Author Archives: Society for the Preservation of Admirable Rubble (S.P.A.R)

S.P.A.R Annual General Meeting 2018 in South Thamesmead with Brian Guest Sunday 23 September 2pm – 5pm

Annual General Meeting 2018 in South Thamesmead with Brian Guest
Sunday 23 September  2pm – 5pm

SPAR Thamesmead Texas Final Invitation

S.P.A.R at Thamesmead Texas – Radley House Wolvercote Road London SE2 9TW

All attendees to the AGM email by
21 September for the exact address of Thamesmead Texas

Nearest Station: Abbey Wood (South-Eastern service Zone 4) then 8 minute walk
Station two stops from Woolwich Arsenal DLR/Rail – Buses close-by: B11, 177, 180, 401

S.P.A.R’s 2018 Annual General Meeting will convene at Thamesmead Texas
in South-East London with General Secretary Brian Guest
We will discuss an increase in brutalist rubble and view the latest reports
There will be a survey for members and further opportunity to draw your favourite rubble from memory

Brian Guest and Thamesmead Texas are looking forward to your attendance


Rubble Reports Summer 2018 – AGM, Art Schools, Estates and Stadiums

S.P.A.R AGM (Annual General Meeting) – South Thamesmead

00 Thamesmead Yarnton Aug 18There is much rubble being produced in South Thamesmead,
which on 14 July 2018 celebrated its 50th Anniversary
The above is on Yarnton Way, the S.P.A.R Annual General Meeting
will be held in the area September 2018, all members welcome, details to come

Sculptural Demolition – Royal College of Art

S.P.A.R Members in Battersea have been keen to observe the demolition
of the remaining older buildings at the Royal Collage of Art, Howe Street site

RCA 02Many rubble gems could be found in this sculptural pile

RCA 05Demolition commenced during the Final Year RCA exhibition
The new building is being designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron

RCA 04Unique evidence of art being created and now destroyed
These bricks are full of art and should remain in the new development

RCA 01The buildings were used by the college for over twenty-five years

RCA 06Old Rubble with possible New Rubble behind

RCA 07There is much variety of brick to be seen at Howe Street, Battersea

Regents Canal Rubble Giant

S.P.A.R was confronted by this spectacular pile, the remains of Ion House, on the corner of Andrews Road
and Sheep Lane by the Regents Canal in Hackney

Ion House Sheep 01S.P.A.R could not help but be impressed by this rubble found near the canal,
these were once garages and light industrial buildings


Ion House Sheep 02Although this rubble is all too well protected at least the sight lines are clear

Ion House Sheep 05A wonderful cascade of concrete and red brick

Ion House Sheep 04There is planning application from 2016 for it’s re-development but now
the land has been acquired by Aitch Group:

Ion House Sheep 03A message from a concerned citizen, this seems likely as the average for a
new-build flat in Hackney is £531,840! According to Foxtons!

Ion House Sheep 06Another visit saw this wonderful evening light on these
concrete slabs, lighting is very important for rubble

Tustin Estate, off the Old Kent Road, London

S.P.A.R noticed some fine rubble on Ilderton Road around the Tustin Estate

01 Ilderton Road
02 Ilderton Road
03 Ilderton RoadThis tangle of rebar should surely be preserved

Gala Bingo Gone – Hackney Road

Gala Bingo Hackney Road 01
Part of S.P.A.R’s ‘Rubble from Buses’ series here is a view taken from the
top-deck of the No. 55 – The building was originally an Odeon Cinema opened in 1939
it was then one of the earliest to be turned into a Bingo Hall in 1961 – It survived
unti 2015, and it is now to be a housing development by Hackney Property Holdings (they are based in Jersey)

Members Photo

John Lang West Ham Jan 18At the start of 2018 active member J Lang took a photo of this
fine stack the last remains of West Ham Football Club’s Boleyn Ground
it is now being developed by Barratts Homes, Newham Council
have purchased 211 flats of the over 800 for ‘affordable’ rent

Latest Reports June-Nov 2017 : Death of a Fire Station / Toynbee Rubble / Hackney Wick Dreams / Ramsgate / Members Photos : London – Colchester – Porto – Murano

Latest Reports June-Nov 2017 : Death of a Fire Station / Toynbee Rubble
Hackney Wick Dreams / Ramsgate
Members Photos : London – Colchester – Porto – Murano

