Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Ivy House PH, Peckham - EH Listing

Ivy House, Nunhead, SE15
Photo by Ewan Munro at Flickr

It was very noticeable that many of the people who retweeted the link to my Royal Albert post had previously tweeted links concerning the Ivy House PH, Stuart Road, Peckham. Although there were a couple of mentions on blogs and facebook that the pub had been listed it took a bit of time drilling into the English Heritage database to find the listing. I have therefore set out the List Entry Summary below (the original EH entry can be found here.)

Listing does not however guarantee that the building re-opens as a pub / venue. It makes it much harder for the site owners to alter the property externally, and in this case internally.

It is important that people keep an eye on the premises, ensuring that the property is secure and that there are no build ups of rubbish etc. The listing mentions some of the bands that played there in the 1970s, when it was still the Newlands Tavern, but there must still  be people around who went to dances or other entertainments in the 50s or 60s. Grandad's tales of the 1950s might not seem that exciting to you, but building up a broader picture of the Pub's history all helps in protecting its future - so if one or more of your grandparents went there: get the story written down and share it in the comments box below or on the facebook page Save the Ivy House. If you can afford the books mentioned at the bottom of the listing, then buy them. If you have copies of reviews of or advertisements for gigs at the Newlands, then scan them and upload them to facebook, or email them to me.

Efforts are being made to re-open the pub as some sort of community enterprise and updates are appearing on the facebook page. (I note that there is a link to the listing on that fb page, but I did miss it before) I will have a dig around in census returns and Victorian newspapers to see if I can establish when the pub was originally built, who ran it and worked there and if anything notable happened. I will share that at a future date.

South London Press interview with Reg and Sue Fentiman, who ran the pub when Graham Parker, Ian Dury et al played there in the 1970s: here

Peckham Rye Labour - ward councillors blog with mentions of the Ivy House: here, here and here.

Transpontine: Save the Ivy House

South East Central: The Ivy House Closing


List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

Name: The Ivy House public house

List Entry Number: 1408530

Location: The Ivy House, 40 Stuart Road, Nunhead, London, SE15 3BE

County: Greater London Authority
District: Southwark
District Type: London Borough

Grade: II
Date first listed: 20-Apr-2012

List Entry Description

Summary of Building

Public house. 1930s designed by AE Sewell for Truman's Brewery.

Reasons for Designation

The Ivy House, formerly the Newlands Tavern, 40 Stuart Road, Nunhead, a 1930s public house designed by AE Sewell is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
  • Degree of survival: an unusually high level of surviving original features and fittings form a largely complete1930s interior, now relatively rare, which illustrates the style, layout and features once typical of a suburban 'improved' pub;
  • Interior interest: wide range of good quality fittings on a consistent architectural theme including signage, fireplaces, bar counters and screens, tiled spittoon troughs, wooden panelling, coloured glazing, decorative plaster plaques, and hall with stage and Jacobethan style refreshment room;
  • Architectural interest: designed for a major brewery by a notable pub architect with a smart neo-Georgian frontage and idiosyncratic detailing.


The original pub on this site, the Newlands Tavern, was apparently built in the late 1870s or early 1880s and is first shown on the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey map from 1898. This was a two-storey building with a courtyard to the rear. In the 1930s, the owners, Truman, Hanbury, Buxton and Co, rebuilt the building, most likely to plans by their in-house architect AE Sewell who was responsible for numerous Truman’s pubs built or remodelled in the inter-war period. The lease the brewery signed with Edgar William Rhodes in 1922 expired in 1936 so it may be that the pub was rebuilt then. The pub was originally adjoined to the east by a parade of shops which was destroyed by a V1 flying-bomb in July 1944. During the ‘pub-rock’ boom of the mid-1970s, the Newlands Tavern was one of the major pub venues in South London and hosted early incarnations of many bands and performers who later rose to fame including Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, Joe Strummer and Dr Feelgood. The pub was later renamed the Stuart Arms before becoming The Ivy House.


MATERIALS: mixed red and brown brick in Flemish bond with concrete or Portland Stone dressings with an overhanging, hipped tile roof to the central block and flat roofs with parapets to the wings.

EXTERIOR: designed in a neo-Georgian style, the building has a symmetrical front elevation of five bays, consisting of a three bay, three-storey, central block flanked by slightly projecting single bay, two-storey wings. To the rear a single-storey range contains the rear bar/refreshment room and the hall. On the front elevation the upper floors have horned sash windows with glazing bars in square openings. The first-floor windows have gauged brick arches, except for the central window which is set in a taller semi-circular headed arch with scallop decoration in the tympanum. The lintels of the second-floor windows are formed by the continuous broad concrete cornice. The large windows in the end bays of the ground floor are treated differently with irregular quoins and broad heads bearing plaques with the Truman logo continuous with a broad platband. The pair of entrances adjoining these bays have timber frames topped by square plaques, supported by volutes and bearing carriage lamps, and are surrounded by glazed screens. The rear of the building with its assortment of flat roofs has a mixture of original sash windows and uPVC replacements.

INTERIOR: consists of two front bars (the western bar has been converted to staff accommodation), the eastern bar giving access to a large hall to the rear. Adjoining this to the west is a rear bar which would originally have been a refreshment room. All three bars and the hall were served from a central service area and kitchen. The eastern front bar (originally the saloon bar) retains its dado height panelling, glazed entrance lobby, moulded stone fire surround, glazed multi-pane screen to the hall and original bench seating. The cornice of the panelling bears original incised gold lettering bearing the legends ‘BURTON – TRUMANS – LONDON’ over the fireplace, ‘BEN TRUMAN’ over the entrance to the men’s toilets, ‘IMPERIAL STOUT’,’ BURTON BREWED BITTER’ and ‘TRUBROWN ALE’ over the hall screen, and ‘TRUMANS EAGLE ALES’ near the front entrance). The curved bar counter is original and has the brown and white chequered tile spittoon trough which was a feature of 1930s Truman’s pubs. The panels over the bar counter are probably original but the bar back is modern. The men’s toilet retains its original white tiling.

The large hall is also panelled to dado height and has a stage at the northern end. This appears to retain its proscenium arch beneath later stage dressings. The hall has an original stone fire surround, bar counter with chequered tile spittoon trough, glazed double entrance doors from the front bar and recessed double doors to the refreshment room with an Art Deco style surround.

The refreshment room/rear bar is decorated in a Jacobethan style with a timbered ceiling and decorative painted plaster plaques, animals, birds and ships above dado height panelling. These bear a resemblance to the plaster decoration on the exterior of the Railway Hotel, Edgware by the same architect. The room has an inglenook in the west wall with a stone fire surround, built-in settles (one having lost its arm rest) and pair of windows with a coloured glass chevron design. The north wall has a large multi-pane arched window with some original coloured glass and an exit to the rear courtyard. The bar is original with a glazed screen above at either end, again with a chevron design in coloured glass.

The western front bar has been converted to accommodation and partitioned, probably to enlarge the adjoining women’s toilet, with the consequent loss of the bar counter. To judge from the simple fireplace, this was originally the public bar and it retains some other original features such as the coloured glazing in the metal windows, cornice and picture rail but is otherwise altered. The upper floors were not inspected, but are understood to consist solely of modernized staff accommodation, and therefore unlikely to be of special interest.

Selected Sources

Book  Reference - Author: G Brandwood and J Jephcote - Title: London Heritage Pubs: an Inside Story - Date: 2008 - Page References: 49-50
Book  Reference - Author: Geoff Brandwood, Andrew Davison and Michael Slaughter - Title: Licensed To Sell: The History and Heritage of the Public House - Date: 2011
Article  Reference - Title: Iconic Pub hit right note - Date: 15 November 2011 - Journal Title: South London Press

National Grid Reference: TQ3542675046

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Royal Albert PH

The Royal Albert pub has stood on the corner of New Cross Road and Florence Road for over 160 years.

The first recorded mention of the Royal Albert Public House was when Frederick Andrew Hall was granted a license for the premises on 6th September 1848. On the 1851 census Mr Hall is described as a Master Bricklayer aged 47, born in Plumstead employing 10 men; his wife Elizabeth aged 60 was born in Rotherhithe. Three children Betsey 36 , Harriet 23 and George 20 (a Carpenter) are listed along with Ostler John Dickenson 22 and Pot Boy George Runham 14. Apart from Betsey who was born in Rotherhithe (presumeably Elizabeth's daughter by a previous marriage) they were all shown as born in Deptford.

