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

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?

Summer Report: S.P.A.R at ‘The Blue’ Bermondsey Market, Southwark Park Road, London SE16 – 30th July 2016

Summer Report: S.P.A.R at ‘The Blue’ Bermondsey Market,
Southwark Park Road, London SE16 – 30th July 2016

On Saturday 30th July between 12noon & 4pm Brian Guest
set-up this stall at ‘The Blue’ to talk all things S.P.A.R
with visitors to this popular Bermondsey market

This gentleman was in praise of construction methods in the UK
how some buildings have lasted for over four hundred years
Much of the rubble recently created is of a more recent vintage
as residential blocks from the 1950’s and 60’s are being demolished

At times the numbers swelled as tales of rubble were swapped at ‘The Blue’

Brian Guest invited people to touch the rubble, several obliged

Many new members signed up at ‘The Blue’, this fellow was from
Southwark Council, will they listen to our rubble preservation call?

This gentleman presides over the (unofficial) Canada Water Museum of Rubble

His collection is largely taken from the redevelopment of Rotherhithe in the
late 1980’s, but ‘redevelopment’ is again being mooted
Below: Shock for Rotherhithe Residents as 2Billion Canada Water Plan is Unveiled

During the afternoon these young S.P.A.R members drew their favourite rubble

Brian Guest with fellow rubble enthusiast Frog Morris
He invited the Society to the ‘The Blue’ so thank you Frog

Also thank you to all the Market Traders at ‘The Blue’

See the film taken of S.P.A.R at ‘The Blue’ Bermondsey
Vimeo link to the film of S.P.A.R at ‘The Blue’

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Invite to S.P.A.R at The Blue – Saturday 30 July 2016, 12-4pm, Southwark Park Road, London SE16 3UQ

Invite to S.P.A.R at The Blue
Saturday 30 July 2016 12noon – 4pm
Bermondsey Market Square, Southwark Park Road, London SE16 3UQ


The Blue Market, Southwark Park Road – Photograph by Frog Morris

S.P.A.R – Society for the Preservation Admirable Rubble

Saturday 30th July 2016 12noon – 4pm

Join S.P.A.R’s General Secretary Brian Guest at
The Blue in South-East London to discuss all aspects of the campaign

S.P.A.R fights to preserve admirable rubble:
“Rubble that embodies all the qualities of the demolished building so
meriting a portion being retained as a  reminder of its existence
even after a new building is in its place”

‘The Blue’ is a pedestrianised square close to
Southwark Park Road/St James’s Road junction

Bus – 1, 381, P12, 78
Tube – Bermondsey, ten minute walk from station
Train – South Bermondsey, ten minute walk from station

Curated by Frog Morris with the traders of Bermondsey Market

April & May Reports 16: S.P.A.R Centre Pimlico – St Paul’s – Pennington St – Camberwell Controversy – Find the Rubble

April & May Reports 16
S.P.A.R Centre Pimlico – St Paul’s – Pennington St – Camberwell Controversy – Find the Rubble

The Society met at Tachbrook Market, on the corner of Warwick Way and
Tachbrook Street on Saturday 23rd April, with thanks to Rufus Stone Projects

Here Brian Guest, S.P.A.R General Secretary, shows a
sticker that can be put on any admirable rubble site

There were many visitors to the S.P.A.R stall, here talking about Churchill Gardens,
a local estate, built between 1945 and 1962 and home to over 1500 people
In 2014 there were plans drawn to ‘regenerate’ the estate and demolish many
of the buildings, a campaign began to save the housing, several estate buildings
are protected so demolition plans have stopped, for now

The Society encountered local law enforcement and explained why rubble should
be retained in any new development, they declined to comment

Brian spoke to this gentleman who had worked as a Bricklayer who identified
the brick on display originally found in Hackney Wick as a ‘Fletton Brick’
It is a brick named after a residential district of Peterborough

S.P.A.R Centre Pimlico had stiff competition from other campaigns at
the market not least the Mayoral election and Europe Vote Leavers
barracking President Obama during his unexpected drive past

