I got back from the States in time to hear Dan Cruickshank give a bravura final talk in the Whitechapel History Fest, organised by the Survey of London upstairs in the Whitechapel Idea Store.

He described his peregrinations round east London in the late 1960s taking fine black-and-white documentary photographs of buildings which no longer exist, including Wellclose Square, just south of Wilton’s Music Hall, the Circus, Square and Crescent, designed by George Dance the Younger, just north of the Tower in the late 1760s (this is not one of Dan’s photographs), and the London Dock:-


Then, in 1976, he, Colin Amery and others squatted 5 and 7, Elder Street to prevent it being demolished by British Land and established the Spitalfields Trust, which has done nearly as many projects in Whitechapel as in Spitalfields, including (which I didn’t know about) the Durward Street Board School just north of Whitechapel Station.

He ended with a peroration on the risks of damaging new building development, including a startlingly gigantic new building proposed on the corner of Commercial Street and Whitechapel High Street which will dwarf the Whitechapel Art Gallery.


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