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The George: why the East End needs this pub

PUBLISHED: 18:31 06 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:04 05 October 2010

Dear Editor, PART of the way between St Dunstan s-in-the-East and The City lies The George tavern, a 17th century public-house, a haven for Oliver Cromwell and Charlie Chaplin, a traditional East End pub

Dear Editor,

PART of the way between St Dunstan's-in-the-East and The City lies The George tavern, a 17th century public-house, a haven for Oliver Cromwell and Charlie Chaplin, a traditional East End pub, discotheque for champion boxers and venue for arts, music and performance.

I came to The George after bringing up my five sons and it is now my livelihood and home.

It is hard work. Many pubs are closing.

To survive, our local boozers have to know what their communities needs.

The East End has well over 10,000 artists, many emerging new talents, in need of affordable platforms for their work and spaces to 'network'.

We provide this, and sustain valuable facilities for the whole community from Christmas lunch to poetry outreach for the mentally ill and Red Cross first aid courses.

But The George is at risk due to the threat of residential development on the former Stepney's nightclub next door, 11 one-bed and two-bed apartments.

Wrapping homes around a music and performance centre creates issues about noise that could close any venue, as the local licensing authority cannot take into account whether a building has a historical precedence.

The George campaign has been quite high profile with famous faces.

But mostly we have been getting to know our neighbours, especially those from the Exmouth housing estate, and getting to know Tower Hamlets councillors, trying to work out a way of protecting The George as an artistic and historic icon of Stepney.

Buying Stepney's nightclub was not a wise investment for a registered social landlord like Swan Housing. The site is riddled with boundary issues.

The money given to social landlords from our taxes should be protected.

The Housing Ombudsman should rein in the spending of millions of pounds on spec, as in this case.

I do not want another nightclub on the old Stepney's site.

But it is a very special space, full of treasures which could benefit our area, including the famous light-up dance floor.

We've lost our Bingo halls and tea-dance rooms. Yet we need them, as well as places for family events like christenings and wedding parties.

The old Stepney's nightclub site should be put in trust, so the East End can be proud of nurturing what other parts of London have sadly lost.

Pauline Forster

The George Tavern

Commercial-road, Stepney

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