At a meeting last night, Hackney’s planning committee rejected a controversial proposal to extend the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton, with councillors voting six to two against the scheme, arguing that there was a “risk of harm” to the Museum’s existing buildings.
The design, by David Chipperfield, was for a new extension toward the south. However, the proposal called for the demolition of the Marquis of Lansdowne, a 19th-century pub on the corner of Cremer Street and Geffrye Street that has been derelict for 20 years. Conservationists argued that the pub could be re-opened and turned into a successful business, and that the Geffrye Museum, with its focus on the history of domestic life, should be supporting its redevelopment instead of bulldozing it.
Things became heated when the Geffrye’s director, David Dewing, was quoted as saying that he “had no interest in the culture of the labouring classes” (something Dewing refers to as “nonsense” in a letter published in this week’s Private Eye).
The decision to reject the proposal will come as great news to the many campaigners who have fought to save the Lansdowne, including the Spitalfields Trust, which has drawn up an alternative proposal for the pub’s renovation.
Spitalfields Life has a wonderful story about a man who was born in the pub and whose family used to run it.