The pub appears to have been successful and financialy lucrative. A Masonic Lodge (172, Justice) regularly met at the pub, and from 1857 Frederick Hall appeared in a list of bank shareholders. In 1859 Frederick sold the pub to George Roe and Frederick & Elizabeth moved to Dovedale Villa, East Wickham, Kent.

On Thursday 14th July 1859 Mrs Frances Bartlett, 35, of Florence Terrace committed suicide by cutting her own throat. The County Coroner, Mr Charles Carttar convened the inquest in the pub two days later. The inquest was told that the deceased 'had been labouring under some mental affliction' and that razors had been found in her dress. The jury returned a verdict of "Sucide under temporary insanity".

George Roe was an experienced publican in his mid 30s who had previously run the Horns Tavern, Knight's Hill Road, West Norwood. George was also a supporter of the Licensed Victuallers Asylum in Camberwell.

The 1861 census entry for the Royal Albert shows George, 38, born Leicester, Licensed Victualler, his wife Harriet, 37, born Brompton, Middlesex and their daughter Emma Harriet, 9, born Norwood. A 16 year old cousin Emily Rowland, born Brompton was a barmaid. Scottish born 22 year old Mary Lincoln was a visitor and Henry Gutteridge, 38, born Leicester was the Potman.

On 20th Dec 1862 Joseph Whitehead and others stole a cash box from Holland's Distillery. William Betts the Royal Albert's potman gave evidence at the Old Bailey on 5th January 1863 identifying Whitehead as one of four men who had been in the Royal Albert that afternoon.

On 30th July 1863 George Roe died at the Royal Albert and subsequently on 17th September 1863 the following advertisement appeared in 'The Times'

Very desirable Public-house and Wine Vaults, New Cross Road, Deptford

MESSRS WARLTERS and LOVEJOY are instructed by the Executors to SELL by AUCTION, at Garraways, on Tuesday, the 22nd of September, at 12, a LEASE for 64 years, at a rent of £72 per annum, of the ROYAL ALBERT, at the corner of Florence Road, New Cross Road. The house is conveniently arranged and is situate to command the trade of a very improving neighbourhood. The lessor covenants there shall be no other licensed house or beershop upon his estate, except one already established. May be viewed. Particulars obtained of Benjamin Beanlands, Esq., No 4 Raymond Buildings, Gray's Inn: at Garraway's; and of the auctioneers, 55 Chancery Lane.

Tiling in the old Public Bar entrance

We do not know who purchased the pub in 1863 as it was back on the market in 1869:
Royal Albert, New Cross Road, an excellent Wine and Spirit Establishment, most advantageously placed for business, on a road of immense traffic.

MESSRS LOUND and STRANSOM have received instructions from the Proprietor to SELL by AUCTION at Garraway's, Change Alley, Cornhill, on Wednesday, Aug 25 1869 at 12 (unless disposed of by private treaty), the valuable long LEASE, with posession, of a capital WINE and SPIRIT ESTABLISHMENT, well known as the Royal Albert, commandingly situate at the corner of Florence Road and New Cross Road, a populous and daily improving district, also in the vicinity of of several railway stations. Also a House and Shop adjoining of the estimated value of £45 per annum, and a Frontage to the Florence Road, suitable for three dwelling house. The whole property is held for nearly 60 years at the low rent of £72 per annum. May be viewed, and particulars obtained of Mr T W Flavell, solicitor, 21 Bedford Row; at Garraway's; and of the auctioneers, 60 Chancery Lane. (The Times Friday 20 Aug 1869)

The 1871 Census shows Louis Freehant, 60, Widower as a Public House Proprietor and Charles Chalk, 56, Married as the Proprietor's Foreman both born Middlesex, London.

In the early hours of the morning of 19th February 1875 landlord William Henry Willson was woken by a noise downstairs. He went down to find PC Charles Runnegar struggling with a man called William Howard. Howard had climbed up and forced the window of the first floor billiard room, before stealing loose change, but was caught red-handed by the PC. An accomplice, George Montagu, who got away on the night was stupid enough to turn upwhen Howard appeared at court, and was recognised by the PC. At the Old Bailey on 5th April 1875 Howard pleaded guilty, and Montague was found guilty by the jury.

One of two panels of tiling at the side of the pub

1881 Census

Elizabeth Houleston     Widower 49    Devon, Housekeeper
Annie Foster         Single 21    Marylebone, Barmaid
Kate Blay         Single 21    Iffley, Oxfordshire - Domestic Servant
Mary Ann E. Tagg     Single 21    Stepney - Barmaid

On 13 June 1884 Edmond Weever, originally from Wolverhampton living at Barnes Terrace in Deptford, was drinking in the Royal Albert when William Simpson (21) and William Leighton (27) got talking to him, they then went to another pub and then alledgedly robbed him. Annie Foster gave evidence at the Old Bailey on 23 June (both acquitted)

On 31 Oct 1884 Robert Holt used a counterfeit florin to buy twopennyworth of rum at the South-Eastern Distillery, but quickly fled with the change. At the Royal Albert, Mary Empson, daughter of Landlord James Empson served him a few minutes later, but quickly realised the coin was a dud. Holt again fled but only to be caught by Alfred King the Potman from the Distillery. Mary gave evidence at the Old Bailey on 17 Nov 1884.

Yorkshire born landlord James Empson died 9th Nov 1886 at the pub aged 75. Empson had previously been the landlord of the Fisherman's Arms, Cold Bath, Greenwich and left a substantial estate.

At 1.25am on 8th Sept 1889 there was a fracas in New Cross Road and subsequently Charles Morris took out a summons against PC Thomas Fahey for assault. Mr Prevost, lanlord of the Royal Albert, gave evidence for the defence. PC Fahey was acquitted, but costs were refused. William James Prevost was born in Hoxton in 1860, his father also William ran the Queens Head, 178 Hoxton Street. The 1891 census shows William, wife Isabella, 31, son William Albert Herbert Prevost, 6, all born Hoxton / Kingsland. Also shown were Barmen Charles Henry Howe, 23, born Westminster and Sydney James Stevens, 21, born Poplar. The Potman was Frederick Miller,22, from Oxford; the Cook Mary Kadwell, 28, and the Nurse Helen Wilde, 20, were both from Deptford  

The Royal Albert's final appearance in the Proceedings of the Old Bailey was a brief passing mention in the trial of John & Samuel Milligan and George Milligan for attempted murder.

The 1901 & 1911 censuses both show managers living at the pub, presumeably it had been bought by a brewer.

1901 Census

Francis M Truelove    Head M    46 Manager (PH) London, Peckham
Edgar A Edwards     Serv S  19 Barman          ---"---
Albert H Phillips     Serv S  24 Barman       London, Dalston
Ada E Arber         Serv S  24 Housekeeper  London, Kingsland
Jessie M Latimer     Serv S  19 Barmaid    London, Bermondsey
Adelaide R Fassnidge    Serv S     19 Barmaid    London, Brixton
Harriett A Ealey     Serv S  25 Cook, domestic Kent, Sittingbourne

Francis Truelove was the son of Michael Truelove who had been the landlord of the Hanover Arms PH at Peckham Rye.

1911 census

Elizabeth Hallahan,Manageress, 44, Widow  London, Lambeth
Minnie Beavis      |Barmaid, 22, Single London, Hoxton 
Amy Beavin Barmaid    20, Single, London, Islington
Bertram Major, Headman, 30, Single, New Cross
Arthur Argyle, Potman, 25, Single, Tunbridge Wells

to be continued...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

BT - Trying It On

Walking up Deptford High Street on Saturday I chanced upon a LB Lewisham conservation area planning notice tied to a lampost near the junction with Giffin Street. The notice relates to advertising consent for the vinyl advert on the phonebox that is currently behind the metal fences surrounding Giffin Square. Such advertisements have been an irritation since they first appeared, but despite government proposals years ago to regulate them it was not until late last year that the rules were changed and BT now need consent for them in conservation areas.

The following day I took a closer look at the phone boxes in the High Street. In the phone box outside 12 Deptford High Street I found the notice (above) for 201 Brockley Road and in the phone box outside 76 Deptford High Street I found the notice for 141 New Cross Road. This means that even if there are notices up in Brockley Road and New Cross Road they do not have the right application numbers. Furthermore by putting the notices inside the phone boxes, behind dirty plastic, they are unlikely to be noticed by passers by. Such notices are normally displayed in the windows or buildings they relate to, or are affixed to nearby lampposts.

