Yesterday, while driving down Graham Road, I looked in vain for the beautiful art deco facade of the long-closed Savoy Cafe, only to realise it had been ripped out and replaced by a cheap aluminium facade.
There is no planning application on the Hackney Council website, which seems odd – shop owners can do what they like to interiors, but my understanding is that exterior alterations – desecrations, in this case – require permission from the council. But I suppose the way around that is to do it on a Bank Holiday weekend, and then it’s too late to do anything about it by the time it comes to light.
Very sad, and a loss to the local area of a wonderful piece of history.
Thanks to Emily Webber of London Shop Fronts for the great photo.
Update: After talking to an architect I know, I now think that the council should force the builders to reinstate the cafe. They had no right to rip it out, they did it without permission and without any thought of the history and unique features of the building. So they should simply rebuild it as it was. If you feel that this should be done, feel free to write to Hackney planning department and let them know. They are investigating this as an urgent case, and it’s not too late to ask that it be retained.
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Although Hackney Council has done some pretty dumb things lately– and for a more articulate discussion of that particular drama, head over to Ms Baroque’s blog – they have started a regeneration programme called the Hackney Empty Shops Fund to bring disused shops (and there are quite a few) back into use. You can really feel the Olympic Fever setting in….. here are a couple of photos from the Savoy Cafe on Graham Road, which was opened for a series of art events – it was a beautiful room, with original art deco fittings and laminate tables and a blackboard advertising eggs on toast for two quid still up – it closed in the nineties, but maybe one day it will open again.
I also got a picture of the strange white creatures on Mare Street – I used to like their cousins on Dalston Lane that also got whitewashed before their time by the council, so it was good to see them pop up again down the road. Continue reading
So much on this weekend, and so many people hit the road to leave London, giving the rest of us a bit of breathing space. Here are some suggestions…..
You’re probably way too late to book a table at Moro, but that’s alright, because the recipes have no waiting list. Here are a few. My favourite is the lemon yogurt cake, which is surprisingly easy to make – the last time I made it I had the diligent help of a four-year-old boy, whose verdict was ‘this is better than ice cream.’ There can be no higher praise. Continue reading