Ladywell wrecking crew get stuck-in

Demolition work has begun on the Ladywell adhesives factory, a rare Art Deco treasure, which is to be replaced by a much lesser building - a mixed-use commercial and residential development.

Originally tipped off to the story by a BC reader, we've had multiple confirmations on Twitter, with one person reporting that the back of the building has been bulldozed.

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

that is a shame - nice building that i always felt would have made an awesome grand designs home.

lb said...

Hold on, renewal application DC/10/73845/X shows the development as "refused", doesn't it? Or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

Surprised in some respects that we haven't yet seen the usual way of disposing of inconvenient old buildings (i.e. "arson", cough cough).

Rebecca Portsmouth said...

How sad. I love that building - and if had a much larger bank account, would have loved to had my business there.

Danja said...

As renewal was refused, they are commencing work before the old one expires.

Kat said...

I have always said if I came into any money I would try to buy that building and do something with it. Demolition was never in my mind. I am quite upset that Ladywell has lost this building.

george said...

Lewisham planning's scorched earth policy when it comes to something not made of MDF and concrete is legendary.

Bunch of vandals.

Danja said...

I don't see any way LBC can be blamed for this. They refused permission. A planning inspector granted it on appeal.

Art Deco said...

Just wait and see the monstrosity the build in its place.

george said...

I have always thought that it is the council that has ultimate control over what is built and knocked down in their borough.

Is this incorrect?

Anonymous said...

It is incorrect. Planning permission is more than a test if taste. They bought the building, if they're not breaking planning laws they can build what they like

george said...

Fair enough. I retract my statement then.

Steve said...

"F**king Idiots!"

Steve said...

"F**king Idiots!"

Anonymous said...

Although the council/officers may not have the final say, they can by their proposals for an area influence decisions by developers.

The Carpet warehouse is also due to be demolished and replaced by flats.

So thats, the police station, 'art deco' building and the warehouse to become residential...and still no plans after 6/7 years for the derelict Playtower.

Lady Well said...

Lame.

Brockley Jon said...

Indeed, the planning officer's hands are well and truly tied in some cases (Tyson road development, Forest Hill) but they certainly have the power to make sure things like this don't happen. But they do keep happening.

It's a real shame. I'm amazed there wasn't much of a fight to save it - or perhaps there was, and I'm just not aware of it (which could be seen as a failing of the blog, although we can't possibly cover everything). 

Anyway, another amazing art deco building lost, another boring ikea apartment block built, no doubt.

Name said...

Isn't this regeneration though? Maybe the new residents on the stretch of road can help make Ladywell even more villagey?

Bumbags said...

This is very sad. It was a very interesting, beautiful building.

Danja said...

I didn't think it was all that, myself. But then most art-deco leaves me a bit cold.

Anonymous said...

Within the Art Deco shell is/was a Victorian manor house.

Anonymous said...

did any of the newly elected New Labour councillors oppose this demolition or speak out against it at all?

Anonymous said...

Name said.."regeneration" is keepin what is distinctive and interesting and rebuilding/renewing etc elsewhere not demolishing distinctive local buildings. If Ladywell loses its distinctiveness it ceases to be special in any way.

I'm glad the old water tower was never demolished and I hope that the old swiming baths get converted as it is distinctintive although the loss of this building isn't a good sign.

JB said...

where are the brockley society when you need them ...

elsiemaud boy said...

JB - did you contact them to spearhead a campaign? Hmmm thought not..

JB said...

@ elsiemaud boy said...
For the record I did suggested it to them - seems they weren't interested. Did you do anything about it ... Hmmm thought not

elsiemaudboy said...

JB - And I'd like to know who you suggested it to. As a member of Broc Soc I can say we didn't get any offers from anyone to spearhead a campaign.

Monkeyboy said...

Dare I ask what's happening with the school?

Anonymous said...

Erm the front part of the buidling is still very much still there as of this morning!

Robert said...

The Ladywell Society have been very involved in trying to promote the retention of this building.