See the film of S.P.A.R Centre Pimlico

Rubble at St Paul’s

The Society found this magnificant view of rubble being created near
St Paul’s Cathedral. This was an office block but as yet there is no
definitive sign as to what it will become, likely another office block

What can currently be seen of this rubble may sadly go to waste

Moving closer, there are complex twists of rebar, steel bent into wonderful curves

Look even closer and there is an uncommon sight
To the top left, concrete blocks are hanging in mid-air on the rebar,

this rare configuration should be preserved and featured in any new building here

Pennington Street, Wapping

Pennington Street – During the Wapping Dispute in 1986 over 6000 workers
were sacked for striking over the new print works set-up clandestinely by News
International, there were long-running protests and it was the beginning of the
transition of London print media to Docklands

Pennington Street is now largely post-rubble, apart from this impressive pile
A Grade II listed Rum Factory being used as an artist studio building but

 most of the area ‘London Dock’ is being developed by St George of the
Berkeley Group property developers providing over 1800 homes
Only apartments (they are never flats) from £800,000 are currently being marketed
Surely this rubble can be preserved in the atriums of the new buildings?

Camberwell Controversy

There has been much dispute over the refurbishment of
Camberwell Green and controversy over whether this is indeed rubble
The Society can give a definitive answer, this is rubble, but only minor rubble
It is still an admirable sight on the Green

Find the Rubble

Mystery Rubble
If you can correctly identify exactly where this combination of brick and concrete
is located email S.P.A.R at preserveadmirablerubble @ gmail .com
Brian Guest has a special award for the first correct answer

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Invite to S.P.A.R Centre Pimlico – Saturday 23 April 2016, Tachbrook Market, London

You are invited to S.P.A.R Centre Pimlico on Saturday 23 April 2016, Tachbrook Market
Corner of Warwick Way & Tachbrook Street, London SW1V 1SW

Join founder and general secretary Brian Guest at the pitch above
for S.P.A.R Centre Pimlico on Saturday 23rd April from 10.30am to 4pm

The market pitch will become for the day a meeting place for members of
S.P.A.R, Society for the Preservation of Admirable Rubble.

S.P.A.R looks closely at building demolition and rubble creation
how it reflects wider housing concerns.

 Find the Market here:

Supported by Rufus Stone:

Market Pitch provided by Westminster Council – Tachbrook Market

Jan – March Reports 16: Aldgate, Oxford St & Clapham – Spitalfields Update – Members Report Birmingham

Jan – March 16 Reports: Aldgate, Oxford St & Clapham – Spitalfields Update
Members Report Birmingham

Further rubble creation in Aldgate, E1

The rubble in the foreground is created by Barratt Homes and British Land but
Central House, Sir John Cass Art School in the background is also likely to become rubble.
Sold recently for 50 million pounds to Frasers Property UK (FPUK) by London Metropolitan University.
The department is to be moved to the Holloway Road Campus in late 2017

Join Save the Cass –

One of our members said this could be called ‘Urban living at it’s vilest’
But the Society thought it worth taking a closer look at the rubble

We found a great variety of rubble within the prodigious soil distribution,
there are bricks of many hues, steel rebars, and beautiful rough-hewn concrete slabs

There are many  ‘interests’ in Aldgate, here Barratt London
‘stunning’, ‘urban’, ‘penthouses’ – 463 one-bedroom suites, one, two & three-bedroom apartments and luxury penthouses.
From £695,000 to £1,135,500!

S.P.A.R would like the rubble retained in the foyer of this new development

Aldgate Place entrance (Barratt Homes)
Many new developments are defined by how far other places are from
them. S.P.A.R members will not have to travel far to find rubble from here


Metropolitan (Housing Association not the University)
are to provide ‘affordable’  homes for the scheme comprising 105 rented
and 45 shared ownership properties. Hand-over is Dec 2016 – June 17
These will surely be above £400,000 each!

