremely nervous.” he continued, breaking into his famous radiant smile, “At fifteen I had my first fight and lost on points, so I didn’t tell my father but he found out and cuffed me for not telling him, because he didn’t mind.”

“I had a great following thanks to my two uncles who sold tickets and everybody in the markets bought them because my brother was already well-known. So there used to be coach loads coming to watch me box and I was always top of the bill, not because I was good but because I always sold plenty of tickets.” It was a characteristic piece of self-deprecation from a champion unrivalled in his era.

At nineteen, Sammy turned professional under the stewardship of renowned managers Jarvis Astaire and Ben Schmidt. “Every time I go to West End, I still go to Windmill St and stand outside where the training gym used to be. All the big film stars, like Jean Simmons and John Mills, they used to go there to the weigh-in before a big fight.” he told me proudly.

In spite of his meteoric rise, Sammy was insistent to emphasise his vulnerability. “Everyone’s nervous, but I was petrified, not of fighting but of letting the side down,” he assured me. “I’d rather fight a boxer who thought he could fight but actually couldn’t,” Sammy announced, turning aphoristic and waving a finger,“than a boxer who thought he couldn’t fight but really could.” And I understood that Sammy was speaking of himself in the latter category. “It makes you sharp,” he explained, “your reflexes are very fast.”

‘”I retired at twenty-six, but I didn’t know I was going to retire,” admitted Sammy with a weary smile,“I had to meet these people who were putting a book together about me and it turned out to be the ‘This Is Your Life’ TV programme. It was 1957 and they expected me to announce I was going to retire. I must have been a little disappointed but maybe I hadn’t seen I was slowing down a little.”

Married with two children and amply rewarded by the success of his boxing career, Sammy bought a pub, The Prince of Wales, known as “Kate Odders” in Duckett St, Stepney. You might think that Sammy had achieved fulfilment at last, but it was not so. “I hated every moment because I like home life and as a publican you are always being called upon.” he confessed, “I had a little money and I spent it all unfortunately.”

“My boxing career, it gave me confidence in myself. Boxing made me happy.” Sammy concluded as our conversation reached its natural resolution,” I didn’t enjoy the fights, but I love the social life. You meet the old guys and you realise it’s not about winning, it’s about giving of your best.” Living alone, Sammy leads a modest bachelor existence in a neatly kept one bedroom flat in Wanstead and he meets regularly with other ex-boxers, among whom he is popular character, a luminary.

And that is where this story would have ended – and it would have been quite a different kind of story – if Sammy had not confronted me with an unexpected admission. “I want you to know why I am divorced from my wife and separated from my children,” he announced, colouring with a rush of emotion and looking me in the eye, “I’m telling you, not because I’m boasting about it but because I don’t want you to make me out to be a hero.”

There was a silence as Sammy summoned courage to speak more and I sat transfixed with expectation. “I robbed banks and I stole a lot of money, and I was caught and I was put in prison for years.” he said.

“I think I was too frightened not to do it,” he speculated, qualifying this by saying,“I’m not making excuses.”

“I’m reformed now.” he stated, just to be clear.

“I was alright in prison because I’m comfortable with my own company and I read books to pass the time,” he added, to reassure me.

“But why did you do it?” I asked.

“Because we never had anything,” he replied, almost automatically and with an abject sadness. His lips quivered and he spread his hands helplessly. He had been referring back – I realised – to his childhood in the family of ten. A phrase he said earlier came back into my mind,“I can’t say that I experienced hardship,” he told me,“not by comparison with what my parents went through.”

Subsequently, a little research revealed that Sammy had been convicted three times for armed robbery, and served sentences of three, six and fourteen years. When I think of Smilin’ Sammy now, I think of his sweet smile that matches the Mona Lisa in its equivocation. It is a smile that contains a whole life of  fear and pain. It is a smile that knew joy yet concealed secrets. It is a brave smile that manifests the uneasy reconciliation which Sammy has made with the world in the course of his existence.

Smilin’ Sammy McCarthy

Sammy McCarthy, the Stepney Feather,  has Peter Morrison against the ropes under a fierce attack at the Mile End Arena.

Sammy McCarthy makes Denny Dawson cover up under a straight left attack.

Jan Maas goes headlong to the canvas after taking a Sammy McCarthy “special” to the chin.

Still smiling! Not even a knockdown can remove the famous smile from Sammy McCarthy, as he goes down for a count of “eight” in the fifth round.

Smilin’ Sammy McCarthy

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A Film About The Whitechapel Bell Foundry

June 20, 2019
by the gentle author

It is my great delight to present Gavin Kingcome‘s Save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry film

As you will recall, developers bought the world-famous, historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry to convert it into a bell-themed boutique hotel, party venue and private members club with a rooftop swimming pool. Currently they are seeking planning permission for this change of use and we want to stop it.

There is a perfectly viable proposal put forward by the UK Historic Building Preservation Trust with its partner Factum Foundation to continue to operate a full-scale working foundry. This proposal has a credible business plan, experienced management and funding available. The UKHBPT has done this before to great success at Middleport Pottery in Stoke.  This proposal will ensure that East London retains one of the finest craft facilities in the world, adding to the cultural and artistic value of Whitechapel for generations to come.

Recognising that there is a viable alternative to their boutique hotel proposal, the developers have appropriated the language of their rivals by claiming they are actually ‘reinstating a foundry,’ meaning that bell polishing will happen in the lobby of their hotel sometimes. The reality is they are reducing the foundry use to 12%. In spite of this attempt to muddy the waters, I think the difference between a boutique hotel and a bell foundry is quite obvious.

The East London Mosque is the Whitechapel Bell Foundry’s closest neighbour and, in the planning application, the developers claim “Several attempts were made to contact the Mosque.” Yet the Mosque confirms that no attempt to consult with them has been made by the developers. In fact, the East London Mosque is wholly in favour of restoring the Whitechapel Bell Foundry to its full capacity as you can read in their letter of objection to the hotel proposal.

Click on this letter to enlarge

Click to enlarge this plan showing the top floor of the boutique hotel of 100 rooms with rooftop swimming pool and bar overlooking the East London Mosque

This picture of Shoreditch House rooftop swimming pool and cocktail bar gives an indication of how the plan for Whitechapel will be realised

The developers plan to put a bell on the top of their bell-themed boutique hotel

You can help save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry as a living foundry by submitting an objection to the boutique hotel proposal to Tower Hamlets council. Already we have lodged over six hundred letters of objection but we aim to deliver over a thousand. If you have not already done so, please take a moment to write your letter of objection. The more objections we can lodge the better, so please spread the word to your family and friends.

Readers who have already objected will have received notice of revisions to the developers’ planning application. No response to this is necessary since all the objections still stand and the revisions make no significant changes to the boutique hotel proposal.



Use your own words and add your own personal reasons for opposing the development. Any letters which simply duplicate the same wording will count only as one objection.


1. Quote the application reference: PA/19/00008/A1

2. Give your full name and postal address. You do not need to be a resident of Tower Hamlets or of the United Kingdom to register a comment but unless you give your postal address your objection will be discounted.

3. Be sure to state clearly that you are OBJECTING to Raycliff Capital’s application.

4. Point out the ‘OPTIMUM VIABLE USE’ for the Whitechapel Bell Foundry is as a foundry not a boutique hotel.

5. Emphasise that you want it to continue as a foundry and there is a viable proposal to deliver this.

6. Request the council refuse Raycliff Capital’s application for change of use from foundry to hotel.



You can write an email to


you can send a letter to

Town Planning, Town Hall, Mulberry Place, 5 Clove Crescent, London, E14 2BG



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Save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry

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