Save Brick Lane Campaign Launches on Princelet Street

Save Brick Lane is a campaign aimed at stopping a development proposal from the Old Truman Brewery. Launching on the steps of an old Hugenot townhouse on Princelet Street. The aim is to raise awareness of the development. One which could have a massive impact on the character of the area.

Led by Dan Cruickshank and the Spitalfields Trust, they have long been at the heart of the areas protection. For years they have battled against planners. As a result the trust can claim to have preserved much of the area from destruction.

Exterior of 25 Princelet Street showing people at the launch of the save brick lane campaign
Save Brick Lane launch at the remarkable 25 Princelet Street

Developments in the East End

Not all campaigns have been successful. Areas around Norton Folgate and the Spitalfields Fruit and Wool exchange have already recently been gutted. Any semblance of historic value simply swept away in a blind ambition to capitalise on it’s land value. The results so far are disappointing. The Fruit and Wool exchange had is facia preserved. Inside however much of the new office and retail space lays empty and unloved.

Timbers inside 25 Princelet Street

The development from the Old Truman Brewery looks to place a shopping mall at the heart of the Brick Lane area. Covering four floors, the intention is to place corporate offices on top. The Truman Brewery itself has long been at the heart of the area. It was in many ways responsible for the growth of Spitalfields and Brick Lane. Certainly it’s sad to see them at the heart of what could have an irreversible impact on the area.

Exhibition at 25 Princelet Street

As part of the campaign launch, the inside of 25 Princelet Street has been given over to an exhibition. Curated by the Gentle Author, it features photographs from Phil Maxwell. He has been capturing the area through the lens for over 30 years. A specially commissioned model from Sebastian Harding of the Truman complex and a diorama of Brick Lane from the Bishopsgate Institute can also be seen.

The real star of the show though is the interior of 25 Princelet Street itself. Opportunities to go inside some of these beautiful old townhouses are rare. Inside is as near to an authentic representation of Huguenot London as you are likely to find. Undeveloped and pretty much untouched you immediately get the feeling of stepping back in time. Remarkably the timbers seem to have a thick layer of charring on them. It indicates that either there was a fire sometime in the distant past or that the timbers themselves were salvaged from a fire. One exciting possibility is that there may be a link to the Great Fire of London. The house was built only approximately 40 years afterwards. Could some of this charred timber have been taken from the ruins of the city and reused?

The exhibition can be visited at 25 Princelet Street, Spitalfields, E1 6QH. It opens from noon – 6pm on Saturday 12th December and runs until Sunday 20th December 2020.

Model of the old truman brewery complex by Sebastian Harding
Model of the Truman Brewery complex by Sebastian Harding

Find out more

According to the ‘Save Brick Lane’ campaign….

  • It would undermine the authentic quality of Brick Lane
  • The generic architecture is too tall and bulky. As a result it would ruin the Brick Lane and Fournier Street conservation areas
  • It offers nothing to local residents whose needs are for genuinely affordable housing and workspaces
  • The approach is becoming ever more irrelivant in a post covid world. More people are working and shopping at home and office spaces are finding themselves ever more empty and underused.
  • Where it meets the terraces of the nineteenth century housing of Brick Lane and Woodseer Street, the development is out of scale. It would cause up to 60 percent loss of light in the area.
  • Instead of an arbitary scheme, this should involve a plan for the entire brewery site. One which reflects the needs and wishes of local residents.

How to Object

You can object to the development by writing a personal letter to Tower Hamlets council as soon as possible. You must write it in your own words and head the letter ‘OBJECTION‘. Anyone can object wherever they live. Members of one household can each write separately. You must include your postal address.

You will need to quote Planning Application PA/20/00415/A1

Objections by email should go to

Or by post to:

Planning Department,

Town Hall, Mulberry Place,

5 Clove Crescent,

London, E14 2BG

Save Brick Lane banner on 25 princelet street
Save Brick Lane banner on the outside of the building
Secrets of the Truman Brewery

To learn more about the Truman Brewery and the history of Brick Lane and Princelet Street, click here.

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