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We destroy our past at our peril and lose our identity

PUBLISHED: 22:50 06 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:09 05 October 2010

St Mary Bow Church. Bow Road. E3

St Mary Bow Church. Bow Road. E3

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PEOPLEon the recent George Lansbury history walk through Bow in East London were witness to the importance of our historic buildings, keeping alive the story of our community and those who shaped it—like Lansbury. The Victorians belatedly realised we destroy our past at our peril when historic Bow Church (pictured) was saved from demolition at the 11th hour in the 1890s

Dear Ed,< /I>

NEARLY 200 people who went on the recent George Lansbury history walk through Bow in East London were witness to the importance of our historic buildings, keeping alive the story of our community and those who shaped it, like Lansbury, Sylvia Pankhurst, Minnie Lansbury, Dr Barnardo, Annie Besant and Prisca Coborn.

The Victorians belatedly realised we destroy our past at our peril and lose our identity when the historic Bow Church was saved from demolition at the 11th hour in the 1890s.

One of the glories of the East End is the history of working class achievements in local government in the early 20th century at Bow, in the former Metropolitan Borough of Poplar. The more we lose the physical signs of this history, the more we will forget it and fail to be inspired by it in our community life.

Tower Hamlets council must take this seriously and use its 'local listing' and conservation powers to save buildings like the old Poplar Labour Exchange in Limehouse, and its neighbouring buildings in Dod Street.

If we lose these and other parts of our heritage for more shiny apartments and offices, a bit more of our civic soul will have died.

The Rev Michael Peet

Rector of Bow

Coborn Street, Bow


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