Doors fiasco in a Hackney conservation area

Doors @ Family Mosaic houses 83 & 87 Sandringham Rd E8 2LL 180315 ©

* UPDATE December 2015: Thanks to pressure from Loving Dalston and a local conservationist group, the correct doors have been quietly reinstalled.

* UPDATE June 2015: After Loving Dalston’s enquiries into the application to remove the doors, Hackney council is taking enforcement action.


AN ARCHITECTURALLY impressive assemblage of grand houses in Hackney has been unintentionally damaged… and that in a conservation area (CA).

Family Mosaic last autumn applied to the council for permission to remove and replace windows at 83 and 87 Sandringham Road. The c 1880 E8 2LL four-floor terrace faces the stately St Mark’s church in the Dalston CA.

A planning official okayed the application – for the windows, and this spring 2015 scaffolding appeared.

This is not unusual: scaffolding is thrown up all over London, if not the whole country, around the end of the financial year as organisations rush to spend

Doors8387: One of the needlessly removed orig. doors from Family Mosaic houses @ 83 & 87 Sandringham Rd E8 2LL 170315 ©
Tossed out: top, sturdy door left in the street, and above, close-up of moulding

money rather than return it to their funders – the government (ie, your taxes).

But in this case a conservationist out walking her dog was alarmed to see that the builders had torn the beautifully crafted front doors out of their frames, in the process cutting one in half.

One of the needlessly removed orig. doors from Family Mosaic houses @ 83 87 Sandringham Rd E8 2LL 170315 ©
Salvage bait: one of the Victorian doors awaits the tip… or a new life on another house

Unable to see any reason for the removal of perfectly good, not to mention original doors, she protested to the council. But work continued and doors of inferior strength and odd appearance now stand, incongruous on the Victorian  facades.

Victorian Society conservation officer Sarah Caradec said: “It is disappointing when high-quality Victorian doors and windows are replaced with poor imitations – especially within a conservation area.

“Though the removal of two doors may seem trivial, over time these small changes add up to a deteriorating streetscape. Retention and maintenance of these features makes sense not only from an aesthetic and historical perspective but is often cheaper as well.”

The society hoped the doors would be reinstated.

How did it happen that an application for the replacement of windows led to the replacement of  doors?

Joanna Birch, of Family Mosaic, said the planning application for the replacement of windows, included the replacement of the front entrance doors. The windows application was approved on 8 September 2014.

Doors8387: New door replacing needlessly removed orig. doors from Family Mosaic houses @ 83 87 Sandringham Rd E8 2LL 170315 ©
New: tacky look contrasts with high-quality original

She went on: “Replacing the front entrance door is also included within the design and access statement.”

Hackney council’s planning and legal departments are nevertheless investigating.

Tenants told Loving Dalston they liked the new doors.

The idea of how an application replace one feature can result in approval to remove another has ramifications.

Family Mosaic is believed to have plans to replace doors on more of the houses it owns in the Dalston CA.

David Altheer 050515

* Backstory: How Victorian Society helped to ditch weak Geffrye scheme; Dalston delight savedfor now

* 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. Most photographs can be visually enlarged by pressing on them.

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2 thoughts on “Doors fiasco in a Hackney conservation area

  1. Absurd to replace fine Victorian doors with inferior-quality new pastiches, let alone in a conservation area. Mosaic should be ashamed of its actions.

  2. It’s foolish to get rid of 19th-century doors for many reasons, including the fact that they are made of high-quality, slow-grown timber, which lasts for ever if properly maintained. Timber produced today has been quickly grown and artificially dried so has a looser grain and will not last anyway near as long.

    The timber in those doors must be well over a century old. What builders and cabinet-makers have to pay for aged wood! As for the moulding…

    Some encouraging news will soon be added to this story. — Ed.

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