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This supplement provides further information for those who have already sent their email (for which many thanks) and for those who have still to write – please do so as soon as possible.

Please note that this is not an East End Waterway Group campaign. I am using the newsletter service to make as many people as possible aware of the proposed development in the Victoria Park Conservation Area (LBTH). And hope that organisations and individuals will want to persuade the developers to change their proposals before submitting them to Tower Hamlets Council; and persuade Historic England to reconsider its support for demolitions and extensive alterations to the recently listed former London Chest Hospital (Grade II).

Historic England has issued a statement in response to the Special October Newsletter, which does not comment on the accusation that it is now pursuing a ‘protect and destroy’ policy, and only says that the developer will have to justify the proposed demolition of the south wing (1863-5). Also that Historic England “will be providing … formal comments on the scheme“ when the planning application goes out to consultation.

Presumably those comments will be made by the same inspector who has supported the developers’ proposed demolition of the south wing; and the so-called “heritage enhancements” to the main building (1851-5) and sanitary tower (1890-2) which would cause substantial harm to their significance as the surviving parts of a designated heritage asset in a conservation area. Hence the need to email now and help publicise the protection and destruction of the former London Chest Hospital. Please bear in mind that when it gets to the consultation stage, objectors will not have an opportunity to comment on Historic England’s formal comments.


Although the roof is not described in detail in the List Entry Description (no. 1433870) it consists of five hipped cut roofs and the hipped cut roof is a characteristic feature of the late-17th century country house style referred to in the List Entry Description (Here and Here).

Drawing No. 1 shows a cross-section of the narrow three-storey main building through one of its five hipped cut roofs and the proposed back addition (shown on the developers’ page 4 plan but not described or explained).

Inage 1
Drawing No. 1

The proposed demolition of the existing roof would cause substantial harm to the significance of the designated heritage asset (listed building) and the three-storey main building in particular.

The existing roof’s proposed replacement by a taller and wider roof with only one long flat leaded roof would also cause further substantial harm to the significance of the designated heritage asset by creating fake heritage. And this would be further compounded by the fake heritage of a “reinstated original spire” on the central or ventilation tower.

  • The existing hipped cut roofs should be retained and repaired, with reinforcement (such as insertion of steel tie rods between the feet of principal rafters) where necessary, the existing dormers should also be retained and repaired
  • The proposed back addition should have an honest flat roof
  • The existing central or ventilation tower should be retained and repaired


This was described incorrectly as a three-storey tower in the Special October Newsletter. In fact, it is a four-storey tower; and as shown on Drawing No. 2 the attic or third storey is to be converted to a gazebo.

The tower, together with the link building and single-storey post-mortem room (not “mortuary”) is fully described in the List Entry Description here .

The proposed partial demolition of the rectangular ground storey and attic storey and the total demolition of the link building and post-mortem room are indicated in Drawing No. 2.


With the possible exception of the single-storey post-mortem room, the demolitions and subsequent alterations to the ground and attic storeys would cause substantial harm to the significance of the designated heritage asset (listed building) and the four-storey tower and link building in particular.

NB the link building (not shown on Drawing No 2) contains short fenestrated corridors linking the three main floors and the attic in the main hospital building with the four floors in the tower: the three upper floors of which contained WC’s, washbasins, baths and slop sinks. The proposed demolition of the link building would disengage the sanitary tower from the hospital building

  • The tower and link building should be retained and repaired
  • The rectangular ground-storey should be converted to a flat; likewise, the first-, second- and third storeys, all accessed from the short corridors in the link building (the post-mortem room could be retained and adapted as an annexe to the ground-floor flat)
  • The proximal old mulberry tree should not be relocated.

With respect to the main building and tower, if you have still to send your email, please write along the lines set out in the Special October Newsletter, with references to the additional points made in this supplement – especially the five hipped cut roofs on the main building, link building and the sanitary tower’s attic storey.


Many local residents in Tower Hamlets and Hackney are rightly concerned about other issues:

As a consequence of its new policies on the Old Ford Estate, Circle Housing has been struck off Tower Hamlets’ list of preferred housing associations (in joint ventures with developers). This will probably not stop Circle Housing and Crest Nicholson from making their planning application but questions are being raised about Circle’s suitability as a registered social landlord in the proposed residential development of the former hospital.

The developers have yet to provide details about the provision of social or genuinely affordably housing and local residents are questioning whether or not the hospital development is yet another example of a housing association building homes to make money for the provision of social housing elsewhere.

The proposed demolition of the south wing constitutes substantial harm to the significance of the designated heritage assets (List Entry Description under History and Exterior). Should Tower Hamlets grant planning permission for the demolition of the south wing, it is to be hoped that, in line with National Planning Policy Framework para 33, the loss would be outweighed by substantial public benefits. As local residents are calling for the maximum provision of social housing in the hospital development, the substantial public benefits could include Mayor Khan’s 50% affordable housing.

Tenants and residents groups in the vicinity of the former hospital emailing the developers and Historic England (copies to Owen Whalley Tower Hamlets and Tom Ridge c/o East End Waterway Group – all email addresses in Special October Newsletter) about the need for the proper conservation of the surviving parts of the designated heritage asset may also wish to specify the substantial public benefits which they think are needed to outweigh the loss of the south wing. Also the other issues which they think need to be addressed.

This supplement (and the Special October Newsletter) may also be viewed on

Tom Ridge

The Hospital in 1905
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Local residents, schools, community groups, amenity societies and businesses working with the Canal & River Trust, Tower Hamlets Council and others for the protection and beneficial use of the six mile waterway ‘ring’, its historic buildings, structures and habitats.
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