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Historic buildings saved in Tower Hamlets after repairs and renovation

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 October 2019

The Star of The East Public House on Commercial Road has been brought back into use by the Old Spot Pub Company. Picture: Historic England.

The Star of The East Public House on Commercial Road has been brought back into use by the Old Spot Pub Company. Picture: Historic England.

Historic England

Three historic buildings have been saved in Tower Hamlets after the iconic structures were restored.

Limehouse's Accumulator Tower and Chimney has been taken off Historic England's Limehouse's Accumulator Tower and Chimney has been taken off Historic England's "at risk" list after work to deal with water, vegetation and graffiti problems. Picture: Chris Redgrave/Historic England.

The good news was revealed in Historic England's annual Heritage at Risk Register for London today (Thursday, October 17), which lists historic buildings, sites, monuments and places in the capital that are in critical condition.

Bethnal Green's Grade II-listed Oxford House, originally an 1884 "settlement house" for Oxford students to learn first-hand about the realities of urban poverty, is now a centre for art and philanthropy.

It has a chapel, theatre, gallery, dance studio and café, as well as affordable office space for more than 45 charities and community groups. It also hosts a volunteering programme to provide people with skills and work experience.

A Historic England grant paid for a temporary roof covering to help Oxford House dry out while the National Lottery-funded renovation was negotiated and designed.

Inside 
The Star of The East Public House on Commercial Road. Picture: Chris Redgrave/Historic England.Inside The Star of The East Public House on Commercial Road. Picture: Chris Redgrave/Historic England.

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"Our heritage needs saving and investing in heritage pays - it helps to transform the places where we live, work and visit, creating successful and distinctive places for us and for future generations to enjoy," said Emily Gee, Historic England's regional director for London and the South East.

"But there's more work to do. There are buildings still on the Heritage at Risk Register that are ideal for rescue and capable of being brought back into meaningful use. These are the homes, shops, offices and cultural venues of the future."

The Accumulator Tower and Chimney next to Limehouse Basin has also been brought off the "at risk" register after problems with water getting in, vegetation growth and graffiti were tackled.

The Star of The East Public House on Commercial Road has been brought back into use by the Old Spot Pub Company. Picture: Historic England.The Star of The East Public House on Commercial Road has been brought back into use by the Old Spot Pub Company. Picture: Historic England.

With a distinctive octagonal shape, it was built in 1869 by William Armstrong, inventor of the hydraulic crane.

Hydraulic power was used to run cranes on London's docks before the widespread use of electricity. The Accumilator Tower and Chimney is the last of three that were in Limehouse. They once connected to a pumping station that fed the hydraulic main, in turn powering the coal cranes.

Star of the East on Commercial road has been taken of the list after being restored by the Old Spot Pub Company. Many of the original features remain on the Grade II-listed 19th-century pub.

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