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A Letter To Crest Nicholson

January 18, 2018
by the gentle author

This is the text of my letter that was emailed to Crest Nicholson yesterday. A hard copy was also sent by guaranteed delivery to arrive at their corporate headquarters in Surrey today.


17th January 2018



Crest Nicholson
Crest House
Pyrcroft Road
KT16 9GN

It has come to my attention that you have used my photograph of the Bethnal Green Mulberry tree without my permission on your leaflets and in an exhibition for your proposed development of the former London Chest Hospital.

This photograph was first published on my blog on 24th April 2015.

Here is the link:

I have appended a copy of the picture alongside a scan of your leaflet.

I am furious that a large company like Crest Nicholson should take my property with such brazen disregard for the law of copyright. There is no excuse for this disingenuous behaviour on your part.

I would never have given permission if you had sought it, but I cannot stop the use that has occurred and for that you should pay me a fee.

You will find my invoice for this usage accompanying this letter and I require confirmation from you on the following points:

1. You will cease circulating the leaflet with my photograph on it and destroy remaining copies.

2. You will remove my photograph from your exhibition.

3. You will make no further use of my photograph or reproduce it again in any medium.

Please understand that I take this breach of copyright very seriously and if I do not receive assurances from you on the three points above and payment in full within ten working days, I shall have no choice but to pursue action against you.


Yours sincerely

The Gentle Author


The Gentle Author’s photograph of the Bethnal Green Mulberry taken in April 2015 before Crest Nicholson purchased the London Chest Hospital

The Gentle Author’s photograph as reproduced without permission by Crest Nicholson in their leaflet and exhibition for their proposed London Chest Hospital development

You may also like to read about

Here We Go Round The Bethnal Green Mulberry

A Plea For The Bethnal Green Mulberry

The Bethnal Green Mulberry

The Haggerston Mulberry

The Dalston Mulberry

The Whitechapel Mulberry

The Mile End Mulberry

The Stoke Newington Mulberry

The Spitalfields Mulberry

The Oldest Mulberry in Britain

Three Ancient Mulberry Trees

A Brief History of London Mulberries

67 Responses leave one →
  1. January 18, 2018

    Go get ’em! Tell their solicitors that the price of your not spanking them is an intact, in situ Mulberry tree in, let’s say, Bethnal Green.

  2. Janet M permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Well done, GA. The tree can’t be replaced, I hope that this faceless corporate entity understands this.

  3. Linda Salter permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Good for you! Every success with this. Disgraceful.

  4. January 18, 2018

    They really have no shame, thinking they can just do what they want and they’ll get away with it. I hope your invoice was suitably large.

  5. Simon Lee permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Talk about adding insult to injury. Well said GA

  6. Ann Meacher permalink
    January 18, 2018

    I do hope that you are successful in your pursuance of this corporate thieving.
    Best wishes. Ann Meacher

  7. Herbert Lakey permalink
    January 18, 2018

    A justified claim,how much?

  8. Steve Buckley permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Well done!

  9. Vicky permalink
    January 18, 2018

    I am delighted that Crest Nicholson has displayed such appalling incompetence, yet again.

  10. January 18, 2018

    Their complete lack of any sense of irony is only bettered by their greed. Power to the people, GA!

  11. Georgina Briody permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Good for you!

  12. January 18, 2018

    I like that. I have been in the same situation a couple of times. Good luck. Let us hear the results.

  13. January 18, 2018

    All the best with the campaign, keep up the good work!

  14. January 18, 2018

    Welldone. Please publish their response.

  15. January 18, 2018

    What a bunch of corporate muppets!

  16. Peter Le Mare permalink
    January 18, 2018

    My support too. I look forward to your success. Please keep us informed.

  17. Jean Gaffin permalink
    January 18, 2018

    First good luck with challenging this disregard of the law and hope invoice is big and gets paid. Second I cannot see that picture without recalling the taste of mulberries, we used to live near a park in Kenton with a tree and we were one of the few to eat the fruit; in Stratford on Avon last year we saw a huge mulberry with all the fruit on the ground and tried to find a few on the tree to eat and people gathered round astonished they were being eaten.

  18. sarah permalink
    January 18, 2018


  19. Enid permalink
    January 18, 2018


  20. Mark M permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Mark Stephens at Howard Kennedy specialises in media law – and obtaining justice for the ‘little people’ against corporate greed. If you need legal assistance, he’s good.
    Also, if you’re an NUJ member they’ll help you pursue this, and will have a good idea of what the remuneration should be.

  21. Leana Pooley permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Hanging’s too good for them!

  22. John Barrett permalink
    January 18, 2018

    GA I love trees they speak to us and show their beauty four times a year do your best please to save this mulberry. There is an element of nastiness by Crest they know you could not employ a legal team in a protracted encounter and are trying to take advantage all-round – John a bus pass poet. PS keep your Plan B a top secret

  23. Helen Breen permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, you go, guy! Does Crest Nicholson know the extent of your audience?