Death of a Fire Station (Kingsland Road)

10 Kingsland Fire Aug 17Kingsland Road Fire Station, Hackney was closed in 2014 by then mayor
Boris Johnson – S.P.A.R was there in August 2017 as demolition began
The site had been bought for 16 million pounds from the
Fire service by Benyon Estates and the Education Funding Agency (EFA), a government body

11 Kingsland Fire Aug 17S.P.A.R found a growing pile of rubble rising above the hoardings, in current
mayor Sadiq Khan’s Housing Policy, 50% of new developments should be marked
as ‘affordable’ which can include Shared Ownership,
Living Wage and Social Housing

12 Kingsland Fire Sept 17 2
By September there was this beautifully balanced collection of stones,
planning was previously rejected by Khan for lack of affordable housing,
this time  his office had no objections – Benyon Estates and the EFA are building
a new free school with at least 68 flats –  It has been reported contrary to
Khan’s policy that only 8% of these homes are to be affordable
and those may not even be on-site!
External Site:

13 Kingsland Fire Sept 3
S.P.A.R wants this beautfully balanced rubble to remain in the new development

14 Kingsland Fire Nov 1
When the Society visited Kingsland Road at the end of October, just this
single rubble pile remained

15 Kingsland Fire Nov 1 - 2
It’s magnificence diminished, by November, even this rubble was gone,
the site being rapidly prepared for Hackney New Primary School

Toynbee Rubble, Whitechapel (July 17)

02 Toynbee 01-07 1
The site of Toynbee Hall, an anti-poverty charity on Commercial
Street in Whitechapel is largely in a state of post-rubble

03 Toynbee 01-07 3
On Wentworth Street this facade is all that remains of the original building
Toynbee Hall opened in 1884 to relieve poverty in East London, after bombing
in WW2,  it was rebuilt and reopened in 1967, it was later named Profumo House
after disgraced minister of war John Profumo
who worked there for over forty years

04 Toynbee 01-07 3
The regeneration is to be a mixed-development with an open public square,
S.P.A.R members should this link to see if further demolition is planned – External Link:

Hackney Wick Dreams

06 S Hackney Wick 28-10-17 2
Hackney Wick has been a haven for Rubble especially since the 2012 Olympics
it is evident on Bream/Dream Street in Fish Island

08 S Hackney Wick 28-10-17
These mountains of stones bring-up that long-standing debate amongst members,
if rubble is created from road surfaces and not building demolition
can it be truly admirable

07 S Hackney Wick 28-10-17London Quadrant Housing Trust (L&Q) own the land beside the Foreman & Sons Fish Restaurant – This site had been used for the Hackney Wick Festival and DEN-CITY, but it is to become ‘Bream Street Wharf’ with the building of  170 Canalside Apartments,
L&Q say it will be a mixture of private and shared ownership,
what percentage is likely to be truly affordable?

09 S Hackney Wick 28-10-17
The majestic contours of this rubble should be retained in the Bream Street
Wharf development

Ramsgate – Rubble in action

16 Kingsland Fire Nov 1 - 2
  This action shot was taken during a demolition of advertising hoardings
revealing twisted metal and wood, taken in
Ramsgate by  S.P.A.R general secretary Brain Guest

18 Ramsgate 03 19 Sept
The Asda Carpark in Ramsgate on the corner of Chatham Road and
Boundary Road provides a good viewing platform for these layers of earth and stone

Member Photos

London: Upper Clapton (June 17)

20 David C West Lea River Upper Clapton June 2017Mr D. West of Hackney sent this wonderful conglomeration of concrete and brick
found close to the River Lea navigation in Upper Clapton, London

Colchester (July 17)

01 Colchester 14-07-17On the train leaving Colchester Station, you can see this vast field of rubble,
this is where to find the best of Essex aggregate,
although that is for S.P.A.A (Society for the Preservation of Admirable Aggregate)
to judge not S.P.A.R

Porto Rubble (September 17)

19 Porto Sept 17 02S.P.A.R has been told much demolition is to be found in the centre of Porto, Portugal
These office workers have an excellent elevated view, although most of the
ground rubble had been removed

  Murano Rubble (November 17)

Long-time S.P.A.R member L. Scully encountered a mysterious rubble stack, guarded by an accordion player
This was on the island of Murano, near Venice, Italy, surely a work of art worthy of the Venice Biennale

