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Three Brick Lane Events

March 12, 2021
by the gentle author

The Spitalfields Trust presents three free webinars as part of their campaign to save Brick Lane from the ugly shopping mall with floors of corporate offices on top proposed at the Old Truman Brewery. Visit

Brick Lane 1978 by Dan Jones



7pm Monday 22nd March

A discussion of Brick Lane’s cultural significance for the British Bangladeshi community, its history and the challenges which threaten it.

Speakers include PROFESSOR CLAIRE ALEXANDER, author of the Runnymede Trust report Beyond Banglatown – Continuity, change and new urban economies in Brick Lane, DR FATIMA RAJINA and TASNIMA UDDIN, co-founders of Radical Socialist Bangladeshi Group Nijjor Manush, and COUNCILLOR ABDAL ULLAH, founder of the BBPI Foundation, whose first address was Brick Lane.

As the point of arrival for waves of immigration, Brick Lane is the nearest we have to an ‘Ellis Island’ in this country. It represents centuries of struggle by generations of migrants seeking to build a life and belong, creating the multicultural Britain of today. Yet it is currently under the shadow of redevelopment that threatens the authenticity of Brick Lane, driving up rents and pushing out the local community. We ask what can be done to prevent the undermining of such an important cultural location of national significance.

This session will be used as an opportunity to gather and provide insights to the Mayor of London’s Culture at Risk Office on these timely issues.


Click here to register for free for THE THREAT TO BRICK LANE


Messrs Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co’s Brewery at Brick Lane, published by J. Moore, 1842



7pm Tuesday 30th March

Historian DAN CRUICKSHANK outlines the story of the world famous Truman Brewery in Brick Lane.

Legend has it that brewing in Brick Lane dates back to 1666.

Long-term local resident and co-founder of the Spitalfields Trust, Dan Cruickshank, traces the histories of the families who managed the brewery through four centuries, the largest in the world before it closed in 1989.

It was Benjamin Truman who industrialised the process in the eighteenth century by creating a giant brewing plant and was knighted by George III. In the nineteenth century, brewer Thomas Fowell Buxton, made a reputation as an abolitionist, working closely with William Wilberforce to present the London petition of 72,000 signatures against slavery to the House of Commons in 1826.

Today some of the original fabric of the brewery still survives, and Dan has undertaken a survey of what remains to ensure its survival in the face of redevelopment plans by the current owners.


Click here to register for free for THE HISTORY OF THE TRUMAN BREWERY


Corporate block proposed on Brick Lane



7pm Tuesday 6th April

Planning & Heritage Expert, ALEC FORSHAW examines the appalling history of bad planning decisions in Spitalfields.

In recent years, Spitalfields has faced a wave of soulless corporate development spreading from the City of London, inflicting ugly steel and glass blocks that are entirely at odds with the narrow streets of old brick buildings.

First it was the Spitalfields Market, then the Fruit & Wool Exchange and Norton Folgate, and now the wave has reached the historic Truman Brewery.

In this humorous illustrated lecture, Alec shows how the same mistakes have been repeated over and over in Spitalfields, exploring what can be done to prevent this onslaught in future and discussing how more responsible planning could benefit the area and the community.


Click here to register for free for A CATALOGUE OF PLANNING DISASTERS


Shopping mall with corporate offices on top proposed for the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane



* This development will undermine the authentic cultural quality of Brick Lane.

* The generic architecture is too tall and too bulky, ruining the Brick Lane & Fournier St Conservation Area.

* It offers nothing to local residents whose needs are for genuinely affordable homes and workspaces.

* It is an approach that is irrelevant to a post-Covid world, with more people working from home and shopping locally or online.

* Where it meets the terraces of nineteenth century housing, the development is out of scale and causes up to 60% loss of light.

* Instead of this arbitrary scheme, we need a plan for the entire brewery site that reflects the needs and wishes of residents.



You can help us stop this bad proposal by writing a letter of objection to the council as soon as possible.

Please write in your own words and head it OBJECTION.

Quote Planning Application PA/20/00415/A1

Anyone can object wherever they live.

Members of one household can each write separately.

You must include your postal address.

Send your objection by email to

Or by post to Planning Department, Town Hall, Mulberry Place, 5 Clove Crescent, London, E14 2BG


Follow the Spitalfields Trust to keep up to date with this story
Twitter @SpitalfieldsT

Facebook /thespitalfieldstrust

Instagram @spitalfields_trust

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Jill Wilson permalink
    March 12, 2021

    All three events booked – should be really interesting/inspiring/horrifying…

  2. Akkers permalink
    March 12, 2021

    Thanks for letting us know about these events – like Jill I have booked on all 3.

  3. March 13, 2021

    The total disregard of the necessity of keeping the historical significance of the Spitalfields area intact is appalling. I know many think adding quality shopping to the area would be desirable, but the desecration of that attractiveness isn’t added to by erecting modern edifices in the midst of an ancient marketplace. There are regrettably many such atrocities to point to throughout London, already. Facadism is better than losing the exterior viability of the neighbourhood…if a shopping centre is deemed ‘a necessity’. Surely, keeping the architectural integrity of Spitalfields and its long cultural history will take precedence and will be taken to protect what is already taking its toll all around greater London.

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