A row of early 18th century houses near Spitalfields faces substantial demolition.
This set of old weavers' houses at 70-74 Sclater Street were completed in 1720. The 300-year old structures are now threatened by the huge Bishopsgate Goods Yard development. The Gentle Author of the Spitalfields Life blog has started a campaign with the Spitalfields Trust to preserve them.
After years of neglect, the houses are not looking their best. A brief flirtation with street artists Mighty Mo and Sweet Toof gave the buildings a touch of life a few years back, but the row has since deteriorated further.
The developer's plans would save the front walls of the houses but "destroy the rear wings, yards and outhouses, which are rare survivals and form an integral part of these buildings".
Some might argue that preserving the front while deleting the hidden innards is a good old British compromise. Indeed, The Goodsyard developer wrote back to us, stressing its heritage ambitions: "Our proposals for The Goodsyard retain and celebrate the incredibly important heritage assets across the site, including... the historic Weavers' cottages on Sclater Street. We are working with local heritage specialist Chris Dyson Architects, who has 15 years’ experience of working with heritage buildings, to sensitively restore these inaccessible assets."
The Gentle Author, who recently published a broadside against such 'ghastly facadism' (keeping the front of a building while developing its bulk), is not satisfied with this, and argues for full preservation. He and the Spitalfields Trust encourage readers to write to Historic England in a bid to get the structures listed. See the redevelopment plans here, and find out more about the campaign here.
Updated 21 January to include a link to the developer's plans.