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Latest Reports 2017: Rubble from Nakatsu-City, Japan / Lincoln Update / London Member Photos / Ramsgate

Latest Reports 2017: Rubble from Nakatsu-City, Japan / Lincoln Update /
London Member Photos / Ramsgate

Rubble from Nakatsu-City, Kyushu, Japan

Nakatsu01In April S.P.A.R director Brian Guest visited the South of Japan for geological research
One stormy day during a visit to Nakatsu-City in Kyushu he saw this road-side covering 

Nakatsu02Behind the covering was an impressive array of rubble, with no barriers or holdings, just these red cones

Nakatsu03Komatsu are involved in much rubble creation in Japan and elsewhere: here are two fine examples
Komatsu make military equipment as well, construction and destruction always linked

Nakatsu04Note the range of concrete, with splashes of red paint throughout
Does it differ in consistancy and geometry from rubble found in the UK?

Nakatsu05This variety of rubble, also included cables, a fridge and water tank
This is a fine opportunity to study rubble, potential Japanese members can seek out
this site near the station in Nakatsu-City
S.P.A.R say always read the warning signs, be aware!

Lincoln Update – May 17
Lincoln01The Society visited this site over April and May 2017
These prominant buildings off Steep Hill were constructed in 1777 as the County Hospital and in 1879
became the Lincoln Theological College, it is very close to Lincoln Cathedral
In recent years it was rented to De Montfort University and The University of Lincoln

Lincoln02This is a wonderful tumble of bricks
However this former place of health and learning
is to be turned into flats with prices ranging from £350,000 to 1 million!

This rubble continues to increase up-to the end of May,  members have an excellent opportunity to study it
There were many Brick Manufacturers in Lincoln during the 19th and early 20th Century, these amalgated
as Lincoln Brick Company Ltd in the 1880’s – Lincoln bricks are often dark red in colour

The building is known as ‘Chad Varah House’ named after the founder of the Samaritans,
Chad Varah (1911-2007) who was born in Lincolnshire – The site was sold by Banks Long & Co in September 2016
to Peach Estates, Philip Good and Colin Holden who this year were granted permission to build
S.P.A.R urges them to keep some of this  fantastic rubble prominantly in their ‘luxury apartments’

External Links:
The Lincolnite, with photos of the proposed ‘Chad Varah House’ development:

For Brick officianado’s this blog ‘East Midlands Named Bricks’ is worth studying:

London Members Photos

Carpenders Park – May 17

Mr J Swann from Muswell Hill reports from Carpenders Park, a suburb of Watford

CarpendersPark02“I was heading to Oxhey Woods nearby when I saw this site near Carpenders Park Station,
I thought the membership would be interested in this complex swirl of
steel rebar on the right, how it meshes and compliments the variously sized stone”


CarpendersPark03S.P.A.R note that ‘Countryside Properties’ are involved in this rubble creation, they appear to be a
developer of choice for Three Rivers Council in Herfordshire, so we request that compact
piles such as this can be retained for public display, and discussion

New Cross – April 17

McCormick01McCormick02A brief report from South London member Ms J McCormick – “It’s near new cross fire station, on my walk to work. I pass through a housing estate round the back of the fire station, and the rubble is brick tiles that used to line the floor of the car park in that area They dug up all the brick tiles and replaced them with tarmac. A bit of a shame really cos they were a nice purplish colour and quite shiny…”

Ramsgate Rubble – March 17

02RamsgateThis spring S.P.A.R was alerted to a demolished industrial estate in Ramsgate, on Newington Road
It had been empty for some time and permission was granted in 2016 for a Primary School to
be built there with places for 420 pupils

03RamsgateSome members would not count these broken
wooden slats as rubble, in this context they can be argued to be so
On visiting there was a great variety of rubble on view

01RamsgateThere are further buildings to be demolished on this site, with potential to
match this dynamic mix of brick, concrete and steel
S.P.A.R would like this rubble to be preserved in the new development, with Child friendly measures taken

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November – December Reports 16: Bow Rubble Day & Night – Lincoln Report: Rubble Proliferation

November – December Reports 16: Bow Rubble Day & Night Lincoln Report: Rubble Proliferation

Bow Rubble Day & Night

The Society found on St Paul’s Way in Mile End, Bow a vast swathe of rubble
generated by Telford Homes for the ‘Bow Garden Square’ development

