11th hour Listing bid to save London Fruit & Wool Exchange at Spitalfields

PUBLISHED: 10:45 22 January 2013 | UPDATED: 12:21 22 January 2013

London Fruit & Wool Exchange at Spitalfields

London Fruit & Wool Exchange at Spitalfields

'Save' campaign

An 11th hour bid to save east London’s famous Fruit & Wool Exchange has been made with English Heritage considering whether it should be Listed.

Historic 'Mickey Davis's wartime air-raid shelter in Fruit Exchange basementHistoric 'Mickey Davis's wartime air-raid shelter in Fruit Exchange basement

English Heritage is currently consulting the local planning authority, Tower Hamlets council, the City Corporation which owns the complex and conservation groups in Spitalfields.

The consultation ends January 31, before English Heritage makes its recommendation to the Secretary of State.

It could mean the late Mickey Davis’s famous Spitalfields Market air-raid shelter in the basement used in the London Blitz could be saved, say campaigners.

“We hope English Heritage recommends the Exchange’ and Mickey’s air-raid shelter be Listed,” said a ‘Save Britain’s Heritage’ spokesman. “They objected strongly to these demolitions in the local planning decisions.

“This grand civic building could continue after 84 years.”

Campaigners applied for Listing in October, but London Mayor Boris Johnson gave developers the go-ahead to demolish the Exchange—despite protests led by TV historian Dan Cruikshank, the East London History Society, Whitechapel Society, Spitalfields Community Group, Spitalfields Trust, the Twentieth Century Society and a petition with 1,000 signatures launched by TV presenter John Nicolson.

English Heritage said in a statement today: “We are focusing on getting the facts at this stage, before an assessment on whether it should be recommended to be listed.”

Campaigners want to preserve the Exchange built in 1929 opposite Hawksmoor’s iconic Christ Church. They also want to save the nearby Gun pub and Barclays Bank, both dating from 1929, and Duval Street, formerly Dorset Street, which goes back to 1675.

Tower Hamlets council twice refused developers planning permission, but was overruled by Boris Johnson at a Mayor’s Hearing at City Hall in October.

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