Stop destroying Hackney heritage says Dalstoner

Demolition of Hackney council-owned Georgian terrace by Murphy's starts on 140114 ©
Digging for victory: conservation-led?
Demolition of Hackney council-owned Georgian terrace by Murphy's starts on 140114 ©
Rubbling it in: behind the demolisher’s barriers

Demolition starts @ Dalston Lane Tce London E8 130114 © david.altheer@gmail.comEVEN AS bulldozers attack the remains of Dalston Lane’s Georgian house-shops, a local architect is attempting a last-minute save.

Numbers 48-76 have been leased by Hackney council to builder-developer Murphy to demolish and rebuild. Some of them have suffered mysterious fires over the years, which have also been marked by questionably motivated ownership swaps between big business and Hackney council.

The council has for years been telling residents how it aims to restore the buildings, but now seems to have given up any pretence that its stated objective of a conservation-led scheme for Nos 48-76 will be fulfilled. Which is why Lisa Shell is staging Saving Dalston Lane, an event to make “a last-ditch endeavour to save these significant buildings”. “I’m still on my mission to stop the unstoppable,” she told Loving  Dalston.

The programme includes:

* Screening of Under The Cranes (director Emma-Louise Williams, 2011, 56 minutes). Based on writing by author-broadcaster Michael Rosen, and mixing archive footage with new film, this is described as “a lyrical, painterly evocation of Hackney, over several hundred years”. It questions the nature of so-called regeneration in the borough.

* Bill Parry-Davies, founder-leader of Open Dalston, which was set up to preserve the terrace, will present photographs depicting the terrace’s neglect and decline.

Council sign at 48-76 Dalston Lane ©
Bright new world: council’s mock-Georgian

Shell added: “I am working to stop development on planning and conservation technicalities, to convince Hackney council of the shortsightedness of the proposed scheme and to inspire the council to make a U-turn in favour of a careful restoration and rehabilitation of the existing buildings.”

* Since this report was published, Bill Parry-Davies, Open Dalston lawyer, has persuaded the council that its planning permission to demolish needed a second look.

David Altheer 260114

* Saving Dalston Lane, Rio Cinema (good facilities for disabled people), 107 Kingsland High Street, Dalston E8 2PB, Sat 8 Feb 2014 at 1.30 pm. Free. See also Noticeboard.

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

DalstonLnfinial2: Pollution-damaged finials at @ Dalston Lane Tce London E8 140114 ©
Attention to detail: some residents worry that a rebuild will not restore features such as the above
This site welcomes fair comments, including the critical. Letters may be edited for grammatical, legal or taste reasons, for shortening or for substitution of Wikipedia citations by reliable sources. RSS feed link is at top right. Twitter: @lovingdalston Publicists, amateur and professional, should read Also relevant may be the note at the end of Photographs © David Altheer unless otherwise stated and apart from supplied pictures

4 thoughts on “Stop destroying Hackney heritage says Dalstoner

  1. Good for Lisa!

    The queue for the screening and discussion at the Rio on Saturday was so long that I missed the beginning of her introduction and wondered if she had published the text of it anywhere, to help people make effective objections to these destructive proposals.

  2. Yet more of our Hackney heritage disappears due to the shortsightedness of the council.

    When will the realisation hit the council that the regeneration of Hackney is not all about polished new buildings but about enabling people to appreciate the historic elements of where we live too?

  3. I agree that this is a sad tale of the neglect that has led to the row of Georgian buildings being in this situation.
    But what is left are such meagre traces of the original fabric that there is little or nothing to salvage (maybe the bricks could be re-used).

    What is more important is that Hackney planning department insists on the historic level of detailing, craftsmanship and materials for the exterior rebuilt.

    Some of the terrace stays in place, so there is an easy reference. The right size of brick should be employed, as well as the appropriate decorative finishes.

    But Open Dalston’s agenda seems to me to more about its objection to social change in Hackney. A revisionist view of the 1970s and 1980s, when Dalston was a byword for dirty streets, poverty and crime.

    Its recent campaign on the proposed new built at Kingsland Station is indicative. The supposed issue about tall buildings masked OD’s dislike of wealthy young people moving into the area. So now we still have Peacocks’ building, one of the most offensive in the area, and no urgently needed enlarged station with disabled access to the platform.

    I support Open Dalston on this if it is about architecture, but not if is about how it wants the social makeup of the area to fit its paradigm.

    I cannot resist adding my tuppence’s worth: that campaigners have missed a chance to press for the planning gain to be to make trains passing through on the East London Line accessible to Dalston Kingsland station users. At present, the trains whoosh by a few metres from the west-side DK platform. A better-looking and user-friendly front entrance would also be good. – Editor

  4. How can you “save” or “restore” a terrace that is already utterly derelict and dangerous.

    Knocking it down to erect a safe structure is both financially and practically viable.

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