Friday 5 December 2014

Dan Cruickshank condemns the demolition of our Georgian houses of Dalston Lane

Dan Cruickshank, the eminent historian, writer and broadcaster,was one of our guests of honour at OPEN's fabulous fundraising soiree hosted at Dalston's Passing Clouds last Sunday 23 November.

Dan Cruickshank

Dan expressed his fury that the history of Hackney, as illustrated in the Survey of London ," has been desecrated largely by Hackney Council itself . . ."

Dalston Terrace: Six pairs of Georgian houses in Dalston Lane were built in 1807, with later shops built over their front gardens in 1890. After inheriting them from the GLC in 1984 Hackney left them empty and unmaintained to slowly decay. Watch the video here  

Dan went on: "I’ve got so many people to be angry with: English Heritage in particular. The fact that the terrace is not listed is a disgrace." 

JONS Scooters and Pizzey Flower shops were damaged by arson, then ignored and  left unsupported  by  Hackney Council which then demolished them without any planning permission

"Every day I see beautiful and useable buildings destroyed in villainous circumstances: this is one of the most villainous stories I know about!

"NO MORE  OF THESE BUILDINGS MUST BE DEMOLISHED because buildings represent continuity, identity, pride and memory. Memory is so important. You lose the buildings and you forget what you were, what these places were. . . The fabric of this history is gone, largely swept away, which is why these houses in Dalston Lane are so incredibly important." 

"They are important for three reasons: they are beautiful, they absolutely have a possible future use as family homes, and they are part of the memory of what was here. They are also of major architectural importance and interest . . . as they capture a moment of English taste." 

"We appreciate around the world the Georgian city: Bath, Edinburgh, Bedford Square . . . these buildings are part of this great admired tradition.  By some alchemy, some magic of god-given quality, those unlikely forces of speculative Georgian development created beauty that is inspirational, is much admired and loved, and is a model for urban living, a beautiful urban world, a ‘rus in urbes’.  But no one knows, no-one cares because so much is gone."

Dan concluded: "The Spitalfields Trust are absolutely determined, willing, ready and able to step in and take the buildings on. There should be something for everyone in Dalston by saving and developing the terrace in a sensitive and thoughtful way that preserves history." 

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