Monday, 12 January 2015

Save Spiegelhalter's (2)

One week into the Save Spiegelhalters campaign and we already have more than a thousand supporters from all over the world -  a magnificent response! Here's a link to my latest blog for the Times Literary Supplement, explaining the background to the petition and its link to Ian Nairn's topographical masterpiece Nairn's London.

The campaign has one simple aim: to get Tower Hamlets Council to ensure the future of what Nairn called "one of the best visual jokes in London'. Here it is - a little two-storey stucco building holding its own against a pompous 1920s department store:

Spiegelhalter's  and Wickham's - David and Goliath

It's currently derelict, in danger of collapse and under threat from property developers who want to knock it down and replace it with the sort of gormless glass atrium that only property developers and their tame architects seem to like. This would be a crying shame and a disgraceful loss. 

This plucky little building has survived the Great War, the Depression and the Blitz, as well as regular recessions, official indifference ad long-term neglect by the current owners. It represents all that's best about the East End - bloody minded, contrarian and fiercely independent. It is also a vital record of the social mix that made the East End what it was - and is. It's also hilarious, and much-loved. Many of the comments on our campaign webspace are from locals who have fond memories of the jewellers' shop in its heyday - visit the campaign web page and read them for yourself. 

Once restored and preserved Spiegelhalter's will be a rallying point for individuals and organisations opposed to crude, exploitative development of the area and (why not?) anywhere else in the country that's under threat. We need - and we are sure to get - thousands of signatures to present to the planning department of Tower Hamlets Council. So we need your support, and we need you to spread the word. Simply enter SAVE SPIEGELHALTERS in your search engine and you can sign within seconds.

     Spread the word - Save Spiegelhalter's!

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