Geffrye Museum is holding ‘Open Evening’ on this Wednesday the 20 March at 6pm to discuss development plans & demolition of pub. Go if you can!
Nick Pope’s visualisation put into context with the proposed extension
this from Nick Pope, who got wind of the campaign via BD online:
Nick Pope’s 3D rendering fleshes out the Spitalfields Trust’s sketch
“I saw the great sketch done by the Spitalfields Trust and I wanted to start looking a bit more about how it could actually look in situ so I produced a 3D visual to try and illustrate my take on it. I don’t think anyone at all would object to buildings surrounding the restored pub so I’ve showed these in my visuals as blocks to either side. The pub could be used as a stand alone building or extended and incorporated into their development – both of which are very valid and possible options but seem to have been ignored so far.
I think it’s very easy to walk past an old, rather tired looking building and to think the area would be better without it. But with a bit of consideration and a little investment the result can be a building that relates so much more to its surroundings and benefits both locals and visitors to the area than just a new development alone.
If you leave the main streets in east London, very little is actually left of the interesting streets, squares and alleys that used to make up the area and with such popular areas like Shoreditch, Columbia Road and BroadwayMarket so close by that still have a few of these features left, I think it’s important to preserve what we can and to incorporate these buildings into future developments.
It’s obviously an exciting time for the Geffrye Museum and I would strongly urge them to look at a way of incorporating the old Marquis of Lansdowne building into their plans.”
This put me in mind of another new building that works well around an existing pub, the Bear Lane project by Panter Hudspith Architects in Southwark:
Local comment from the BDonline archive:
Elaine Napier | 19 February 2013 1:10 pm
As one whose family owns property by Cremer Street, and whose ancestors lived and worked in Bethnal Green and South Hackney as orris (specialist silk and gold/silver thread) weavers in the 19th and early 20th centuries, I am bitterly disappointed to learn that the Geffrye Museum considers it appropriate to demolish one of the few remaining 1800s properties in the area to replace is with a new-build extension to the museum.
The Geffrye Museum is dedicated to showing the public the lifestyles of past centuries in East London. Surely they can see that the Marquis of Lansdowne is a serious example of the sort of public house that was fundamental to the lifestyles of those who occupied this wonderful part of London in its fascinating history. There must be a whole range of ways in which the property could be used to enhance the Museum itself, or to be restored as a separate public house which would act as a source of revenue for the Museum as part of the revival of this exciting area..
Local Authorities are far too quick to allow the destruction of the taxpayers’ heritage. Thousands of houses were demolished in the East End in the post-war period, delivering in their place unattractive concrete blocks which quickly demonstrated that the quality of the building was poor and the culture of the estates did not meet the needs of the people. Please try to be a bit more imaginative about how you deliver the future for these areas. Many beautiful squares and terraces could have been saved and restored to the kind of homes that people actually want. My great-great-grandparents began their married life in 1841 in the terraced house which is now number 7 Buckfast Street (formerly Abbey Street), E2. This charming little house is still in excellent condition, providing a happy home for a 21st Century family instead of sticking them in chilly isolation in some pile of ugliness way up in the sky.
Please try to preserve the real appearance of the East End and give its people the sort of environment they want. Extensions can fit in almost anywhere. The loss of original historic buildings is a real tragedy.
Curiouser and curiouser. It transpires that when, in May 2011, the Geffrye Museum was given £518,500 of ‘development’ funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) – there were no plans to demolish the pub. Quite the contrary – the building was to be retained and integrated within the new scheme. As the museum’s own press release states:
‘A new restaurant will be located either in a new ‘pavilion’ building alongside the reception area or in the former Victorian pub on the corner of Cremer Street, which will be sensitively restored and extended. In either location the restaurant will have street access.’
This is important because it seems unlikely that the HLF would have made this grant if the museum’s plans had involved demolition. The museum has now changed its mind of course – and, ironically (cynically perhaps?), has used the development money to work up a new scheme involving the destruction of the pub. Sounds like a bit of a stitch up. The big question here is was the HLF misled?
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.
On the 1st November, 2012 the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust wrote the Geffrye Museum to object to plans to demolish the pub. In the letter the Trust offered to take on the repair of the building:
‘We, the Spitalfields Trust would gladly take this building off your hands and repair it at our own cost, and find a positive new use for it that would positively enhance the Museum and its ‘quarter’. Demolition of a building of this calibre by a major London museum is surely not a positive way forward.’
The Spitalfields Trust is one of England’s most respected building preservation trusts, having repaired and brought back into use over 60 historic properties since its foundation in 1977. The Trust began its work in Spitalfields, east of the City of London (and just a short walk south of the Geffrye) where it rescued dozens of early 18th-century houses. Since then it has extended its operations outside London, restoring a medieval manor house in Wales and a Tudor gate house on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent.
Closer to home, it also, recently, oversaw the rehabilitation of a number of modest late Georgian houses in Whitechapel – of a similar scale and character to the Marquis of Lansdowne. The effect on this overlooked and unappreciated district has been transformational and the project received the ‘Restoration of the Century’ award from Country Life Magazine in 2011.
Sadly, in a letter of 19 November, the Geffrye Museum rejected the Trust’s offer.
The Trust believes that the pub, which has an estimated market value of around £400,000, is ripe for repair and rehabilitation and could easily be integrated into the museum’s plans and put to a range of uses.
the Marquis of Lansdowne seen from the back of the Museum