S.P.A.R support truly affordable homes

Oxford Circus: Rubble Report

On Oxford Street there are many demolitions
and not just for Crossrail, here at the corner of Hanway Place
and Oxford St is a facade, is there rubble behind it?

S.P.A.R saw that homes are being built here,
Galliard Homes provide ‘affordable’ homes from £300,000 – £500,000
Surely these are going to be in the ‘luxury’ bracket!

The interior building had been cleared away as construction had begun
but here you can see  the geological substrata of Oxford Street,
showing rubble from the past, there will be more rubble to come

Clapham Report

Clapham Reference
The White House in Clapham, it is managed by Clapham Park Homes (CPH)
there is a fine pile of rubble nearby, it is worth seeking for SW4 members

Clapham Housing01
It was a very even pile of rubble stretched over 20 metres
Clapham Park Homes say
“By the time the masterplan is completed in 2025 there will be well in excess of 3,200
homes on the estate, made up of a combination of
refurbished and new build homes for rent, shared ownership and outright sale.”

Clapham Park Homes are owned by Metropolitan (see Aldgate above…)

Clapham Housing02Clapham Housing03
The Society thought this rubble was a sight to behold, with the colour bled out,
individual shapes and consistency came to the fore.
Here is a list of the demolition plans, useful reference for S.P.A.R members

Spitalfields Update

Local campaigners have been fighting to stop Spitalfields Market’s
1929  London Fruit Exchange (LFWE) from being redeveloped, but now
only the facade here on the left opposite the market remains.
There is some rubble left but new foundations are coming,
there is not long for members to see this

Members Report – Birmingham

LScully Member 01                History in the Making! Photo: Mr L Scully

Mr L. Scully from Bow, London visited Birmingham and noticed that the  Central Library
which opened in 1974 (after five years construction) is
rapidly being demolished to make way for ‘Premier Office Space’
West Midlands members should be able to see some classic 1970’s rubble over the first part of 2016

LScully Member 02
History in the Making! Photo: Mr L Scully

Paradise Circus is being redeveloped by The Argent Group who have owned the site
since 1999, this will be largely office space with  plans to rebuild the square phased
over the next ten years. The Library has moved to nearby Centenery Square,
but rubble from this building should be retained for any new development

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Oct – Dec Reports: Rubble from Spitalfields, Battersea and Piccadilly – AGM Dalston at “The Poor Door”

  S.P.A.R Report Spitalfields (December 15)

The Society has been monitoring this demolition since the summer, note the delicate mass of steel rebars to the right.
This development is, as expected, contested ground

Local campaigners have been fighting to stop Spitalfields Market’s 1929 London Fruit Exchange (LFWE) from being redeveloped.
However as this shows it is now nearly completely demolished, only the facade on Brushfield Street opposite the market still remains.
The City and Exemplar Properties have flattened the exchange from the south removing what was a multi-story car park

The new development will be over two blocks, what was Dorset/Duval
Street will be built over, this was where in Miller’s Court, Mary Jane Kelly
was murdered, seen as the final Ripper Murder in 1888
(from our East London history correspondent)

The rear facade is all that remains, the London Fruit Exchange was home to over 80 small businesses,
and is due to be turned into a 32,000 sq ft six-story office block with commercial space
S.P.A.R is insisting they keep some of the rubble visible within the new development

S.P.A.R Report Battersea (November 15)

SparBattersea1-22Nov-15Although Society members were not allowed any further, this site is part of Battersea Power Station Development Corporation’s extensive plans for Battersea’s Nine Elms area. They have stated there will be 839 new homes, with around 15 per cent of them ‘affordable’, they are saying around 370, with 220 below market prices, still likely to be 80%, most likely available to those earning over £50,000! The ‘affordable’ homes will likely be close to the busy Nine Elms railway line, far from the luxury flats found nearest to the Thames and Power Station

This rubble was encountered on one of the Inspiral London Walks
Further details here:

