Tom takes on fight to save Poplar Labour Exchange

A RETIRED schoolmaster takes on developers tonight in a bid to preserve an original 1930s Labour exchange in London’s East End. Tom Ridge is fighting to save the old Poplar employment centre in Limehouse at a local authority planning meeting

By Gemma Collins

A RETIRED schoolmaster takes on developers tonight in a bid to preserve an original 1930s Labour exchange in London's East End.

Tom Ridge, a local historian who successfully championed the preservation of the Bancroft Archives at Mile End last year, is now fighting to save the old Poplar employment centre in Burdett Road, Limehouse.

Developers want to tear it down to make way for an 11-storey tower block of flats and shops, which is going to be decided at tonight's Strategic Development committee of Tower Hamlets council.

Tom is addressing councillors at 7pm to try and persuade them to throw out the proposals and have the building, which has been empty for three years, locally 'listed' and be include it in a conservation area.

He has support from the 20th Century Society, Save Britain's Heritage and the Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society who insist the building, originally put up by the Office of Works in 1933, has historical and architectural merit.

But he is up against Town Hall planning officers who have already recommended that the redevelopment next to the Limehouse Cut canal would allow "more efficient use" of the land.