The notices were not properly displyed, but then BT's attitude to the planning system became even clearer when I started looking at the planning applications on the Lewisham website. In relation to Brockley Road, New Cross Road and Deptford High Street BT had removed adverts before photographing telephone boxes (see BT photo of o/s 12 Deptford High Street above) and then falsified the application forms (below) by denying that advertisements were already in place.

What makes the behaviour all the more bizarre is that a duplicated letter submitted with all the applications admits "The existing application at the kiosk has existed for many years...".
Google Streetview also gives the game away.
201 Brockley Road
141 New Cross Road
12 Deptford High Street

Of the applications I have looked at so far, only the one relating to the phonebox opposite 115 Deptford High Street admits to being retrospective, presumeably because BT could not get to it to remove the advertisement.

There are fewer telephone boxes in the High Street than there were 10 years ago, but there are still far more than there were 25 years ago. Fewer people use public telephones now than in years gone by. It must be asked whether they perform any real telecommunications function or whether their primary purpose is as advertising hoardings. Such grotty vinyl adverts neither enhance nor improve the Deptford High Street, or any other, conservation area.

The closing date for objections is supposed to be tomorrow, 19th April, but given the failure to properly advertise the applications I cannot see LB Lewisham hurrying to decide them. Objections can be made to , the planner dealing with the application is Diane Verona.

The reference numbers for the Deptford High Street applications are:
outside 12: DC/12/79784/X
outside 53: DC/12/79787/X
outside 76: DC/12/79789/X
opposite 115: DC/12/79782/X
outside 195: DC/12/79779/X
outside 218-220 DC/12/79793/X

141 New Cross Road: DC/12/79794
201 Brockley Road: DC/12/79795

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thames Sewer Tunnel: Raynsford wades in

On Tuesday, I posted that Boris Johnson had written to Richard Aylard, Thames Water's External Affairs and Sustainability Director, calling for a re-examination of the proposed siting of works at Deptford Church Street, and four other aspects of the Thames Tunnel project.

What Boris said was:

"This site is adjacent to a school and on one of the few open spaces in this deprived area of London. The site will also impact on a busy section of the road network which is also an important bus route. I think there is more scope for alternative sites in this area, including the options examined in the first phase of consultation and again I urge you to search for a site that has lower impact."

It is notable that although Boris says that the previously preferred option of Borthwick Wharf should be looked at again, it is only in the context of suggesting that Thames should look again at alternative sites. By contrast Nick Raynsford has no qualms whatsoever about pronouncing that Deptford Church Street would be a far less disruptive site. Raynsford goes on to claim that 'thousands of residents' would be adversly affected if the Borthwick Wharf site was used and talks about 'heavy lorry movements along narrow roads'. There is a clue in the word 'wharf'. If the works were sited at Borthwick Wharf, or elsewhere on the river, then spoil can be taken out by river not by road as will happen if Deptford Church Street is used.


"Nick Raynsford slams Boris Johnson's meddling in the Thames Tunnel Scheme
Nick Raynsford, Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, has today slammed London Mayor Boris Johnson’s attempts to intervene in the Thames Tunnel scheme and put thousands of local residents at risk of years of disruptive building works, danger and noise.

Nick was responding to news that Boris Johnson has written to Thames Water to call on them to look again at the Borthwick Wharf site as part of the Thames Tunnel sewer overflow scheme. This is despite Thames Water having already decided the site was unsuitable. Together with local Labour Councillors, Nick Raynsford last year organised a public meeting with Thames Water representatives. The meeting was very well attended by local residents, all of whom expressed serious concerns about the scheme, in particular safety risks from heavy lorry movements along narrow roads in a predominantly residential area. They also highlighted the disruption to the Ahoy Centre, a charity offering sailing and river-related activities to disadvantaged and disabled youngsters, as well as the encroachment into the River Thames.

In response, Thames Water dismissed using Borthwick Wharf and confirmed an alternative site for its scheme, which would be far less disruptive. Now Boris wants Thames Water to reconsider its decision, despite public opposition and concerns about safety.

Nick has written to all local residents warning them of the new threat to their area, and has written to Boris Johnson and Thames Water to protest in the strongest terms about the Mayor’s irresponsible intervention.

Nick said, “The fact that the Mayor has intervened to try to reverse this process is shocking in itself. But to have acted in this way without any attempt to consult the thousands of local residents who will be adversely affected, or their local representatives, is frankly inexcusable. I have urged Thames Water to not abandon the alternative site, and have called on Boris Johnson to immediately withdraw his ill-advised comments and to come to Borthwick Wharf to apologise to the local community”.

UPDATE: Saturday 14 Apr 2012

In response to the comment by 'cleanthames' below:

To save others the misery of navigating your, quite frankly dire, website I can summarize your short term solution as a "bubbler system fixed on the riverbed which mitigates oxygen sags supported by real time water quality monitoring so mobile bubbler boats can be deployed" and your mid-term solution as Sustainable Urban Drainage.

If you think that Oxygen Sags are the problem that the Thames Tunnel is designed to deal with then you completely misunderstand the project and the reasons for it. The problem is that the Thames fills with sewage when it rains heavily, oxygenating the sewage, as you propose, may save a few fish from dying, but does nothing to reduce the health risk to rowers and others who live and work on the river. We need to stop sewage going into the river.

We already have a system of automatic monitoring stations that alert the Environment Agency when there is a decline in dissolved oxygen levels and, if required, prompts the deployment of Thames Water’s oxygenation vessels, the “Thames Bubbler” and the “Thames Vitality”, to add oxygen to the water. The oxygenation vessels have been operating for many years. See the following links:

Dissolved oxygen levels in the Tideway

In 2002 the Mayor of London proposed tough requirements for Sustainable Urban Drainage in the draft London Plan. At the Examination in Public that was held in 2003 the Mayor's planning policy staff ran into problems because nobody actively opposed SUDs and the planning inspectors did not know enough about the subject to play devil's advocate. The eventual policy was aspirational, but lacked real teeth:

London Plan Policy 4C.8 Sustainable drainage
The Mayor will, and boroughs should, seek to ensure that surface water run-off
is managed as close to its source as possible. The use of sustainable urban
drainage systems should be promoted for development unless there are practical
reasons for not doing so. Such reasons may include the local ground conditions
or density of development. In such cases, the developer should seek to manage
as much run-off as possible on site and explore sustainable methods of
managing the remainder as close as possible to the site.

(At least I succeeded in articulating the arguments at the Examination in Public as to why, what became Chapter 4C 'Blue Ribbon Network' should be an integral part of the Plan, rather than a separate document.)

In 2005 the London Assembly's Environment Committee produced a report:
Crazy Paving: The environmental importance of London’s front gardens

Crazy Paving highlighted "the contribution to the capital’s drainage problems that is made by run-off from paved over front gardens,"

In 2008 the government amended the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (GPDO) to the effect that planning permission would be required to provide a hard surface within the curtilage of a dwelling house. Sadly there is considerable variation between local planning authorities in London, and elsewhere in the Thames catchment as to the extent to which enforcement action is taken when unauthorised paving over of a garden with non-permeable surfaces takes place.

Your assertion that "If the 14m households due to be taxed £80 p.a. for the Tunnel were asked to spend it on SuDS instead, they would see direct benefits and deliver a safer future for everyone." is truly fantastic nonsense. All over the Thames catchment area people continue to tarmac over their front gardens. Furthermore, many boroughs continue to see drainage as somebody else's problem and continue to permit major developments with hard surfaces that contribute to run-off. Perhaps one of the worst examples is General Gordon Square in Woolwich where Greenwich Council granted permission to Greenwich Council to redo the square with hard impermeable surfacing.

Sustainable Urban Drainage is a very long-term solution that requires the education of town planners and councillors before it has any impact on the problem of run-off.