Piccadilly in Rubble

SparPiccadilly2-29Nov-15A member caught this fine example of hanging rubble when passing
Piccadilly on the Climate March, 29 November
The Society is always on the look-out for unusual rubble formations.
If you photograph any sightings email them to
preserveadmirablerubble (@)

AGM Dalston Report (October 15)

SparDalston1-11Oct-15The Society’s AGM (Annual General Meeting) was
at “The Poor Door” exhibition at A-side B-side Gallery in Hackney from 1 – 11 October
Brian Guest (above) was re-elected General Secretary for another year
and members brought many excellent rubble examples

Here Brian Guest speaks to long-time Hackney residents
On screen the S.P.A.R film shows the demolition of three tower blocks
in Stepney, we had a member visit the AGM who used to
live in one of those blocks, they wrote an account of their time there

Members drew the admirable rubble they had seen in
Hackney and elsewhere over the previous year

Tinsel Edwards (curator of the exhibition) and some of the other artists talked about the
London’s housing crisis at ’The Poor Door’ on 10 October 2015.
Brian Guest was also in attendence

Tinsel has said: The title was inspired by the furore over the development at One Commercial Street in Aldgate, which was built with two separate entrances. Luxury marble floors, chandeliers and concierge for the wealthy city workers, and a side-alley door for the ‘affordable’ housing tenants. The Poor Door is a growing trend in new housing developments in London, this divisive phenomena seems reminiscent of the Victorian era.

S.P.A.R says homes for all, and rubble for all seasons

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September: Annual General Meeting 1-11 October – Rubble in Glasgow – TV Centre Rubble

September: Annual General Meeting 1-11 October 2015 – Rubble in Glasgow – TV Centre Rubble

Demolition in Mile End

S.P.A.R AGM – Annual General Meeting 1-11 October 2015

‘The Poor Door’ Exhibition at the A-Side B-Side Gallery, 1-11 October
Opening Night Thursday 1 October 6-9pm

Gallery opening hours: 12-6pm Weds-Sun
Artlicks Weekend: 2-4 October

Speak to S.P.A.R General Secretary Brian Guest on
Thursday 1 October (6-9pm) and
Saturday 10 October (1-5pm)

A-side B-side Gallery
Amhurst Terrace (Hackney Downs Studios Yard), London E8 2BT
A collective exhibition tackling London’s housing crisis
Curated by Tinsel Edwards

With: Alison Berry, Rebecca Byrne, Tinsel Edwards, Mikey Georgeson,
Mars Gomes, Kin, Lee Maelzer, Reena Makwana,
Society for the Preservation of Admirable Rubble (with Brian Guest),
Tom Rizutto, Julia Russell

We hope to see members and prospective members there!
Invite is below:

The Poor Door - Flyer Final

Rubble in Glasgow – September 2015

Glasgow01A member visiting Glasgow saw this Victorian Building on Lumsden Street in the West End
of the City and correctly suspected there would be rubble found nearby

Glasgow2There had clearly been a serious fire in the past, further research was required

Glasgow3Sadly this Steiner School had a major fire in April 2013 and the school was relocated,
the building is in much the same state as that time

Glasgow5We were surprised by the rare order of the Rubble throughout the site,
this allowed inspection of each material to be conducted easily, here is an impressive stone pile

Glasgow6Here, a profusion of red bricks, there is some fire damage
but considering the serious nature of the fire many of these are remarkably intact

Glasgow7There has been discussion as to if these burnt wooden beams are ‘rubble’, however
in the context of the demolition they could certainly be argued as so

The Steiner School site is now being advertised as a ‘development opportunity’
so it seems anything is possible, ‘offers of over £100,000 are invited’, the Society would
like some of this rubble to be transferred to the new building whatever it becomes

TV Centre Rubble, White City, London

Television CentreA member gained access to the Drama block of the old BBC Television Centre in White City
London and saw this massive rubble creation through a tear in the fabric of the building

This site is being advertised as ‘New homes, offices and television studios, Independent
restaurants and cinema. Hotel and members’ club by Soho House’

It is across the road from Westfield Shopping Centre, White City
There is no mention yet of plans for any affordable or social housing within the development

The Society will be keeping an eye on this rubble, as it is only going to increase!

