The Geffrye Museum has now submitted a planning application which includes the demolition of the Marquis of Lansdowne pub. Despite claiming that extensive consultation has been carried out, the Museum has refused to show anyone final plans prior to submission – something that will set the alarm bells ringing at the Heritage Lottery Fund – who will be providing a colossal £11m grant for the scheme. Never at any point in the consultation process was the retention of the pub up for discussion – and, to our knowledge, a full feasibility study looking at alternatives to demolition has not been produced.
In the meantime, The Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust has drawn up a vision of how the pub could look if carefully repaired, with missing detail reinstated. It shows how, if retained, this modest but handsome building could make an enormous contribution to any new scheme – enriching the streetscape and providing valuable historical context for the modern extension. Whether revived as a pub, restaurant, bar, education space or visitor centre it is clear that this building would anchor the new scheme in the architecture and history of this special, but much abused, part of the East End.