Heres a new section comprising of photographs of empty/disused buildings that I took a few years ago and then again of the site recently revisited. Its not all doom and gloom as a few places have survived and been regenerated.
This section will be vastly expanded over the next few months
HOUSES ALONG THE A406 NORTH CIRCULAR ROAD
Over the years there have been various proposed schemes to widen the North Circular, which links west and east London via the northern suburbs. Three hundred properties have at some time or other been scheduled for demolition. There is no doubt that there are serious bottle-necks on the North Circular, but many local people argue that widening the road would only attract more traffic, making one of Britain’s most polluted roads even more hazardous to health.
The decades of uncertainty over this stretch of road have given the homes and businesses on either side of it a forlorn air. The government bought many of these buildings in the 1970's and more later as residents gradually moved out of the area. Transport for London inherited in 2000. Most were not inhabitable and no money was invested in their repair. Many homes were been left to vandals, others boarded or bricked up to escape the attentions of arsonists and squatters.
Demolition was looking inevitable but then Transport for London sold them off to a housing association - Notting Hill Housing Trust for £56.9million. Notting Hill agreed the purchase of the properties for refurbishment, as well as vacant land and some commercial units. The refurbishment works included 50 squat evictions and the removal of 1,669 skips of rubbish.
The Mayor said to the Evening standard in 2009 : "During the election campaign I highlighted how unacceptable it was that the GLA group was sitting on large numbers of unoccupied properties. With the hard work of Enfield councillors, TfL and the Homes and Communities Agency, this blot on London's landscape will be removed."
These pictures taken in 2005 and 2013 travelling between Edmonton and Palmers Green:
Though a bit further down the road at the bend near Arnos Grove the derelict properites havent been as lucky. This one as featured in the Derelict London book has deteriorated further and along with its neighbours is to be demolished. More about these coming soon on the Derelict Houses & Flats section on this website :
This old boozer was recently converted into a William Hill bookies. Some of the old pub tiles remain at the side of the building.
(left) 2009 and (right) 2012
ALDGATE, E1 - CLOTHES WHOLESALERS
This old wholesalers lay derelict for many years. The top two pics were taken in and around 2008 and the bottom two during demolition in 2011
CLAPHAM NORTH - ASHTON FUNERALS
The pic below left was taken in 2003 very early on in Derelict London. The building has now been restored to its former glory.
VAUXHALL SE11 - BRUNSWICK HOUSE
A Georgian mansion house, built in 1758 and listed Grade II. Purchased in 1811 by Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Brunswick, who fled to England after taking part in the battle of Wagram against Napoleon but returned to Brunswick in 1813 and was killed in battle two years later.
There was talk of moving the whole building to Camberwell, although conservation bodies unanimously reject this as tantamount to demolishing the building. Everyone from the Spitalfields Trust and the Georgian Society to the Lambeth councillor responsible for planning, expressed concern about the property's deterioration and it was put on the Buildings At Risk register. It was bought by the London and South Western Railway in 1850, and was occupied until recently by a railwaymen's social club, was sold at rail privatisation in 1996. Finding its owner to enforce repairs led to confusion over how to save Brunswick House.
Now dwarfed by the St George Wharf development in the background (on the site of the demolished Nine Elms Coldstore which once also dwarfed it), Brunswick House has now been restored by a firm called Lassco who are using the building as a shop selling fascinating architectural antiques & salvage such as old fireplaces from old properties.
BRUNSWICK HOUSE (left) 2003 and (right) 2011
By Clicking on the Amazon link Derelict London receives a small % of anything that you spend! hint hint....
CAMBERWELL - NAGS HEAD - (left) 2010 and (right) 2012
Reopened as a..... pub and without any refurbishment either.
CAMBERWELL - THE OLD DISPENSARY
Another pub back from the brink
CAMBERWELL - THE CASTLE
This pub has now been converted into a mosque. On this site originally stood the Castle Hall Electric Theatre (later known as Castle Picture Palace). Pub pics 2010 and Islamic Centre pics 2012
WOOLWICH SE18 - THE WOOLWICH INFANT
In 2005 this pub looked defunct but upon closer inspection was actually open. Inside wasnt much better either.I was in a hurry anyway so didnt have time to stop for a drink....Had a ferry to catch! someone then wrote to me about this pub: "The Woolwich Infant is still a live Pub. I know it does not look like much from the outside, but it is still a very popular Pub with the local Gay and Lesbian Community. It is owned and managed by a Lesbian couple."After a brief makeover it soon suffered a fire and the premises converted into a a cash converter type shop!
The pub was named after a huge gun that was built in 1872 at Woolwich Arsenal for HMS Devastation. The story goes that when the gun fired for the first time the resulting blast cracked the barrel. The Woolwich Infant (left) 2007 and 2011 (right)
PLAISTOW E16 - GREENGATE HOUSE
Greengate House was built in 1919 for the YMCA and later used by students when it was owned by the University of East London.
