Shepherdess Walk – conservation test case

Just before Christmas I went to meet a landscape architect I collaborate with at his office just off of Old Street roundabout, in London.

On the way I suddenly realised that I was on Shepherdess Walk.

I seem to remember that this was the scene of a conservation battle in the early 1970s, with the Town Planners wanting to demolish the whole area and replace the Georgian Terraces with monolithic blocks, but others saw the potential and greater benefits of renovating and restoring the, by then, derelict terraces. Eventually, after a great deal of effort the conservationists won.


I was trying to recall if this was part of the ‘Community Architecture’ movement, but can’t remember in which of my books I read about this cause celebre, and was most surprised that when Googled nothing came up.

Anyway, I mention it because it appears that we have returned to the 1970s in the development of London, with the East End Preservation Society recently being set up to fight against the fine grain of the East End of London, and the area surrounding and on the edge of the City of London, being swept away, along with its older buildings and being replaced with mega structures and out-of-scale redevelopment.  It looks like redevelopment is replacing regeneration to an even greater extent than usual, and that we have to fight all over again the battles of the 1970s such as went on to ‘save’ Covent Garden, and Spitalfields.



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