Thursday03 September 2015

Chipperfield outlines reasons for demolishing pub

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Marquis of Lansdowne ‘too small’ for Geffrye Museum’s needs

David Chipperfield has revealed his reasons for demolishing a pub in east London to make way for the £18.9 million Geffrye Museum extension.

The design and access statement submitted by the practice to Hackney Council shows that the original masterplan and early concept designs called for the pub to be retained.

David Chipperfield, Geffrye Museum

Geffrye Museum extension model

However, it said that the height of the pub floor made it difficult to achieve level access and that the Marquis of Lansdowne is “too small to meet any of the museum’s needs”.

“It is not large enough to provide a restaurant with space for 100 covers as required by the museum, it is unsuitable for collections display or storage, it is too small and not sturdy enough for the library,” it said, before also ruling it out as an education space due to its size.

The statement also said that it wasn’t the museum’s intent to “make the pub into a museum piece”.

The wider projects includes a new entrance and access ramp from Geffrye Street, a new elevated garden gallery running along the length of the rear of the main almshouse building and a new extension at the southern end of the site enclosing a new garden.

Plans for the museum extension have seen a backlash from the local community, including the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust which last week showed its plans for how the pub could look if it was renovated.

David Chipperfield, Geffrye Museum

View of proposed garden gallery looking south


Readers' comments (11)

  • I reckon they want to keep the pub so they can turn it into a Tesco or Betfred.

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  • Excellent work by David Chipperfield.

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  • I fail to understand the significance of this pub, which is one of hundreds just like it all over London. Surely we should be grateful to be making way for an exceptional museum building by David Chipperfield, without requiring him to publicly justify his decisions!?

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  • You are right, Dan Brill, that is a big problem in this country. This scenario gets repeated almost every time a major new development is proposed. That is one of the reasons why there are so many decrepit buildings up and down the country.

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  • This area was savagely treated during and after the War, so there are very few buildings of this age left. That's why it's significant.

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  • Beavis

    wow Chippie, blank wall + a big window, I'm inspired!

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  • goosewing

    Now I have seen what is to replace the pub, i'm all for keeping it!

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  • I find it funny that the reason they can't keep the pub is because of its size and yet it's potentially being replaced by a one story block of concrete with a balcony in it. The east end has suffered many architectural losses and although only small, the pubs restoration would contribute so much to the area, especially if it could be incorporated into the Chipperfield design.

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  • I'm pretty surprised to see this design - I was expecting something a bit more ambitious - or at least a bit more of a difference in shape of the street - I understand it's a bit of a hassle to turn the pub building into a useful part of the museum, but they've had offers outright to buy the pub, restore it to it's original appearance and run it independently of the museum from the Spitalfields Trust so this just seems to be a wilful act of defiance in a conservation area where there are hardly any buildings of it's era about...and 1000 people and counting who've signed a petition that asks it to be retained...

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  • D Ingram

    Objection 2013/0053 Conservation Area Consent from Jane Jephcote, Chair of CAMRA's London Pubs Group, Flat 10, Ravenet Court, Ravenet Street, London SW11 5HE

    Demolition of the Marquis of Lansdowne public house

    Dear Hackney Planning

    On behalf of CAMRA's London Pubs Group, I should like to object to the demolition of the Marquis of Lansdowne at 32 Cremer Street E2 on the following grounds:

    1. As evidence of the area's previous late Georgian/ early Victorian antecedents, the Marquis of Lansdowne constitutes a heritage asset, in much the same way as the Wenlock Arms does in the Regent's Canal Conservation Area also in the borough. In the second case consent for demolition was refused on this ground in October 2011, although it is noted that at the time the Wenlock Arms was not in a conservation area.

    2. Loss of the building leading to a permanent removal of any possibility that the Marquis might one day be repaired and reopened as a pub. NPPF Para 70 protects against the loss of pubs. P70 has been used by inspectors to defend a pub use even where that use ceased some years before. The planning appeal decision for the Plough Shepreth which established this principle is attached.

    3. The 'redundancy' of the building is challenged. Historic buildings which are 'mothballed' or given low impact 'meantime' uses such as the Marquis has under its ownership by the Geffrye Museum can survive long enough for their context to change sufficiently to enable a sustainable repair and reinstatement. The Marquis, which has been in use as offices upstairs in the ancillary living accommodation (and not also on the ground floor in the pub's trade area) would, with the arrival of Hoxton Station and the nearby Museum itself, find many buyers if it were offered on the open market. As much was admitted by David Dewing, the Museum's Director to a member of the London Pubs Group at the consultation event in December.

    4. The loss of pubs from conservation areas has been identified by planning inspectors in four recent dismissed appeals cases as detrimental to the character of the conservation area. This can be caused either from the loss of the building itself and its associated use, or from the loss of the use through a scheme of conversion affecting the character of the conservation area, and being considered to constitute 'substantial harm'. The relevant appeal decision on the Cross Keys is attached for your reference. the other cases followed the Cross Keys case both in time and reasoning. Other planning decisions including the Fairfield PH in RB Kingston recorded refusals at delegated level following the Cross Keys case.

    5. The dating of the Marquis of Lansdowne has not been firmly established. However, I attach a photograph of the Queens Head E14, a Grade II listed building and its list description which identifies it as late C18th or early C19th, and invite you to note the similarities between them including the recessed arches and 1950s mottled beige tiling. It must be said that the Marquis, even in its delapidated state, is a more elegant building, 'rounding' its corner and presenting a more considered design for its prominent site than the Queens Head.

    6. The loss of the Marquis' built context, i.e. its flanking terraces, is a shame, but there is consequently an opportunity to create a new and harmonious context for the pub within a new scheme for the Geffrye, 'fitting new to old, rather than old to new', or in this case demolishing the entire building completely. Public houses in this 'orphan' form survive in a great many urban areas after the slum clearances of the interwar and post war periods as the singular reminders of their role in servicing residential streets. They are to be cherished (as above) and not to be disregarded.

    7. I have been shown a photograph of the Marquis taken in 1951 or possibly earlier, showing it after an InterWar timber panelled refit and refronting of some distinction and quality. The present tiled treatment is absolutely typical of Charrington's post WWII austerity repair programme and a significant number of these survive still. However, while the surface decoration is of little merit, it would appear that the present building is little altered in its roof, window apertures and the disposition of doors and so on.

    8. The applicants are defending their application on the grounds that the loss of the present building is justified on the grounds that the new proposed extension is of greater public benefit. This seems a regrettable approach by a museum of the Geffrye's standing. Furthermore, previous proposals, funded as I understand it by Heritage Lottery Fund grant, showed retention of the Marquis and its incorporation into a considered scheme.

    In summary: the Marquis of Lansdowne is a purpose-built public house absolutely of its time and place. It is a survivor from Hoxton's Georgian history, of which precious little now survives. The context around it has greatly improved during its time in the Geffrye's ownership and it is easy to see that it could with some care and attention, be refitted and returned to its original use and there is evidence that there would be appropriate owners interested in a purchase. The loss of this pub from the conservation area, both in its built form and use, constitutes 'substantial harm' and should be resisted.

    Please refuse consent.

    Jane Jephcote
    Chair, CAMRA London Pubs Group

    The London Pubs Group is formed of CAMRA's London region pubs officers and pub protection officers as well as historic pubs enthusiasts and planning/historic buildings professionals with a particular interest and knowledge of the subject.
    Jane Jephcote is co-author with Geoff Brandwood of "London Heritage Pubs" 2008, CAMRA.

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