As for 'capex bias', I can only presume that you are under the extraordinary misapprehension that you are somehow being clever in using such an arcane term. The issue of capital expenditure bias by water and water and sewerage companies, particularly in seeking to build new resevoirs rather than deal with leaks in the distribution system, is hardly new and has been considered by Ofwat and others over many years.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tower Hamlets - The Soap Opera continues

Here in sunny Deptford, where the results of elections are decided weeks or months beforehand by anonymous Labour Party committees, it is easy to forget that just across the river people might not know the result of an election until after it has happened. The Labour Party in Tower Hamlets is in a permanent civil war, with a breakaway independent as Mayor alongside ongoing infighting amongst those still, on paper, members of the Labour Group.

The Adjudication Panel for England has published its written reasons for upholding the decision of London Borough of Tower Hamlets Standards Committee in finding that former council leader and failed mayoral candidate Cllr Helal Abbas had behaved in a manner likely to bring his office and the council into disrepute by disclosing confidential information to a third party regarding a council officer in September 2010. The panel also upheld the committee's decision to suspend Abbas for one week, that he be censured and that he make a written apology.

Cllr Abbas now has 28 days in which he can apply to the Adjudication Panel for permission to appeal.

I have set out the adjudication in full below, but if you wish to print it then I would suggest that you download the official version here. (ms word doc)

Abbas is a councillor in Spitalfields and Baglatown ward, where a by-election is to take place on Thursday 19 April 2012 following the jailing of Shelina Akhtar for benefit fraud.


GENERAL REGULATORY CHAMBER (Local Government Standards in England)

Standards Committee of: London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Decision Notice No: ASC 01/2011
Dated: 6 December 2011

APPELLANT: Councillor Helal Abbas of London Borough of Tower Hamlets
RESPONDENT:London Borough of Tower Hamlets Standards Committee

DATE OF HEARING:27 March 2012
(Determined on the papers)


Judge: Sally Lister
Member: Richard Boyd OBE DL
Member: Trevor Jex

Subject matter: Appeal by a member of a local authority against a Standards Committee decision

Cases cited:
Livingston v Steven Kingston [2005] EWHC 1145 (Admin)
Mullaney v Adjudication Panel for England [2009] EWHC 72 (Admin)
MC v Standards Committee of the London Borough of Richmond [2011] UKHT 232 (ACC)

GENERAL REGULATORY CHAMBER (Local Government Standards in England)


The appeal has been refused and the decision of the Standards Committee has been upheld


1. The Tribunal has considered an appeal by the Appellant.

2. The Appellant had appealed against the Standards Committee’s finding that he failed to follow paragraphs
3.3(b) and 3.4(b) of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets’ Code of Conduct by disclosing confidential information to a third party regarding a council officer in September 2010 and against its determination to suspend him for one week, that he be censured and that he make a written apology.

3. The Tribunal considered written evidence and submissions on behalf of the Standards Committee and the Appellant. It was satisfied that the appeal may appropriately be determined by way of written representations.

Findings of Fact
4. The burden of proof in respect of disputed facts rests on the Standards Committee of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and the standard of proof is on a balance of probabilities.

5. In this appeal there is little material factual dispute. The principal area of dispute was whether the Appellant was acting in his official capacity when he wrote to the General Secretary of the Labour Party about the selection process of the elected Mayoral candidates of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The correspondence contained a statement which disclosed confidential information regarding disciplinary proceedings involving a council officer.

6. The Appellant was the councillor for the ward of Spitalfields and Banglatown in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (“the Council”) and had been a councillor on and off for of 14 years.

7. The Appellant was the Labour Party candidate for Mayor of the Council in October 2010.

8. The selection of the Labour Party candidate for Mayor of the Council had been contentious. On 4 September 2010 the Labour Party selected Lutfur Rahman, another councillor as the chosen Labour Party candidate for Mayor. It was the Appellant’s view that the selection should be set aside and he instructed solicitors, Messrs Hickman & Rose to assist him with this.

9. A letter was written headed “Urgent – Letter Before Claim” which was said to comply with the Practice Direction on Pre-action conduct and a statement, signed by the Appellant on 17 September 2010, were sent to the General Secretary of the Labour Party in support of the Appellant’s submission that the Labour Party should set aside the result of the election to select Mr Rahman as the Labour Party candidate for Mayor.

10. Following receipt of the letter and the Appellant’s statement, Mr Rahman’s selection was set aside and the Appellant was then selected as the Labour Party’s candidate.

11. In the Appellant’s statement to the Labour Party, he stated at paragraph 1, “I am leader of Tower Hamlets Council”. In paragraphs 12 the Appellant stated that a Mr Hira Islam, an officer of the Council, “….should not be interfering with the political process “ and at paragraph 24 he stated, “Hira Islam, whom I have mentioned before, is a prominent member [of the IFE] and it was he who was driving Luthfur Rahman around to visit other councillors to make offers of political position. Hira Islam is currently undergoing disciplinary proceedings for bringing his office into disrepute”.

12. The Appellant had made a complaint to the Council’s Chief Executive in May 2010 about Mr Islam’s presence at a polling station and his involvement in the local and general election. That matter had been the subject of disciplinary proceedings but which had been concluded in July 2010, in accordance with the Council’s disciplinary processes.

13. At the time the Appellant signed his statement Mr Islam was not subject to any disciplinary proceedings regarding his conduct.

14. The Code of Conduct and the Member/Officer Protocol of the Council, which forms part of the Council’s constitution, requires Members to keep employee matters confidential and therefore disciplinary proceeding against employees of the Council are treated as confidential. The Council’s constitution states:
“…Confidential or exempt information provided to Members may be discussed in Part II Committee meetings or in private meetings of appropriate Members and Officers. However, it should not be discussed with, or released to any other persons.”

Relevant Provisions of the Code of Conduct
15. Paragraph 2 of the Code of Conduct provides :
(1) Subject to sub-paragraphs (2) to (5), you must comply with this Code whenever you:- (a) conduct the business of your authority ( which, in this Code, includes the business of the office to which you are elected or appointed); or (b) act, claim to act or give the impression you are acting as a representative of your authority, and references to your official capacity are construed accordingly. (2) Subject to sub-paragraph (3) and (4) this Code does not have effect in relation to your conduct other than where it is in your official capacity.

16. Paragraph 3.3(b) of the Council’s Code provides:
“Not to disclose information given in confidence by anyone or information acquired which he or she believes or ought reasonably to be aware, is of a confidential nature”

17. Paragraph 3.4 of the Council’s Code provides:
“Not to conduct him or herself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing his or her office into disrepute.”

Findings as to whether the Appellant failed to follow the Code of Conduct
18. Three matters fall for determination on the basis of the facts as found:

18.1. whether in writing to the General Secretary of the Labour Party about the selection process of the Labour Mayoral candidate for the Council, the Appellant was acting in an official capacity; and if so.

18.2. Whether the Appellant disclosed information given in confidence or information acquired which he believed or ought reasonably to be aware is of a confidential nature and/or.

18.3. Whether the Appellant had conducted himself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing his office into disrepute.

Official Capacity
Appellant’s submissions
19. The Appellant appealed on the ground that he was not acting in his official capacity when he wrote to the General Secretary of the Labour Party. The statement complained of was part of a complaint to the Executive of the Labour Party about the party’s own internal election process for candidates. Therefore it cannot be said that he was performing any of the functions of a councillor and was not claiming to act as a representative of the authority and so the Council’s Code of Conduct was not engaged.

20. In summary, the Appellant asserted that it was clear from the Letter before Claim and the statement that neither document was intended for disclosure to anyone apart from the recipient and the NEC of the Labour Party. The statement complained of was part of a complaint to the Labour Party NEC about the party’s own internal election process for candidate. The letter and statement was not concerned with the actual election of the Mayor but the selection by the Party for their official candidate. The letter clearly indicates that the Appellant was deeply concerned about the damage that, what he perceived as the ‘serious manipulation of the electoral processes’ would cause both to the reputation of the Party and the integrity of the electoral process in Tower Hamlets. It is a letter wholly concerned with both local and national Labour Party matters. By referring to himself in his statement as “the leader of Tower Hamlets”, he was merely making a statement of the function he carried out in his working life. The Appellant in making his disclosure to the General Secretary was acting not as a councillor but as a political individual.

Respondent’s submissions
21. In summary the Respondent did not think that this was a matter of internal Labour Party politics. The Appellant was the leader of the Council at the time and was responsible for a number of executive matters. His position as Leader of the Council was set out in the statement. The statement contained information about a council employee which had been acquired as a result of his position as a councillor and Leader of the Council and not as a result of non-council action. The statement contained detailed information about the officer’s employment relationship with the Council. The Appellant would have been aware of this information in the course of his involvement as a councillor and had raised the complaint against the officer in that capacity. The statement and issues before the General Secretary concerned jockeying for position in the Council as elected Mayor.

