Dear Mr Hollingsworth
Planning Application No. 14/00262/FUL
Swan Wharf, E3 2NQ
Since writing the 26 August 2014 letter of objection, I have visited a Grade Il-listed c. 1900 multi-storey stable block at Kingsland Basin in Hackney; and compared it with the locally-listed 1906-12 multi-storey stable block at Swan Wharf. As you know, the latter was built for Henry Crane, a cartage contractor with earlier stables at a wharf on the west side of Kingsland Basin. A two-storey and a three-storey building survive, now 16 and 16A Hertford Road, Hackney N1 5QT. Both were listed in 2007 and have been fully repaired and minimally adapted for re-use.
The two-storey building had stables on the ground floor and the three-storey building had stables on the first and second floors: accessed by external ramps of which only the ramp to the first floor survives. Both sides of the W-E three-storey building are seen from paved public areas with access from the walkway in Kingsland Basin and from Norway Yard in Hertford Road. Both public areas were former open wharves which have been retained by the developers, London and Quadrant.
The three-storey building is described in the list description as a â€œmulti-storey stable buildingâ€. However, unlike the 1906-12 stable block at Swan Wharf which had stables on all three floors with small â€˜stableâ€™ windows, it only has rows of small â€˜stableâ€™ windows in the first and second storeys.
Although the list description states that the small windows are in â€œengineering brick surroundsâ€, their sides and arches are in the same brick as the long side walls. The second-storey window openings have one-ring arches and the first-storey window openings have three-ring arches. The 16 north-side window openings have narrow concrete and breeze sills, whilst the 15 south-side openings have bullnosed engineering brick sills.
In contrast, the three rows of 20 north-side window openings on Dace Road (and the three rows of c. nine south-side window openings) are all in â€œengineering brick surroundsâ€: with undamaged bullnosed blue brick sills, sides and two-ring arches.
The two-storey internal cast-iron and steel frame at 16A Hertford Road has two rows of four cast-iron columns (each with an integral pair of lugs which are bolted to the ends of the webs of adjacent steel beams). In contrast, the 1906-09 two-storey internal cast-iron and steel frame at Swan Wharf has two rows of five cast-iron columns (each with an integral pair of lugs which are bolted to the ends of the webs of adjacent steel beams; and are also connected by a semi-circular collar strap). This additional connection may well represent an improvement on the type at Kingsland Basin. And as stated in the 26 August 2014 letter, the internal frame at Swan Wharf is the only one of its particular type in the conservation area and probably the whole of London.
Although the Grade II-listed c. 1900 multi-storey stable block at Kingsland Basin retains the lower flight of its original two-flight external ramp, in all other respects it has less special architectural and historic interest than the locally-listed 1906-12 multi-storey stable block at Swan Wharf. In addition to all the other reasons set out in the 26 August 2014 letter, this is clearly yet another good reason for fully retaining the 1906-12 multi-storey stable block at Swan Wharf. Especially as London only has about half a dozen or so surviving former multi-storey stable blocks; and the Swan Wharf example is possibly the last to have been built. Furthermore, its historic significance is enhanced by the fact that it is in the same conservation area as the site where petrol was first produced in this country. And, as you know, the introduction of the internal combustion engine led to the eventual demise of horse-drawn transport in London and elsewhere.
In the 26 August 2014 letter, I stated that the mid-20th-century building at Swan Wharf was â€œprobably built by 1948â€. I have re-examined the OS plan evidence at the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and realised that my statement should have read â€œprobably built by 1962â€.
For and on behalf of The East End Waterway Group