BrocSoc did get involved in so far as communicating our objections to Lewisham's planning authority on the matter.

What we have on our hands here, is a developer who doesn't very much care for local public opinion, or that of Lewisham's planning authority.

Chapperstee said...

Another boring modern building will take its place?

JB said...

@ robert
Why didn't you take out an injunction ...

Anonymous said...

JB - went by this morning and the building is still there - intact! As you obviously care very much for the building, you still have a chance to get off your arse and do something!
Let me sugggest: actually contacting Broc Soc via mail and offering to a) find out the current status; b) asking for advice on what action YOU can take and c) requesting that they join in your campaign to save it.

The school campaign was activley backed by parents

Steve said...

Any news on this? Is there anything we can do? Id settle for keeping the front part....

lb said...

One obvious solution would have been to keep the facade and just clear everything behind it. In some ways I'm a bit surprised the developer didn't think of this - perhaps it was just cheaper to produce the jobbing architect's bad dream they seem to be proposing at the moment.

Nearly all bad architecture is a result of cost issues rather than philistinism, by the way. Few people actually like designing these dull boxes.

Robert said...

JB.
I did contact our solicitor's to enquire what could be done. They gave us some useful advice that we passed onto the council - who have since rejected the recent Planning Application.

The result of this, I presume, is that the Developer is rushing to demolish before his previous Conservation Area Consent runs out.

Tamsin said...

@ JB Suggesting something to an amenity society short of resources (human and otherwise) is not much help. If people feel strongly they need to actually DO most or at least some of the work.

lb said...

Incidentally for anyone who has an interest the supporting documents re. the earlier application are here (largish .pdf).

It appears the DCMS declined to list the building because he inspector's report (pp.14-15) noted the Art Deco features were actually added in 1987-88, and therefore a pastiche - previously it was an unadorned modern building. The inspector also seemed to think that the previous Victorian villa was completely demolished in the 1930s when the factory was first built, although it was also commented that the original building was of no particular historic value anyway.

Obviously the developer's planning consultants picked up on this, although I'd disagree with their assessment that the replacement was a "building of quality". Anyway, I think was always going to be a difficult one to save, given its provenance, and in some ways I'm surprised Lewisham made as much effort as they did to retain it. That shows that they do at least try and support resident opinion in some cases.

Incidentally Art Deco has always been much more popular with the general public than the heritage establishment, partly as it's a style we never really grasped with any conviction. London's most interesting Art Deco building (the Firestone factory on the Great West Road) was lost 30 years ago.

Headhunter said...

What about the Hoover Building (OK it's been hollowed out and is a Tesco or something now) or Greater London House in Camden? Both fantastic examples Art Deco.

Ian on the Hill said...

I drive past it every morning and have to watch its demise. The whole back is almost gone today. Tragic.

Sod the historic interest, it was a beautiful building. How many of those are there near Lewisham Shopping Centre.

I guess what little is left will all go in the mad rush someone has for Lewisham to become Croydon.

Polstar* said...

Photos of the destruction here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_polstar/sets/72157624744067324/

very sad - very sad indeed.

Regardless of it having no historical value I could have seen this as a wonderful building to house thriving businesses and workshops.

Brockley Nick said...

Can we please stop misrepresenting Croydon. I do wonder if any of the people saying that they don't want Lewisham to become Croydon have ever been there. Its problems aren't its tall buildings per se, it's the fact that it's a city built for the car. Pedestrians are forced in to tunnels or around long diversions if they want to cross the road, the buildings are set back from the road so there is little active high street. Multi-storey car parks are given prime spots along the main road, large swathes of Croydon are given over to "out of town" shopping centres, choked with traffic all day, etc, etc.

(All the above does not apply to the area around the ELL station, which is actually OK, if scruffy).

In short, the bit of Lewisham that is afflicted with the problems of Croydon is the bit they are trying to get rid of - the roundabout system.

Anonymous said...

Nick said it, it must be right

Brockley Nick said...