Tribunal’s findings – Official Capacity
22. Part III of the Local Government Act 2000 sets out the legislative framework which governs the conduct of local authority councillors in England. From the terms of the 2000 Act and its legislative history it is well understood that the purpose of the legislation is to promote and uphold proper standards of conduct in public life. Section 52 of the 2000 Act requires a member or co-opted member of a relevant authority (of which the London Borough of Tower Hamlets is one) to give a written undertaking that in performing his functions he will observe the authority’s Code of Conduct. The key question therefore before the Tribunal was whether the Appellant’s action, in choosing to disclose information that had been obtained in confidence as a councillor was action taken in the furtherance of his office as a councillor and therefore whether his actions fell within the scope of the Code of Conduct.

23. Paragraph 2 of the Code of Conduct provides :
(1) Subject to sub-paragraphs (2) to (5), you must comply with this Code whenever you:-
(a) conduct the business of your authority ( which, in this Code, includes the business of the office to which you are elected or appointed); or
(b) act, claim to act or give the impression you are acting as a representative of your authority, and references to your official capacity are construed accordingly.
(2) Subject to sub-paragraph (3) and (4) this Code does not have effect in relation to your conduct other than where it is in your official capacity.

24. In the case of Livingston v Adjudication Panel for England [2006] EWHC 2533, Mr Justice Collins considered the scope of the 2001 model Code of Conduct, which has since been replaced by the 2007 model Code. Some paragraphs of the 2001 model Code applied when a councillor was acting in their official capacity or “in any other circumstance” and therefore consideration was given to what conduct fell within the scope of the Code of Conduct. Mr Justice Collins stated at paragraphs 27 to 29:

“Conduct which is regarded as improper and meriting some possible sanction will often be constituted by misuse of a councillor’s position. He may be purporting to perform his functions if, for example, he seeks to obtain an advantage by misusing his position as a councillor. Such misuse may not amount to corruption; it may nonetheless be seen not only to be improper but to reflect badly on the office itself. If the words “in performing his functions” are applied literally, it may be said that such misuse, and other misconduct which is closely linked to his position as such may not be covered.

It follows that conduct which is outside his official capacity can be covered by the words in s.52 and so can properly be within the Code of Conduct. Accordingly, I do not think that the words “or any other circumstance” can mean that the Model code is to that extent ultra vires. That phrase must receive a narrow construction so that any other circumstance will not extend to conduct beyond that which is properly to be regarded as falling within the phrase “in performing his functions.” Thus where a member is not acting in his official capacity (an official capacity will include anything done in dealing with staff, when representing the council, in dealing with constituents’ problems and so on), he will still be covered by the Code if he misuses his position as a member. That link with his membership of the authority in question is in my view needed. This approach is very similar to that adopted in Scotland and in my judgment accords with the purpose of the Act and the limitations that are appropriate. It is important to bear in mind that the electorate will exercise its judgment in considering whether what might be regarded as reprehensible conduct in a member’s private life should bring his membership to an end in due course. Equally, it is important that the flamboyant, the eccentric, the positively committed – one who is labelled in the somewhat old fashioned terminology, a character – should not be subjected to a Code of Conduct which covers his behaviour when not performing his functions as a member of a relevant authority.

It seems to me that unlawful conduct is not necessarily covered. Thus a councillor who shoplifts or is guilty of drunken driving will not if my construction be followed be caught by the Code if the offending had nothing to do with his position as a councillor. Section 80 of the Local Government Act 1972 provides for disqualification for election to a local authority of those who have within 5 years before the date of election been convicted of any offence which has resulted in a sentence of 3 months imprisonment (whether or not suspended) or more. Parliament could for example have provided that conviction of any offence carrying imprisonment whatever the sentence should lead to consideration of some punitive action by the Standards Board. It seems to me that if its is thought appropriate to subject a member of a local authority to a code which extends to conduct in his private life, Parliament should spell out what is to be covered.”

25. In MC v Standards Committee of LB Richmond [2011] UKUT 232 (AAC) the Upper Tribunal considered an appeal against the refusal of permission to appeal from a Standards Committee. The principal issue was whether the Principal Judge had erred in his approach to the issue of official capacity under the 2007 Code by applying the dicta of Collins J in Livingstone too rigidly and as binding on him. The Upper Tribunal held that the dicta in paragraph 28 of that judgement were not binding authority for the proposition that “official capacity” will include anything done in dealing with staff, when representing the council or in dealing with constituents’ problems and so on, because that is not the issue Collins J had to decide. In deciding whether the Principal Judge’s error was material, the Upper Tribunal held at paragraphs 35 and 36:

“The Model Code now in use was issued after, and so with knowledge of, the judgment in Livingstone. It should be taken to have drawn the line which it now does advisedly, having regard to that decision, under the principle in Barras v Aberdeen Sea Trawling and Fishing Co Ltd [1933] AC 402 at 411. Under Livingstone matters which were not within official capacity, but which involved the misuse of a member’s position, were within “any other circumstance”. A materially identical formulation as to “official capacity” in the 2007 Code carries with it the same limitation….

The test under para 2(1)(a) is accordingly whether ……the Appellant was, as a matter of ordinary English, (actually) conducting the business of his authority, including the business of the office of councillor to which he had been elected? This requires a fact-sensitive approach: see Mullaney. If it was said to be part of the business of the authority to make or receive complaints in relation to what officers were doing in their private capacity (in one case prior to taking up a post with the council), I am unable to discern compelling evidence for such a view. However, what about the business of his office as councillor? Merely because the appellant was asserting he would use routes open to members but not to others does not of itself provide an answer to this question: the same might well be true of those whose conduct would, on the Livingstone test, only have fallen within “any other circumstance” under the 2001 Code…

That para 2(1)(a) of the 2007 Code should be interpreted in this way is in my view further confirmed by the introduction of para 2(1)(b), which, in its reference to “act, claim to act or give the impression you are acting” does not have a direct equivalent in the 2001 Code. It is only through the introduction of para 2(1)(b) that Ms Dehon’s submission that the 2007 Code broadened out the scope of “official capacity” is correct. The concepts behind, and scope of, para 2(1)(a) remained unaltered for the reasons given at para 35 above.
Ms Dehon sought to rely on a “reasonable observer” test. This is derived, I believe, from the First-tier Tribunal’s decision in Sharratt…but is in my view not a correct reading of that decision. In any event, whether a person is or is not within para 2(1)(a) of the Code is a matter for objective determination. Questions of appearance are relevant, if at all, under para 2(1)(b).

36. Accordingly, was the appellant acting, claiming to act or giving the impression that he was acting as a representative of his authority so as to fall within para 2(1)(b)? As a preliminary, I accept that while para 2(5) refers to acting “as a representative” on other authorities or bodies, it is not to be understood as exhaustive of the circumstances in which a person may be found to be acting, but merely states what is to happen when one is acting as a representative in those particular circumstances. When one is acting (etc) “as a representative” of an authority is therefore a matter for determination by the Tribunal of fact (i.e. a standards committee, or on appeal, the First-tier Tribunal). I do however consider that, reading the Model Code as a whole, it is evident that “representative” is not to be equated to “member”. The Model Code uses both terms and must be taken to have done so deliberately. Accordingly, merely to act, claim to act or give the impression one is acting (etc) as a member is in my view itself not sufficient unless there is material on which the tribunal of fact can properly conclude that one is acting (etc) specifically as “a representative” of the authority.

37. Ms Dehon submits that a member of a local authority will be seen as equivalent to the authority. There is a range of legal structures within local government. There is also a wide variety if political contexts. An individual member may have a powerful place within the executive or may be a member of a relatively powerless minority party. Suffice it to say that Ms Dehon’s submission, as a general proposition, is too widely stated.
38. Ms Dehon submits that the view which I am taking on this point would weaken the provisions regarding claiming to act or giving the impression of acting. That may be so in the sense that it is conceptually possible for there to be persons who claim to act as a member but not as a representative but that is where those who made and endorsed the coming into force of the 2007 Code by was of SI 2007/1159 intended the line should be drawn. The Code was the subject of widespread consultation required by section 49 of the 2000 Act (and see also the history of the proposed removal of the words “any other circumstance” in Livingstone, para 22”.

