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Trinity Green Needs Friends

January 25, 2016
by the gentle author

(Click this image to enlarge)

Trinity Green Almshouses in Mile End only survive because some illustrious friends saved these distinguished and benign examples of social housing, which were built at the end of the seventeenth century under the supervision of Sir Christopher Wren.

CR Ashbee, founder of the Guild of Handicrafts at Essex House, was so dismayed to see the destruction of a palace in Bow which once belonged to James I, he launched a campaign in 1895 to rescue Trinity Green Almshouses when demolition and redevelopment were suggested upon the implausible premise that it would be too expensive to repair the drains.

With the vocal support of William Morris, Octavia Hill, Lord Leighton, Walter Besant and many others, Ashbee succeeded in his goal and Trinity Green became the first historic building in the East End to be saved for posterity. As part of his campaign, he published a handsome monograph, surveying and recording the building in detail, from which the drawings here are reproduced. This monograph became the origin of the Survey of London which continues to this day.

Today, Trinity Green needs friends again to counter the neglect of the fabric of recent years and to challenge the development by Sainsbury’s which proposes a tower of luxury flats the height of Centrepoint overshadowing the almshouses. So please click here and sign up to become a Friend of Trinity Green and – by doing so – continue the work of CR Ashbee, William Morris, Octavia Hill, Lord Leighton, Walter Besant and all those involved at this crucial site for the Conservation Movement.

Already, as a consequence of the influence of the newly-formed Friends of Trinity Green, Historic England have written a letter of support which condemns the height of the Sainsbury’s luxury block and challenges Tower Hamlets Council with a Public Enquiry if they approve the current plan.

CR Ashbee, saviour of Trinity Green – drawing by William Strang in 1903

Trinity Green seen from the Master’s House

Retired naval gentlemen in the club room at Trinity Green

Statue of Captain Richard Naples

Elevation on Mile End Rd

A game of draughts

Model ship from the frontage on Mile End Rd

Cat at the foot of the statue of Captain Maples

The current Master & Commander at Trinity Green

Sainsbury’s proposed tower of luxury flats

Click here to learn more about the FRIENDS OF TRINITY GREEN

You may also like to read about

CR Ashbee in the East End

At Trinity Green

10 Responses leave one →
  1. January 25, 2016

    Greed and arrogance are destroying London, I hope this is a fight that will be won! Valerie

  2. January 25, 2016

    A worthy campaign. Good luck to the Friends.

  3. January 25, 2016

    While Historic England is clearly correct about the impact of the luxury flats upon the Grade 1 listed building, it is surely almost about the impact of the people and their companion animals who live in the almshouses who will be living out their days in the shadow of luxury flats. It is a metaphor of the disdain with which older members of our society are viewed – or more accurately ignored.

  4. Sharon permalink
    January 25, 2016

    This ugly tower looks almost identical to the one with a Sainsburys store at its base that was built outside Canada Water station. My daughter lived in an apartment in the refurbished Victorian Pump House nearby – which was completely overwhelmed by this monstrosity, blocking light and views. So sad that this sort of development can be allowed.

  5. John Daltrey permalink
    January 25, 2016

    I really hope you can win this . What a few arrogant destructive ignorant developers are doing to London is a national disgrace . Aided by an equally arrogant Boris Johnson our wonderful vibrant London is becoming a trough for a few already rich and powerful people to dip into at will to further increase their wealth. What is effectively happening here is no less than ethnic cleansing where thousands of working people on average wages can no longer afford to live in London

  6. pauline taylor permalink
    January 25, 2016

    I am pleased to see that Historic England has taken up this cause. A Grade I listed building should never be threatened in this way, and the proposed tower block is monstrous wherever it might be built; we seem to have lost all sense of proportion and scale, and before long London will be resembling Hong Kong if this is allowed to continue.

  7. Nicholas Keeble permalink
    January 25, 2016

    Historic England’s stance is welcome, but by no means does it guarantee refusal. In addition to submitting representations to the local authority in the usual way in response to the application, how about an email to Sainsbury’s Chief Executive, Mike Coupe?

    If this tower is built I will choose never to cross the threshold of any Sainsbury’s store.

  8. Malcolm permalink
    January 25, 2016

    Don’t expect any help from Boris Johnson. He has vested himself with absolute power when it comes to planning decisions, as evidenced by the 14 decisions he has called in and personally approved in the face of local residents’ opposition. Spitalfields is already in his grip as we all know from the planned rape and murder of Norton Folgate. This man is an utter cretin and understands nothing about our history or heritage, despite his idiotic blustering. He is a bully and a mountebank of the first water. His contempt for any opinion other than his own is crystal clear, especially when he attempts to silence opposition at council meetings with his favourite, and much used phrase, “Oh, get stuffed!” This creature should have been left as a stain on the sheets. I sincerely hope Trinity Green is spared this monstrous carbuncle but I have very grave doubts that the rape and destruction of my beloved London will be stopped by any Mayor of London. The greed of developers knows no bounds and London is the world’s prime target for these rapacious beasts.

  9. January 26, 2016

    Whose heart lifts when they catch sight of Centrepoint! It seems a missed opportunity to build some of the successful innovative developments young architects are designing today – just as the almshouses were innovative in their day – and the Mile End Road needs more buildings on a human and welcoming scale.

  10. Barra little permalink
    January 27, 2016

    In addition to putting forth the strategic plan for Whitechapel which includes this terrible new building, tower hamlets is responsible for another and more immediate threat to these buildings- it still owns several of them and has allowed those houses to fall into serious disrepair. Any private owner who treated a grade I listed building which such contempt would be facing council action. Please write to the mayor and demand action to protect these buildings!

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