  24. Adrienne Roche permalink
    January 18, 2018

    I hope you are successful on all counts – please keep your readers up to date with progress and let us know if further support is required.

  25. Svetlana Graudt permalink
    January 18, 2018

    You are a feisty one, Gentle Author! Wishing you a successful conclusion of this matter. Fight on!

  26. Dean Armond permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Well done, Gentle Author, stand up for your rights and protect the tree at the same time.

    D0 let us know how you get on with Crest Nicholson?

  27. Maura Blackburn permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Delighted the Gentle Author has shown “teeth” – wish more people would do the same. Down here in Sussex there is a constant battle to protect our lovely countryside, particularly that bordering the South Downs National Park. Protest by local conservation groups rarely succeed against the constant need for more homes. Crest in fact are building a high rise, waved shaped block of apartments on Worthing sea front, completely out of keeping with the area, despite attempts by the Worthing Society, with only minimal changes to stifle protests.
    Or Gentle Author shows individuals need to be reckoned with.

  28. Sheila quinn permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Good for you defending what is yours. Too many large concerns think they can ignore certain parts of the law when it suits them.

  29. Jan LW permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Well done. “Corporate thieving” is spot on (Ann).

  30. January 18, 2018

    They are so cynical – I hope this costs them a lot of money – but more important – a change of heart

  31. Eileen Bubeck permalink
    January 18, 2018

    These people are totally beyond the pale and you are the person to put them in their place. Every good wish for a very successful outcome.
    Eileen Bubeck

  32. Gary Arber permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Well done GA, hit them as hard as you can,

  33. Sally Baldwin permalink
    January 18, 2018

    I share your fury; I can only imagine your reaction when you found out about this appalling outrage. Rape. It’s the word that keeps coming to mind.

    These are parlous times.
    I pray that justice will be swift and remunerative.

    Sally Baldwin, USA (where we are living daily with appalling outrage)

  34. Marcia Howard permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Good for you! We’re right behind you. I’d also already signed a petition to ensure this amazing tree is not destroyed by these bully boy corporates. I despair of decency sometimes.

  35. Mike permalink
    January 18, 2018


  36. Adele permalink
    January 18, 2018

    What we in NY call chutzpah. Good luck in your fight, please be sure to let us know the outcome.

  37. Vicky permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Crest Nicholson is building an estate of new homes in Wokingham and have named it ‘Mulberry Grove’. What a cheek!

  38. Maggie Thwaites permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Good for you! Wishing you good luck with this too easy for the ‘Commercial Big Boys’ to try and intimidate local people.

  39. January 18, 2018

    Good luck and hope you get positive results from your letter! It feels like London (and of course other cities) increasingly besieged by shameless big businesses and their outsourcing, whose ‘business plans’ actually make no sense, neither to the communities they undermine nor ultimately to the businesses themselves. Last weekend I supported Euston vicar Anne who, along with another activist, chained herself to one of Euston Square’s ancient plane trees as a protest against HS2’s cutting them down to make room for a construction site etc. HS2’s reaction to our criticism of their intended vandalism – they intend to cut down ancient woodland along the HS2 route – is to say they ‘will plant new trees’, missing the point completely.

  40. Joyce Hampton permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Good for you, they seem a nasty arrogant company with complete disregard for the locals and for
    the unique history of the area – in particular the special connection with the mulberry tree and local/national history. Whether they like it or not history is where we started without the richness and diversity of history we would all be as moronic as this company is.

    Copyright is, I know, a minefield and the unwary can accidently and innocently fall foul of the laws covering this subject but a company that is supposed to be ‘professional’ should have taken proper advice before arrogantly taking your photo. I am sure in different circumstances you would have given permission if you had been approached by someone who wanted to use the photo in a nice way, not to using it as a publicity stunt. The Mullberry should be allowed to remain where it is for future generations and tended with loving care as a valued part of Bethnal Green.
    Rant over.

  41. Sarah permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Go for it GA

  42. January 18, 2018

    These people are disgraceful. I hope you invoice is in excess of £10,000.

  43. Ian Silverton permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Bet Judge Rinder would sort this out for you GA, with no legal fees to pay,just a thought,good luck with it, Ian Silverton

  44. January 18, 2018

    well done

  45. January 18, 2018

    Polite but very firm; just right.

  46. Robin Call permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Go get ’em G.A. !! Keep us posted as to when their groveling begins.

  47. Chris Ashby permalink
    January 18, 2018

    I’ve written an objection to Tower Hamlets Council.
    Good luck and best wishes.
    Chris A.

  48. Robin Greeley permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Good on you! Corporate theft combined with complete insensitivity to the real lives of people and trees. Don’t take down the mulberry; take down Crest Nicholson!

  49. pauline taylor permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Well done and good luck.
    PS It’s a lovely photograph of a lovely tree, how shameful and sad it will be if its life is brought to an end by this shocking company and its corporate greed.