26. In the case of Mullaney v Adjudication Panel for England [2010] LGR 354 Mr Justice Charles stated that the correct approach to the determination of official capacity was as follows:

“The most relevant part of the definition here is “conducts the business of the office to which s/he has been elected or appointed”. These are ordinary descriptive English words. Their application is inevitably fact sensitive and so whether or not a person is so acting inevitably calls for informed judgment by reference to the facts of a given case. This also means that there is the potential for two decision makers, both taking the correct approach, to reach different decisions. In the context of judicial review this brings into play, or reinforces the points that if the statutory decision makers have taken the correct approach in law their experience and knowledge as the persons chosen to be the decision makers is relevant to the irrationality argument (and indeed to arguments that they are wrong). To my mind it cannot be said that the Appeals Tribunal (or the Standards Committee) erred in law in the approach taken to the construction and application of the test. They both applied the relevant language of the Code in its context.

Turning to arguments advanced:
i) I do not agree that para 2 of the Code only covers actions that a Councillor could not do if he was not a Councillor as was submitted, or to turn that from the negative that para 2 only covers actions that can be performed by a Councillor because he is a Councillor.
ii) To my mind that is too restrictive both as a matter of language, and having regard to the purpose of the Code to promote and uphold proper standards in public life.

iii) It was asserted that in respect of a letter signed by a Councillor, in which he referred to himself as a Councillor, it would be significant, if not determinative, whether the letter was written on Council notepaper or, in the same terms, on other paper, because only a Councillor could properly use the Council's notepaper. In my judgment albeit that such a distinction can be made, and the point that a letter was written on Council notepaper would provide support for the view that it was written in conducting the business of the office to which the Councillor was elected, it should not be determinative. The same can be said of the use of a personal email address or the funding of a particular activity.
iv) Rather in my view more important factors are the reasons why, the circumstances in which and the reasons for which the communication was made, or the action was taken. This is the approach taken by both the Standards Committee and the Appeals Tribunal. To my mind that is clearly correct and it is also supported by dicta in the Livingstone case at para 29 where Collins J says “– official capacity will include anything done in dealing with staff, when representing the Council, in dealing with constituents' problems and so on –”.

27. The Tribunal also took into account the Guidance produced by Standards for England:

“Q11 Do private discussions about authority business come under “official capacity”? Standards for England is likely to view any private discussion of authority business, either with members or with the authority’s officers, as carrying out the business of the member’s office”

28. It is within this context that the Tribunal addressed the issue of whether the Appellant’s actions, in disclosing confidential information which he obtained as a councillor was action taken in the furtherance of his office and therefore in his official capacity.

29. It is accepted that the majority of the letter and the Appellant’s signed statement appeared to be about internal Labour Party processes, but it did concern and relate to the issue of the election of the Mayor. The background to this issue and the action that resulted was about a matter unique to the Council, the election of their Mayor, an official role within the Council not just a political group, which carried with it considerable power and influence. This was not only an issue about general Labour Party processes but also an issue about the electoral process within Tower Hamlets generally. The Tribunal did not accept, therefore that it was a letter or statement about local or national Labour Party matters.

30. The issue which prompted the Appellant’s action was one which would affect the London Borough of Tower Hamlets as a whole and, as the letter stated, was of great importance to the Borough. By clearly asserting, both in his statement and in the letter written on his behalf and with his authority, that the particular function he carried out for the Council was “the Leader of Tower Hamlets Council”, not just a member of the Labour Party or a councillor, and that “His intervention is not made for any personal advantage since the outcome of the process he invites you to take does not prima facie lead to his appointment as the party’s candidate”, gave the impression, in the Tribunal’s view that the Appellant was acting as a representative of the authority who was conducting the business of the authority, not that he was acting in a private or purely political capacity.

31. This impression is supported by the fact that the confidential information the Appellant disclosed related to a council employee and could only have been acquired in the course of the Appellant’s official duties and whilst conducting official business.

32. The Tribunal therefore concluded that the Appellant was acting in his official capacity when he disclosed information that he obtained in confidence as a councillor.

Failure to follow the Code of Conduct
33. The Tribunal carefully considered all the information before it and noted that the Appellant did not deny that he disclosed confidential information relating to a council officer in September 2010 and had acknowledged in his statement to the Investigating Officer:

“With the benefit of hindsight, I think perhaps I should not have made reference to the disciplinary proceedings, as this was an employment matter that would better have been left private and confidential “

34. The Tribunal was therefore of the view that the Appellant had failed to follow paragraph 3.3 of the Council’s Code of Conduct.

35. With regard to whether the Appellant had brought his office or authority into disrepute, the Tribunal considered that a member would fail to comply with the Code of Conduct where his conduct could reasonably be regarded by an objective observer as diminishing the member’s office or harm the reputation of the authority. In the Tribunal’s view as this breach involved the disclosure of confidential and personal information about the conduct of an employee who was not asked nor was told that the information was to be disclosed and which, in part resulted in the initial election of the Labour Party Mayoral candidate for the Council being set aside and the Appellant being elected in his place, would be regarded objectively as likely to harm the reputation of the office of councillor and the authority as a whole and therefore likely to bring the office and authority into disrepute in breach of paragraph 3.4 of the Council’s Code of Conduct .

36. The Tribunal had regard to the nature of the breaches, the guidance issued by Standards for England on sanction and the mitigating factors on behalf of the Appellant , which were:
  • previous good record of service over 14 years as a councillor,
  • lack of intention on the appellant’s behalf for the information to be disclosed more widely than the addressee and those to whom the letter and statement were copied,
  • recognition by the Appellant’s that he should not have mentioned or named the officer of the authority to an external body.
37. The Tribunal decided that the decision of the Standards Committee, with their knowledge and expertise of the local context was fair and proportionate in all the circumstances.

38. The Tribunal has upheld the finding of the Standards Committee.

39. The Tribunal directs that the outstanding sanction originally imposed, and not yet spent, by the Standards Committee will take effect as of 27 March 2012.

40. The written reasons for the Tribunal’s decision will be published on the Tribunals website at

41. Any request for permission to appeal needs usually to be made to the First-tier Tribunal within 28 days of receipt of the Tribunal’s reasoned decision. Such applications need to be in writing.

Sally Lister

Date: 5 April 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thames Tunnel Update

Dreary suburban planting proposed on what is now informal open space.

Boris Johnson has written to Richard Aylard, Thames Water's External Affairs and Sustainability Director, calling for a re-examination of five aspects of the Thames Tunnel project. One of the said five aspects is Deptford Church Street in regard of which Boris says:

"This site is adjacent to a school and on one of the few open spaces in this deprived area of London. The site will also impact on a busy section of the road network which is also an important bus route. I think there is more scope for alternative sites in this area, including the options examined in the first phase of consultation and again I urge you to search for a site that has lower impact."

Local Campaign: Don't Dump On Deptford's Heart

The full text of the letter:

"Dear Richard

Thames Tunnel Sewer
Further to my response to the Phase 2 consultation, I have reconsidered this project, not least because I have heard of the concerns from some of the Londoners who will be most severely affected.

I remain committed to the project because we must address these sewer overflows. However, I think that there are five areas where the project needs to be re—examined:

1. Overall project cost
2. Chambers Wharf
3. Camwath Road
4. Deptford Church Street
5. Kirtling Street

Overall project cost
My Advisers have had meetings with Richard Benyon MP over the past couple of years on this matter. The scale of the overall project cost appears to me to need tighter control. I have previously requested that the Minister takes direct control of this himself, and I will take this up with the Minister again. I want him to build in incentives to ensure that the project is built to the lowest reasonable cost and to ensure that there are no perverse incentives to you (Thames Water) to make this asset as big as possible.

Furthermore, the way in which Thames Water customers will pay for this, adding £80-£100 per year to bills, is unacceptable to me. We must get to a funding mechanism that enables customers to pay for the necessary infrastructure in a finite amount of time, accepting of course that there will be a degree of operational and maintenance funding.

Chambers Wharf
This site is right up against people's homes. I realise that you are proposing to cover the main works with a warehouse building. However, I can only think that this will be intolerable for local people. You must re-examine the area for a better alternative site and re—examine the option of driving the tunnel from Abbey Mills to this area.

