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Save London’s flat-iron building!

That’s the plea from the Victorian Society, which is strongly criticising plans to demolish the former South Eastern Railway offices on Tooley Street in south London.

The proposal to demolish the distinctive office block at 64-84 Tooley Street is part of Network Rail's major redevelopment of London Bridge Station.

The station needs to expand to accommodate more through platforms and better circulation. As a result the station's Grade II-listed iron and glass train shed roof will be lost.

The dismantling of the train shed will be a major loss to London's heritage but the Society appreciates that it is unavoidable; Network Rail cannot rebuild the station and keep the train shed roof. The same cannot be said of the South Eastern Railway offices', said Chris Costelloe, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society.

The unusual brick and stone office block lies between the railway tracks and Tooley Street. The restrictive, triangular site means the building tapers to almost nothing at one end, creating a flat-iron appearance similar to the famous building on Fifth Avenue in New York. It is a landmark building in the Tooley Street Conservation Area, but under the plans it would be knocked down and replaced with a public plaza.

There is no operational need for this destruction and Network Rail's justification is unconvincing', added Mr Costelloe.  'The South Eastern Railway office is not listed but new research has revealed it to be the only surviving commercial building designed by Charles Barry Junior. To knock it down to create a wider pavement is unnecessary and wasteful'.

The Victorian Society would like to see 64-84 Tooley Street incorporated into the redeveloped station and has written to Southwark Council to urge it to refuse consent for demolition.

Thursday 8 September, 2011

More recent item: Plea to council to save historic Manchester hospital
Earlier item: Fears for the future of Colchester landmark

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