Now you're learning.

Anonymous said...

said without irony, worrying...

Westsider said...

I would be happy under a BC dictatorship.

Alarm bells said...

I think it is time for some plurality in the Brockley Media Market;

Paddyom said...

Croydon looks brutal though Nick, you have to admit....

Anonymous said...

Croydon ruined because it was designed for cars?

The enviro-munging on this blog, represented as facts, beggars belief.

Headhunter said...

Absolutely. Croydon, Elephant and Castle and Lewisham station area have one thing in common, they have been ruined by dominance of motor traffic.

Anonymous said...

They're also in London, next to train stations, feature pedestrian crossings... what bollocks.

Headhunter said...

OK more than one thing in common but one of the things they have in common is that they are ruined by tremendous levels of traffic.

Brockley Nick said...

It's not an environmental argument (although of course concerns about road deaths, air pollution and CO2 emissions from cars are not to be dismissed as political correctness gone mad), it's a design argument.

You design cities for cars in preference to people, you end up with crap cities like Houston or Croydon.

The places we all like to visit are almost always the bits where cars have have the least freedom. Soho, Covent Garden (client), South Bank. The bits of central London that we don't like to visit are the bits where cars dominate, like Elephant, the north bank, Piccadilly Circus.

Part pedestrianised Trafalgar Square has become an incredible cultural focal point. Traffic bound Westminster Square is an unloved travesty.

It's not an anti-car point.

If you value being able to drive to the supermarket or park right next to your destination more than you value being able to go out for a morning stroll around town, that's fine. People value different things. But if you do like the former more than the latter, you need to admit that the consequence is places like Croydon.

Brockley Nick said...

Croydon was largely redeveloped as a car-friendly destination in the 1950s and 1960s. The Croydon 2020 plan is the Council's attempt to remedy the mistakes made at this time. Not by knocking down the tall buildings in the area, but by making Croydon more pedestrian friendly. For example:

Wellesley Road

Wellesley Road is an urban dual carriageway dominated by the 1960s underpass and subways; cutting the heart of the town in two with a north-south physical barrier that is difficult to negotiate.

The scale of the archiecture is dramatic, but pedestrians and public transport are pushed to the edges. The splitting of the town centre causes difficulties in the way central Croydon functions, with a lack of connections between major rail and bus stations, retail areas, office and cultural facilities and poor public access.

Croydon Council are examining the options for improving Croydon's environment, image and functioning including improvements for pedestrians and better access to public transport. Street-level crossings, trees, seating, lighting and kiosks, and a central pedestrian walkway are being considered.

In the proposals it is likely that Wellesley Road will remain a main route for trams, buses and cars, possibly incorporating extensions to the Tramlink network. The difference will be that these modes of transport will no longer dominate the space to the detriment of the pedestrian experience and the image of Croydon. There is also an opportunity to simplify and improve the movement of these vehicles.

Opportunities exist for improving the ground floors and frontages of the buildings along Wellesley Road, connecting more effectively with their immediate surroundings creating more activity, such as shops and caf├ęs with spill-out spaces.

[From Wikipedia entry on Croydon 2020]

Anonymous said...

it's good that Croydon has its champion, you could live there nick - even open a shop! Better than the west end surely.

Brockley Nick said...

Did you read anything I wrote?! ;)

Anonymous said...

not a word

Brockley Nick said...

Good, good. Then the research has all been worthwhile. We can have exactly the same argument in a few months' time, when you can say that suggesting that dual carriageways and roundabouts don't contribute towards a pleasant urban environment is just a matter of opinion.

Anonymous said...

yes, and no doubt you will supply the same answers, so proving that online debate has no value

Brockley Nick said...

My answers contain evidence. Read the stuff about Wellesley Road.

Yours contain... empty cynicism.

Danja said...

You missed out the "with me" in that sentence.

Danja said...

[that was to Anonymouse]

random said...

I really liked it. It seemed like something familiar in strange city.

And now it's gone...

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