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Inside The Nicholls & Clarke Buildings

February 15, 2015
by the gentle author

In Norton Folgate, the magnificent array of nineteenth century warehouses on Blossom St and the adjoining handsome showrooms on Shoreditch High St form a unique composition of buildings – that was, from 1875 and until quite recently, the headquarters of Nicholls & Clarke, supplying hardware and ironmongery of all kinds.

Retaining only fragments of exteriors, British Land want to obliterate this complex under monolithic corporate office blocks of eleven to thirteen storeys, but thanks to Photographer Rachael Marshall we are able to assess the quality and appeal of these flexible spaces through her atmospheric pictures taken in 2010.

“My starting point was the fact that the creation of new buildings involves the destruction of landscapes and consumption of energy but 9% of property in the United Kingdom lies empty. In some parts of London this is 28%,” Rachael explained to me,”Shouldn’t bringing unused buildings back to life be expected in the same way that recycling a tin can is expected?”

Photographs copyright © Rachael Marshall

You will be able to visit these historic buildings for yourself between June 26th & 28th, when they host Best of Brittania 2015, featuring a dazzling array of British design and manufacture. Britain’s largest pop-up Department Store promises jewellery, shoes, mens’, womens’ & childrens’ clothes, home furnishings, bicycles & motorcars, food & drink, all produced in this country.



Click here for a simple guide to HOW TO OBJECT EFFECTIVELY prepared by The Spitalfields Trust

Follow the Campaign at facebook/savenortonfolgate

Follow Spitalfields Trust on twitter @SpitalfieldsT


The Spitalfields Trust’s SAVE NORTON FOLGATE exhibition curated by The Gentle Author is at Dennis Severs House, 18 Folgate St, E1

Sunday 15th February 10 – 12pm
Tuesday 17th February 4 – 7pm
Thursday 19th February 4 – 7pm
Saturday 21st February 2 – 5pm
Sunday 22nd February 10 – 12pm
Tuesday 24th February 12 – 2pm
Thursday 26th February 12 – 2pm
Saturday 28th February 2 – 5pm
Sunday 1st March 10 – 12pm.
Admission is free
9 Responses leave one →
  1. Jean permalink
    February 15, 2015

    Norton Folgate – there is a point where too many office buildings in London is thenew slums. There is no need. Build them in Canary Wharf or outside central London. London doesn’t need anymore commuters working in offices. Build them in Plymouth, barking, Bromley, basildon. East Ham, Stratford. Monolith offices have no place in the street scene in Spitalfields

  2. Robert permalink
    February 15, 2015

    Beautiful photos and yes the interiors deserve to be renovated rather than destroyed. Their industrial nature gently reminds us that these buildings were there long before we were. And may, it continue to interest those in the future as well as us now.

  3. Glenn permalink
    February 15, 2015

    ”Shouldn’t bringing unused buildings back to life be expected in the same way that recycling a tin can is expected?”
    Wow, this is such an important statement. Thank you Rachael.
    Luckily we have the Spitalfields Trust and other organisations in this area working to keep our historical buildings.
    I’m a local resident and we need as much help as possible to fight corporate greed.

  4. rae donaldson permalink
    February 15, 2015

    It’s obviously not enough for companies like British Land to act like the profit-driven behemoths they are. Now they also feel the need to have ‘values’.

  5. February 15, 2015

    Lovely pictures and a pleasure to see the interiors. It’s a disgrace that such important buildings are left empty to decay by owners who place no value in them.

  6. Pauline Taylor permalink
    February 15, 2015

    How I agree with Rachael that buildings should be recycled whenever possible in the same way that we are encouraged to recycle everything else, perhaps we should all lobby our MPs about this as it is a very valid point. We, after all, are almost threatened if we do not recycle enough, so surely this should apply to developers as well.

  7. RBuxton permalink
    February 16, 2015

    It has long been a sad fact that such a large-scale property development raises cash for masses of people with various interests in the project. The tangled web-like network of beneficiaries illustrates firstly how difficult it is to stop something like this once plans are announced, and secondly but perhaps the more serious, how little say we have in our planning system.

  8. Shawdiane permalink
    April 15, 2015

    STOP the SUICIDE of our Great City of LONDON.
    Without our PAST we have NO FUTURE ! London is becoming a
    comglomerate of UGLY OFFICE BLOCKS. Yes modernise but NOT SUICIDE!

  9. February 6, 2016

    I like some of the new buildings but there in the wrong place , there spoiling the city

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