Fight is back on to preserve London’s oldsest canal—despite High Court

Conservationists are back in the fight to preserve London’s oldest canal—after losing the opening skirmish in the High Court.

Public consultations are under way for a conservation area around the Limehouse Cut that links the River Lea to East London’s Limehouse Basin by the Thames.

An earlier conservation scheme along the canal aimed at protecting a quayside building of historic interest from developers was overturned in February.

Now Tower Hamlets council—which lost its legal battle to preserve a 1930s Labour Exchange by the canal bridge in Burdett Road associated with East End champion George Lansbury—has returned with fresh proposals and is seeking public backing.

The campaign has been led by local historian Tom Ridge, a retired East End school teacher.

“This won’t include the one building associated with George Lansbury which has now been pulled down,” he said.

“But there are still several buildings along the Limehouse Cut to remind future generations that Poplar was part of a large waterside industrial area when London was the largest industrial city in the world and the Thames was the greatest port in the world.

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“The Cut must be protected as part of London’s waterside heritage.”

The six-week consultation runs until May 29. New guidelines are available on the local authority’s website:, while email comments can be sent to

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