Fruit And Wool Exchange To Be Redeveloped

Boris Johnson last night overruled Tower Hamlets to approve the redevelopment of the Fruit and Wool Exchange in Spitalfields.

The 1920s building will keep its façade but everything behind will be replaced with six stories of office and retail. Spitalfields Life has some lovely photos and descriptions of the interior of the Fruit and Wool Exchange, and construction will also see the demolition of the Gun pub (another pub going in the name of development) and what’s left of Dorset Street, site of Jack the Ripper’s last murder and once known as the worst street in London (there’s an excellent book by Fiona Rule if you want to find out more about the area).

There’s been a heartfelt campaign against the proposals, including Dan Cruickshank who spoke at last night’s City Hall hearing. They objected to the loss of the building and the historic surrounds, and also to the nature of the replacement which they feel will change the character of Spitalfields. All to no avail however, as the Mayor stepped in to reverse Tower Hamlets Council’s decision to turn down the application. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised: it will create around 2,300 jobs and bag a £2m contribution to Crossrail. And we’ve already looked at how the office of Mayor seems to turn the holders into skyscraper obsessives.

Photo fairly obviously taken from Google Streetview

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  • thg

    I’m a bit confused: What is left of Dorset Street? Wasn’t it roughly where the private lane is that runs between the car park and the back of the Fruit and Wool Exchange building and weren’t the last ruins of it demolished when they built the car park? They should knock down the car park and rebuild Dorset Street for the tourists as some sort of Jack the Ripper visitor centre, it would be phenomenally successful. I come past there all the time and there’s always groups looking around…

    anyway, shame on you Boris Johnson, not looking forward to this at all, and especially sad to see The Gun go… :(

    • http://londonist.com/ Rachel Holdsworth

      There is bugger all left of Dorset Street, but you can at least stand roughly at the spot and look into the car park. I think this development will envelop the whole thing into shops and offices. Maybe tour guides will be able to stand in the middle of Monsoon and say ‘here, Jack the Ripper killed his final victim’.

  • Jack Sheppherd

    Yes, The Dorset Street argument was always a bit of a weak one, but so is job creation. Generally jobs in office developmenstaren’t created, they’re just moved from somewhere else and maybe a few locals get jobs as cleaners and in the inevitable branches of Costa. What’s a scandal here is that one man with amusing hair (LOL. He’s a legend. LOL.) can easily over rule a united local council and many community groups to suit his developer chums.

  • Death’s Head

    Dear Boris. I believe there are still some corners of London you haven’t yet allowed to be ruined by developers. What’s taking so long? Yours. Me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=689832515 Terry Chisholm

    The car park can go… but the facade of the building should stay – as is – all the way around the Commerical Street side, as well as the Brushfield Street size. Developers always want the nice old stuff to stay on the posher sides of the street, without recognising that a 10-15 years back none of it was posh… and keeping the historic charm keeps it posh.