  50. Ruth Offer permalink
    January 18, 2018

    Can well imagine your reaction on opening that envelope!
    As others have said, the copyright subject is a minefield – be sure CN will know every way to get around it. If legal advice is offered at ‘the right price’ I would say ‘thank you’ and grasp it with both hands – it would do them good to know that perhaps this time they have bitten off more than they can chew.
    Keep us posted please and all the very best.
    Ruth – Tenterfield NSW

  51. Mary Connolly permalink
    January 19, 2018

    Best wishes, Gentle Author. Good luck. Mary

  52. January 19, 2018

    Such Incredible cheek. Good luck with this.

  53. Sonia Murray permalink
    January 19, 2018

    Go get ’em, tiger! Crest Nicholson should be ashamed! I hope your invoice is for a large enough sum to make them recognize the error of their ways, and that if they refuse to pay, you take them to court and get a jury award of treble damages! The newspapers may like this story of David -v- Goliath. Nationwide publicity and public sympathy might move their evil hearts!

  54. Martin Guilfoyle permalink
    January 19, 2018

    There is a distinct sense of incredible irony only missing the physical slap on the face now.

  55. January 19, 2018

    Well done!

  56. David Ransom permalink
    January 19, 2018

    I work for a graphic design company and constantly have to remind people that just because a photograph can easily be copied from a website, it does not mean that it is free to use. A few years ago I published a small print run of a set of three postcards showing the replica Bounty. Two of the photographs came from Flikr users. I emailed the photographers and found that they were only too happy for me to use their images in exchange for a credit and a free set of postcards. This case is entirely different and I am so pleased that you have written to Crest Nicholson in this way. I wish you luck and success.

  57. Annie S permalink
    January 19, 2018

    Good for you GA!
    These people shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.

  58. DavidC permalink
    January 19, 2018

    Obviously it’s unlikely that any of the directors (especially the NEDs) would have had any advance personal knowledge of this leaflet. However, from a quick glance at I would suggest that Pam Alexander OBE looks like the most suitable NED to draw into this case : her other experiences and involvements imply that she really ought to be sympathetic and her membership of the Audit and Risk committee implies that she really ought to be concerned about the reputational risk arising from their behaviour. I don’t think that I had ever heard of her until a few minutes ago, but she may provide an alternative angle to pursue : questions from directors (especially the NEDs) tend to encourage extremely rapid responses in most large organisations !

  59. January 20, 2018

    Don’t mess with the Gentle Author.

    Got get ’em. 🙂

  60. Robert permalink
    January 20, 2018

    As you may know already, if these cheeky blighters don’t settle you can pursue a case against them using the small claims track of the patents court. It doesn’t cost much and there is no defence for what they have done.

    Have you thought of popping a copyright notice on your images? You shouldn’t have to (and don’t need to legally) but it does deter theft.

    Let us know what happens.

  61. Peter Holford permalink
    January 20, 2018

    Yes – Hold those arrogant suits to account. Well done. (I spent 24 hours thinking what to write but most sentences included nonpunishable profanities!)

  62. Bee permalink
    January 20, 2018

    Well done Gentle Author. I’m a keen amateur photographer and it never ceases to amaze me how some people think they can just take your work and use it without permission.

    I note that in promoting their plans for the London Chest Hospital, Crest Nicholson parade Valentine Place as one of their achievements. No mention of the local fight we residents had to embark on to stop the heritage of this historic industrial townscape being destroyed completely.

    It began in 2010, much to our shock, with the sudden demolition of an immaculate Victorian warehouse at 1a Valentine Place. Everything then went quiet for a while, until a sneakily placed demolition sign appeared on the window of the stunning neo-classical Edwardian Maltina Bakery building on the same site.

    Perhaps they thought we wouldn’t spot the sign. Big mistake. We halted the demolition with a petition, and Valentine Place was subsequently designated a conservation area.

    The bakery survived, albeit in façade only. Lost along the way were beautiful chimney pots, the tall oven chimney, a magnificent wooden vaulted ceiling and the original wooden floorboards. But at least we can still see some vestiges of the past, rather than have to look at yet another new build.

  63. Sally Hirst permalink
    January 20, 2018

    I hope it is a very large fee. They are robbers.

  64. Rita permalink
    January 21, 2018

    Outrageous theft.

    Good luck and a successful outcome for you.

  65. Stephan Glover permalink
    January 24, 2018

    This has happened to me before with various pictures of the East End, City Of London and Dresden in Sachsen. Thankfully not by anyone as nefarious as Crest Nicholson. Perhaps I wil send you some from the last twenty years.

  66. John Daltrey permalink
    January 24, 2018

    Good for you!!!
    It simply shows what arrogant scum they are

  67. Jacqueline Tillyer permalink
    January 30, 2018

    Right behind you GA. Ask for what is rightfully yours.

    The company concerned Crest Nicholson has now a forthright and determined challenge sitting on their tail.

    I so enjoy your website such quality and thought in every posted e-mail. An inspiration to keep the real East End recorded and alive.

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