Carnwath Road
This site is also close to people's homes and again you have proposed to cover the main construction works with a warehouse building. I do not think that you have proposed enough use of water transport given the busy urban nature of this area and this is another case where you must look harder for alternatives.

Deptford Church Street
This site is adjacent to a school and on one of the few open spaces in this deprived area of London. This site will also impact on a busy section of the road network which is also an important bus route. I think that there is more scope for alternative sites in this area, including the options examined in the first phase of consultation and again I urge you to search for a site that has lower impact.

Kirtling Street
I realise that this is the singie biggest construction site, being a double drive site. However, the potential impact that this would have on the regeneration of this area is immense. You should ensure that the design, layout and operation of the site does not undermine the regeneration of the Vauxhall Nine Elms Opportunity Area and in particular have an adverse impact on the Riverlight development.

We all want this project to succeed, but to do so you must find a way of overcoming the huge public concern about some of the construction sites and the cost of the project.

Yours ever,
Boris Johnson
Mayor of London

Cc: Richard Benyon MP, Parliamentary Under—Secretary of State, Defra"

The original letter can be viewed here.

Plan of the proposals at Deptford Church Street.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lord Clyde PH - A Famous Victory

The Lord Clyde is celebrating the defeat of property developers who want to knock it down and build flats.

From the outside the Lord Clyde public house in Wotton Road, Deptford is an unprepossessing looking place. (Not that my photographic skills do it any favours.) The portrait on the pub sign has long ago faded to nothing, the window boxes are overgrown, and buddelja sprouts from the top of the building.

The Lord Clyde PH has been under threat for some years; in 2009 the freehold of the pub was up for sale at £380,000 (the webpage has oddly disappered in last two days), but by Nov 2010 the price being asked had fallen to £350,000. In May last year the inevitable planning application was made. Landlord Rory McInally set out his case in the South London Press highlighting its community links and boxing heritage and posing for a photo with PC Gary Arterton. For some reason the application was not validated and a new application was made in February this year. This was accompanied by a Design and Access Statement, which in a spectacular display of arrogance stated:

"The current use does not provide any positive contribution to the local area and therefore it’s replacement with a residential building is the most appropriate form of development."

Not a good example of how to make friends and influence people. In response Mr McInally gathered a variety of locals for a photograph in the pub that appeared in the Mercury under the headline Deptford pub landlord defends boxing gym after developers’ slur and set about getting local people to send in objections. It worked and on 26 March 2012 LB Lewisham refused the application on four grounds (in summary):

1. The Lord Clyde public house building has been identified by the local planning authority as an undesignated heritage asset, which has both historical value and architectural character and adds positively to the local distinctiveness of the area. Inadequate justification has been provided for the demolition of the existing building, and as such its demolition would result in an unacceptable loss of a heritage asset and consequently would result in unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding area, which includes the Grade II Listed London to Greenwich Railway Viaduct.

2. The proposal would result in the unacceptable loss of an operational public house and boxing gym which provides a valuable amenity as a social and cultural centre for the local community.

3. The proposed development is of unsatisfactory height, scale, mass and appearance which fails to respond to the local context and character of the site.

4. The proposed ground floor bedrooms at the rear of the site would have unsatisfactory outlook onto the car park of the proposed development.

The application documents and the full grounds of refusal can be accessed on LB Lewisham's 'planning search webpage:

under the reference DC/11/77308/FT or postcode SE8 5TQ

The applicants intend to appeal, but LB Lewisham is better at defending such appeals than many boroughs.


The pub is named after Colin Campbell, the first and only Baron Clyde. A career soldier Campbell commanded the Highland Brigade at the Battle of the Alma and in November 1857 relieved Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny. He was elevated to the peerage in 1858.

The earliest mention I can find of the pub itself is in The Era on Sunday 28 September 1862 reporting the Annual Licensing Day of the Blackheath magistrates held at Greenwich. Solicitor Mr Marchant appeared on behalf of Mr David Price of the Lord Clyde. Marchant told the court that Price had a 21 year lease that contained a provision that no other pub could be built within 400 yards (The freehold of that part of Deptford was owned by the Evelyn family). The license was granted.

By 1865 the pub had a mutual Loan Society than made £154 loans that year with a total of £480 in borrowers hands on 31st Dec 1965. In October 1871 a dinner for a lodge of the Ancient Order of Oddfellows was held at the pub with over 50 diners inside and a brass band outside. A trade directory for 1874 shows a Lucy Eldredge as licensee.

At the end of the 1870s a young couple Edwin & Clara Bax took over the pub. Both originally from Tooting, Edwin's father is shown on the 1871 census as running the Red Cow PH in King Street, Hammersmith. Edwin married Clara on 10 June 1879 and he is described as an Innkeeper in Deptford. In Feb 1881, the county coroner, Edward Carttar held an inquest on schoolgirl Henrietta Ball at the pub. This is the first of many inquests held at the Lord Clyde PH in the 1880s, some such as that regarding William Bate Curner of considerable historical interest. Juries were made up of middle-class men of the parish and the advantage of relatively wealthy men from across Deptford coming to the pub is obvious. Clara gave birth to two sons and a daughter whilst living at Wotton Road, but towards the end of the 80s the family moved to the Prince Albert PH in Edward Street. Edwin continued to hold the lease for the Lord Clyde. Edwin, but not Clara, remained at the Albert until at least 1911. He died in Carshalton 1933 leaving over £25,000.

Much of the twentieth Century is obscure. George & Mary Cheesman had the pub from c1934 - c1944, but other details are hard to find.

Friday, April 6, 2012

1870 - City of London - proposed Foreign Cattle Market at Deptford Dockyard

Foreign Cattle Market, Deptford
Illustrated London News 1872

After the Deptford Dockyard closed in 1869 it lay empty until the Corporation of London established the Foreign Cattle Market in 1871. The article below from 'The Morning Post' Tuesday 8 November 1870 shows that the process by which the market was established was not entirely simple and straightforward. The dockyard was not the preferred site and it had already been sold to a third party. Some Common Councilmen preferred other sites and some were entirely opposed to the Corporation establishing such a market at all.

In the event the City of London's Foreign Cattle Market was established in 1871 and operated until the 1st World War. In the time that it was open over 4 million sheep and cattle were landed and slaughtered on site. The Foreign Cattle Market is the setting for 'The Gut Girls' by Sarah Daniels. The site was requisitioned for military use in 1914. After the war frozen and chilled meat largely replaced live imports and the Foreign Cattle Market did not reopen. The site is nowadays known as Convoys Wharf.


Yesterday a special Court of Common Council was held in the Long Parlour of the Mansion House - the Lord Mayor presiding — for the purpose of receiving a report from the Markets Committee with reference to the erection of a new foreign cattle market. There was a large attendance of members, and the subject appeared to excite a great amount of interest.

Mr J F BONTEMS brought up the report of the committee, in which they stated that from various communications they had had, both with the late and the present Government, and the experience they had obtained from the proceedings in Parliament in relation to the cattle plague and the course to be pursued with respect to the importation of foreign cattle, they were strongly impressed with the belief that there existed a fixed determination on the part of the Government and of a large majority in the Legislature to have a market for the sale and slaughter of foreign animals coming from scheduled countries, entirely separate and distinct from the Metropolitan Cattle Market, and the question to be determined by the Court of was whether the new market should be provided and erected by the corporation or by some other body, and, after a very full and careful consideration of all the circumstances of the case, they had arrived at the conclusion that it would be to the credit as well as to the advantage of the corporation that they should provide a market the sale and slaughter of foreign animals pursuant to the powers and provisions for that purpose contained in the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act, 1869. Assuming that the court agreed with them in this conclusion, the next point to be considered was that of the position in which the market should be placed. The committee considered that the site between the Surrey Commercial Docks and her Majesty's Victualling-yard would have been the most suitable place; but the Lords of the Council having declined to give their assent thereto, the committee were of opinion that the next best course would be to establish the proposed new market upon a portion of the late Royal Dockyard at Deptford, containing an area of about 22 acres, and having a river frontage of about 1,012 feet; and they recommended that they should be authorised to take the necessary steps for effecting the purchase of the freehold estate and interest in that property from Mr. Austin for the sum of £91,500, the corporation taking upon themselves the engagements entered into by Mr. Austin for the construction of a gas-house and the erection of a wall to divide the property from the victualling-yard and from the of the dockyard sold to the trustees of the Evelyn Estate.

