* UPDATE February 2021: the TFC building has just been locally listed so Hackney council now treats it as a heritage asset. Changes sought in the latest application 2020/3843 include the creation of a spacious underground car park. Press this link if you want to comment or email your view to planning@Hackney.gov.uk
* Update January 2021: The 2015 application to build 13 flats on top of the TFC building was approved last year 2020, and is active for another two years.
THE TURKISH Food Centre is cashing in on the property boom. The popular supermarket wants to expand into its car park, alter the Ridley Road frontage and add a floor, all to include 13 flats, inevitably labelled “affordable”.
Dalston residents are likely to worry that the Stars of David and other ornamentation on the landmark building will be lost. The TFC symbol, left, does not include the star.
Loving Dalston has obtained an assurance from the architect for Ucar Properties, which owns the TFC. Peter Pendleton and Associates (PPA), emailed Loving Dalston: “The external features are to be restored and retained, the blocked-up windows opened up at ground and upper levels.”
Ucar’s planning application dismissively describes the building as having “some subjective architectural merit”, so a close watch will have to be kept on work if Hackney council gives it the go-ahead, as is likely.
Local conservation groups, including St Mark’s/Dalston conservation area advisory committee and the Hackney Society are reacting cautiously.
Alfie Stroud, of the society’s planning group, told Loving Dalston the scheme could bring Dalston affordable flats. That would be welcome “but it must not be at the cost of the building’s architectural character, not least in details such as its star finials and balustrade, which makes it unique and express its link with Dalston’s Jewish community and local history”.
The four-floor premises was built at least a century ago by entrepreneur Henry Taverner to house a sweets factory.
Multiculturalism-supporting Dalstoners have always liked the idea of a Turkish/Kurdish Muslim business retaining Jewish symbolism on its premises but the story is not that simple. People claiming descent from Taverner deny that the six-pointed star was used in a Jewish sense.
The Star of David anyway has no exclusive connection with Jews and was not adopted by Judaism until the 19th century, although in Hackney, which experienced the arrival of East European Jews in the late 1800s, the star invariably signifies the religion.
One descendant, however, insists that in the “Taverner history book” the Star of David is “just a star”. No Jewish association was ever meant.
Norman Taverner told Loving Dalston: “The family came from Devon… Protestants [Christians]… they… were not Jewish despite the star of David.” Another Taverner family member clarified the protestantism: “C of E [Anglican] so, no, the Stars are not of David”.
The confectionery plant was a child’s delight. Norman Taverner writes: “…going into the factory as a boy… everything was sticky, trays of icing sugar… moulds for jelly babies which were stretchable, smell of rosewater, sugar mice pink and white, fruit pastilles, and every Christmas he [the Taverner plant owner] made special chocolates which contained, in a spun-sugar cage, liqueurs, very high quality.”
Though Ucar admits its business is the “buying and selling” of its “own real estate”, the TFC would, says the architect, continue as a supermarket in the remodelled building.
Hamish Scott 080216
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