The overall height and diverse sizes of these rubble stacks is impressive

Telfords are offering ‘a stylish collection of suites, one, two and
three bedroom apartments and villas located around a central courtyard.’
Here you can see elegant multi-layered brick under a sleeping demolition arm

On this crisp winter morning S.P.A.R saw mountains of rubble
being moved from one pile to another, you can ‘register an interest’ in what
is to come but there is no mention yet of prices or ‘affordable homes’
Some of this rubble should be kept in the new development’s atrium as
there is currently little evidence of the housing that went before

With short winter daylight hours it is worth members looking for ‘night rubble’
Here is an evocative view of the ‘Bow Garden Square’ site in Bow

Getting up-close to a rubble mountain, wonderful brick and
concrete stacks, interlaced with rebar and colourful metal strips

Lincoln Report: Rubble Proliferates

S.P.A.R members in Lincoln reported that a ‘master plan’ for the City Centre
meant several locations are subject to demolition, this was once the central bus station
This is to become a 30 million pound’transport hub’, a bus station,
1,000 space multi-storey car park, retail space and a new pedestrian plaza

These photos were taken after most of the bus station structure had been
demolished. However there is still some fine rubble to be seen

A member who grew up in Lincoln has memories of the bus station as a strong
smelling darkened place, where you had to watch carefully for buses arriving in all directions

On closer inspection this pile is predominantly concrete in keeping with the
previous bus station’s structure, it now has a calming grey tone

This vast site greatly affects the traffic flow around Lincoln
Lincoln Council are looking to finish the development by January 2018, many visitors
have found the temporary bus station on Tentercroft St difficult to locate
The Society would like a portion of this rubble to remain in the shiny new structure
Images here:

For many members these signs are a provocation, however
their lenses are long and ingenuity high, some say rubble is
best experienced close-up and without restrictions

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September – October Reports 16: Rubble Findings in Hackney Wick, Orsman Road and Kingsland Road

September – October Reports 16:
Rubble Findings in Hackney Wick, Orsman Road and Kingsland Road

Hackney Wick Report

Our members regularly visit Hackney Wick as it has long been one of
most prodigious areas for Rubble, this is only likely to increase.

For the campaign to Save Hackney Wick, see the external link below

hackneywickfishisle05augS.P.A.R found this prodigious rubble configuration by the A12 in Hackney Wick

hackneywickfishisle04augThis rubble had great variation in scale and consistency

hackneywickfishisle01augOne of the factories being demolished was ‘Sulzer, Dowding & Mills’ on
24-26 White Post Lane, a service provider for brands of rotating equipment such
turbines, pumps, compressors, generators, and motors,
it is now subsumed by the Hackney Wick Action Plan

hackneywickfishisle02augThis site was using a somewhat slower method to move the rubble

hackneywick01augA panorama of rubble can be seen from Hackney Wick Station
Below is a link to Hackney Council’s Area Action Plan

hackneywick02augThis ground rubble had an impressive range of concrete slabs

This part of Fish Island is largely post-rubble,
below are the current plans, they are looking to build ‘neighbourhoods’
but there is already a neighbourhood in Hackney Wick

Orsman Road Report

6orsman01julyaug6 Orsman Road had been empty for several years, but is to become a six-storey
office block, the demolition revealed some fascinating rubble

6orsman02julyaugS.P.A.R members were very excited about this rare example of hanging rubble

6orsman03julyaugThese blocks held up by steel rebar should be hung from the new development

6orsman04julyaugThe rubble was cleared quickly, here is a glimpse of it’s magnificence
According to Maris the developers of the scheme there will be

‘25,226 sq ft of top specification office accommodation developed in
conjunction with a prime residential block, comprising seven residential units’

6orsman05julyaugBy mid-September the demolition was nearly complete,
with the rubble gone our members moved elsewhere

Kingsland Road Report

dalstoncitizensadvice01augustAs austerity hit, the Citizens Advice Bureau closed  on 491-493 Kingland Road,
it was empty for several years but demolition began in the summer of 2016

dalstoncitizensadvice02augustThe Society found much admirable rubble behind the blue and red fencing
The development plan is thus:
Demolition of existing single storey building and erection of a five storey building comprising retail (A1 use)
or financial and professional services (A2 use) unit on the ground floor with 2 x 1 bedroom flats and 1×2 bed flat above

Such a profusion of multi-leveled rubble, but will any of
this remain in the new development?