Mr Deputy CHARLES REED MP and Mr Deputy BURNELL presented petitions against the site selected by the committee, and in favour of a site on the northern side of the Thames. These petitions were signed by meat salesmen and butchers in Hackney and the eastern part of the metropolis.

Mr RUDKIN and Mr JAMES BREWSTER presented petitions from salesmen and importers of foreign animals and carcase butchers, approving of the site selected by the committee, and requesting the court to take immediate steps to construct the market. They stated that the site proposed had peculiar advantages over any other site whatever. It had direct railway communication with the New Meat Market at Smithfield, was a mile and a half nearer that market than any other site known to the petitioners, and was by direct roads placed in communication with that market without the necessity of crossing any draw-bridges.

In reply to questions that were put to him, one of the petitioners in favour of the site said he did not think the statement that it was in direct railway communication with the Meat Market was true. He, however, stated that the south side of the river was easier of access than the north, and that there was a railway at the victualling-yard, which was at one and of the dockyard, and that large quantities of meat were supplied to the victualling-yard for the use of the army and navy.

In moving the adoption of the report, Mr BONTEMS, the chairman of the committee, described the circumstances under which the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act was passed. He remarked that the home growers of cattle were always opposed to the free importation of foreign cattle, and that the visitation of the cattle plague gave them an opportunity which they never had before of urging upon the Government the necessity of erecting a market for the slaughter and sale of foreign animals. In the result an act was passed which formed the subject of the reference to the Markets Committee, and under that act the corporation had the option of erecting the new market, and if the corporation did not make market by the 1st of January, 1872, it fell to the Metropolitan Board of Works to erect it, and to do so out of the public rates, as the local authority for the metropolis. Certain advantages would be conferred upon the corporation if they made the market, which they would lose if they failed to do so. They would have the power of increasing the tolls at the other market to compensate them for the 1oss of the foreign cattle. No doubt one of the great objections to making the new market was the probable cost of it, but if the court examined the matter closely they would find that it would pay itself. There was at the end of the report a table showing the amount that would be raised at the Cattle Market at the increased rates, supposing the corporation erected the new market, and that table showed an estimated increase of £4,300 per annum. He thought this had been rather over-stated, but he contended that the increase of tolls would make up for the cattle taken away. During its 12 years of existence there had been a total loss on the cattle of about £110,000. Last year the loss was the smallest that it had been (£3,000), and it was to be hoped that there would soon be a profit instead of a loss. There was a considerable quantity of land unlet, and there would probably be an increase of British animals. The estimated cost of the new market was £160,000 which, compared with the cost of the Metropolitan Cattle Market, £469,000, was a comparatively small amount. To meet that expenditure there would be the landing and wharf dues and other charges. The present charges at Odam's Wharf, the principal wharf at which foreign cattle were now slaughtered, were 5s 6d for beasts and 9d for sheep. That was rather higher than the ordinary charge, owing, he believed, to Mr Odams having been obliged to go to a considerable expense in a hurry; but the corporation would not find it necessary to make a charge anything like that in order to render the market a paying concern.

If all the foreign cattle and sheep had been sent to the cattle market during the last three years had been landed at a market on the bank of the river and charged for at Mr Odams’ s rate, the revenue produced would have been nearly £42,000 a year. The interest of £100,000 would be £8,000 a year, and, allowing another £8,000 for the expense of management (that being the cost of managing the market at Copenhagen-fields), there would he a total outlay of £16,000 against a revenue of £40,000 so that there a reasonable prospect not only of making the new market pay, but of helping them to pay off the debt on the old one. (Hear, hear.) It was not their desire that there should be two markets, which would be an inconvenience to the trade, but the erection of a second was forced upon them, and the only thing that could he done was to make the best of a bad bargain. They were not legally bound to purchase the site or erect the market, but it would be remembered that they petitioned in favour of Mr. Forster’s bill which subsequently became law, and against that of Lord Robert Montagu, so that there was a moral obligation upon them. He knew that some members of the court were opposed to making this market, but he would ask them if they were prepared to abrogate their functions, and let the Metropolitan Board of Works take up the matter. Mr Bontems then referred to the various sites that had come under the notice of the committee. The objections to those on the northern side of the river were that in some instances the frontage was not sufficient, that in others the distance was too great, and that in other cases the roadway crossed swing bridges, would cause a delay in the traffic. The committee had in the first instance selected a site between the Surrey Docks at Rotherhithe and the Victualling-yard at Deptford the cost of which would have been from £50,000 to £70,000, but it did not meet with the approval of the Privy Council. They then considered that of the other sites that of the late dockyard at Deptford was the most desirable, and they accordingly put themselves in communication with Mr. Thomas Phipps Austin, the gentleman who had became the purchaser from the Government of that portion of the dockyard which had a frontage to the river. The price paid by Mr Austin was £75,000 and it might appear a considerable premium to pay him £91,500; but Mr. Austin purchased the property with the idea that by cutting it up and dividing the frontage into different wharves he would realise a handsome profit out of the transaction. It was very likely he would have done so, and he had a right to be fairly paid for the responsibility and risk he had undertaken. The committee still thought that the site would be cheap at the price they would have to pay. The place would be very suitable for the market, and there was, besides, a quantity of machinery that would be most useful. There were also some buildings, and if they could be utilised there would be a considerable reduction in the estimate of £160,000.
In conclusion, he moved that the report be adopted, and that it be referred back to the committee for execution.

Replying to Mr Deputy De Jersey, Mr BONTEMS said, with respect to railway communication, that both the London, Brighton, and South Coast and the South-Eastern Railway Companies had intimated that in all probability they would be able to connect the dockyard with their lines, and he did not consider that would cost the corporation anything.

Mr J T BEDFORD said that he with many others repudiated the idea of making this market. It was utterly unnecessary for any possible purpose except that of raising the price of food and putting money into the pockets of the landholders of this country. That was the object of the bill from first to last. If they drew a line round the metropolis, and said that cattle might come in but might not go out alive, they would do away with necessity for a new market, which would be a ruinous undertaking. They were at the mercy of the Privy Council as to the charges that might be made, and the cattle that would go to the new market would be taken away from the existing market in Copenhagen-fields. They were losing £12,000 a year by their markets, and the very name of a new market gave them a financial shudder. (Laughter) It was madness to make a new market; and why were they going to do it? For fear somebody else might have the opportunity. Mr. Bontems said the Metropolitan Board of Works would do it if the corporation did not, because they were the local authority. Well, they knew the days of the Metropolitan Board of Works were numbered-—(laughter)——and if the corporation erected the market as the local authority, they would have the rates to fall back upon, but at present they would have to fall back upon the City's cash. Let them take high ground. This was a bill to raise the price of the food of the people, and therefore they ought to repudiate the whole measure and fallback upon their parliamentary rights, and defy any one to build this market without their consent. Why? Because the corporation had raised £400,000 to build a market under an Act of Parliament which said that no other market should be built within seven miles of St. Paul's. They raised that large sum of money, and then another Act of Parliament was brought in to repeal the first. It was a mistake altogether, and he said again there was no necessity for another market. It was step towards the old abolished system of protection, and he hoped they would not undertake it. He begged to move that the report lie on the table.

Mr. T. S. RICHARDS seconded the amendment. He remarked that among 27,000 animals at Mr Odam’s wharf since the 7th of September there had been only one case of disease.

Mr Deputy BURNELL spoke in favour of a site on the Isle of Dogs.

Mr. LAWLEY remarked that the Privy Council had sanctioned the corporation recouping itself for the loss incurred at Islington. The act was not a protection measure brought in by any one party, but was concurred in by both Whigs and Tories.

Mr. FRICKER spoke in favour of the adoption of the report.

Mr Deputy FRY said he had no objection to the recommendation of the report, but he thought it should be insisted upon that the corporation should be at no loss in respect of the new market.

Mr RUDKIN expressed his approval of the report and of the site selected.

Mr GAINE thought the site at Deptford Dockyard the best, but he was strongly of opinion that there was no necessity for another cattle market.

Mr BONTEMS having replied, The amendment was negatived on a show of hands by a large majority.

Mr Deputy BURNELL moved, as a further amendment, to agree with the report except so much of it as referred to the site at Deptford Dockyard, but this amendment also was negatived, and the report was then adopted, and referred back to the committee for execution.