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July & August: Rubble High and Low Reports plus Members Photos

July & August: Rubble High and Low Reports plus Members Photos

The following reports show different perspectives for viewing admirable rubble in the city

Rubble from the Buses

One of the best vantage points to view rubble is from the top-deck of a double decker bus
This demolition of an office building near Old Street round-a-bout was monitored for
several months, all photos were taken from buses passing by the site

IMG_5758The ubiquitous ‘John F Hunt’ carried out the demolition of this early 1980’s office block – 18 April 15
There was a high fence surrounding, but luckily the no. 76 bus going south stops just opposite

IMG_5922A week later the rubble had grown, concrete, steel and stone fully exposed – 25 April 15
S.P.A.R would like the new development to have at some of this
rubble from the previous office block in its foyer

IMG_7056Two weeks hence and most of the upper floors had been destroyed – 9 May 15

Old St Rubble 290715After several months there was still a prodigious pile – 29 July 15
The hordings advertise ‘The Atlas Building’, a private development reaching over
38 storeys high in an area described on it’s website as ‘urban and achingly cool’
It is also in an area with a great need for social housing

Borough Bus Rubble 030815A similar study was carried out near Borough Station, this development ‘Brandon House’ is  well
hidden, only from the top-deck of a No. 35 bus could the vast banks of rubble and soil be seen
This development promises over 80 homes, all appear to be for private ownership

Rubble from the Roof-Tops

Roof Rubble Hackney 300715Another fine vantage point is from the top of a nearby building
This view is from the window of The Triangle Building, Space Studios off Mare Street, E8

Roof Rubble Hackney 300715-2This site was a petrol station and is being advertised as 139-141 Mare St by Blenheim Bishop
‘with a potential for residential development’. Planning permission had previously been
refused by Hackney Council, it is likely to be a mixed-use commercial and residential development
S.P.A.R would like some of this varied rubble to be retained

Rubble from the Streets

Kingsland Stack RubbleThis curious arrangement of rubble was found on Kingsland Road
unclear whether these were building materials or salvaged from a demolition
members debated its merits, a rare example of rubble standing apart
from a development scheme

Members Reports July / August

We start with a correspondence from JP of Ponders End and his photos of mountainous rubble

Ponders End Rubble

Dear Mr Guest,

I can no longer contain my rage. The rubble at Ponders End has continued to grow unabated. Not only that but the contractor has been ‘losing dust’ by neglecting to use a water hose while dumping said rubble. The result is surely a net gain in profit as thousands of grammes of ‘useless’ dust are carried away by the hot wind, covering residents’ homes and possessions in a fine grey coating. It is impossible to assess the true excesses of the pile from a single vantage point but the attached images give an indication of the enormity of the heap.



JP Ponders Rubble 2Ponders End Rubble by JP

JP Ponders Rubble 1Ponders End Rubble by JP

Mile End Rubble

Enthusiastic member JPL sent photos of this amazingly
rapid demolition of three estate buildings near Mile End Park


Photo by JPL
These are identified as Allonby, Channel and Studland Houses
on the Ocean Estate, west of Aston Street, E3

JPLGoneTomorrow310715Photo by JPL
In less than 24 hours the final section of the building had been demolished

Tower Hamlets Council website says: ‘225 new homes will be built on the site formerly occupied by these three houses. They will be built to a modern and sustainable standard by the East Thames Housing Association. 92 of these will be affordable rented properties, and 29 will be for shared ownership. This means that 54 per cent will be affordable housing.’

This means nearly half will be very much private and unaffordable, S.P.A.R does not feel this justifiable, despite all the admirable rubble created by the works, how affordable will the other 54 per cent be?

JPLHiddenRubble310715‘Hidden Rubble’ – Photo by JPL

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