Neil Cooper writes: "When i was a student at the university i was based there it survived largely untouched inside - just the addition of a few plasterboard walls. in the canteen - in the basement is a trap door and when opened reveals a fully tiled old swimming pool with a shallow end and a deep end , all marked as such one year in a final 'end of year' show someone had opened the trapdoor and put in a tv monitor showing splashing waves and also played the sound of splashing water - an artistic 'installation' also when you enter up the front steps there is a lift installed servicing all floors - it's one of those - wire mesh box types - not completely enclosed and from the very top floor you can see the West Ham footie ground down the road at Boleyn"
Now been redeveloped into flats for "keyworkers" such as nurses & teachers.
below pics of GREENGATE HOUSE (left) 2007 & (right) 2012
SOHO W1 - RED LION
The Red Lion has been in existence since at least 1793, but its main historical claim to fame is that in 1847 Karl Marx and Frederick Engels held a meeting in the upstairs room of the pub and there wrote an ‘action programme’ for the Communist League. The programme was published in 1848 as the Communist Manifesto.
The pub’s more recent history has been less illustrious, although in the 1990s some enjoyable poetry nights were held upstairs by the Hard Edge Club, which gained a minor cult following amongst Londoners. Finally, in 2006, the Red Lion was closed and boarded up. Now reopened as a ‘Be at One Bar’, part of a small London chain of style bars founded by three bartenders.(though I prefer the Lyric across the road)
RED LION - (left) 2008 and (right) 2011
SOHO W1 - SEX SHOPS
The modern sex industry has existed in Soho for over 50 years, reaching its peak in the late 1960s and 1970s when every street seemed to house film clubs, strip joints and mail order and retail shops. Recently, however, the council has been clamping down, compulsorily purchasing premises thought to house brothels.
In the up to date picture below the Bizarre shop has been demolished and replaced by a modern buildinghousing a cycle shop and the adjoining Fantasy shopfront has been replaced.
Soho (left) 2008 and (right) 2012
SILVERTOWN - CUNDYS (aka Railway Tavern)
I remember Cundys (named after an ex landlord) in 2003 and thought it was derelict though upon closer inspecton it was still trading and open. During a swift visit for a pint one daytime the pub was quite quiet with a few local guys who were ok but unlikely to tolerate anyone taking "liberties" in their boozer. Some guys in Plaistow pub told me that Cundys was bad news and a place to avoid but it seemed okish to me (their boozer, the Abbey Arms wasnt too sweet either after a murder there 5 years ago...) The place was rundown and the interior was very tired and smelt stale. During the 1980's a boxing gym was upstairs and prior to closure the landlord (apparently) illegally rented out eleven rooms upstairs without a licence and there was some sort of housing benefit fraud investigation which added to its downfall. Despite the attraction of strippers in the bar, Cundys closed in 2008 and has recently been demolished.
DALSTON - DALSTON THEATRE (later known as Four Aces Reggae Club)
Originally opened as a circus in 1886, the small front entrance on Dalston Lane in the photo is original to this date. In 1897, the auditorium was rebuilt as a variety theatre seating 3,516. In 1920, the interior was redesigned into the Dalston Picture House. It closed in 1960 and the front foyer became a nightclub - the Four Aces Reggae club , then the auditorium became a warehouse, then a car auction room and lastly another nightclub. It had then been closed since 2000 before demolition in around 2009/10.
Hackney Council in Feb 2006 approved proposals for the total demolition of the Victorian and Georgian heritage buildings The Council ignored the objections raised by local market traders, businesses, arts groups and residents of Dalston, and voted to level the site, while simultaneously acknowledging that Councillors have not been presented with any plans for what will replace the historic buildings. The decision was greeted by loud protest from members of the public. Bill Parry-Davies, reacted to the council’s decision with dismay. "This wastrel council has a reputation as philistines with no regard for Dalston’s history and culture and being only concerned with selling our property to finance their bankrupt ideas for the Town Hall Square. They didn’t take the chance to change that reputation tonight."
Charles Collins (tenant of the Dalston Theatre 1963-1999 and founder of the Club Four Aces reggae club): "This [demolition] will destroy the memory and history of black culture in Dalston."
CJ Ross writes: "myself and some university friends used to travel across London to a 'rave' club at The Four Aces Club. This would have been around 1993-4 and there would be Labrynth club nights on Friday and Saturday nights. It was located in the entrance area, whilst the main auditorium on Roseberry Place housed a ragga/swingbeat/hip-hop-type affair. Sometime around '95/'96, Labrynth took over the main auditorium as well, before eviction and relocation to Tottenham, but this was after I was a regular. I know that illegal raves carried on in the theatre for many years since. Rumour also had it that it was once a residence of George Harrison, hence his picture being used by Labrynth, as can be seen on your picture of the Roseberry Place entrance. But I have my doubts. It was an interesting place, a club that stayed open until 6am but served no alcohol. Which may help to suggest the type of atmosphere inside. The clientele was a mixture of students, such as us and local 'yoot', of all races, who seemed to vary in age from 12 to 30. The atmosphere was happy, but there was a definate air of menace around the place.The club was made up of numerous rooms. The main entrance area was about thirty metres long, ten metres wide and made up the main dance area. This usually consisted of hardcore and jungle music, played by the likes of Nicky Blackmarket, DJ Sy and Kenny Ken. There was a small stage area at the back end (opposite to the entrance) with the DJ situated high to the left and a giant stack of speakers to the right. A small staircase went under the stage to the 'tunnel' area, perhaps the dodgiest arena in the club. This also housed the cloakrooms and toilets. A doorway off to the right hand side of the stage was clearly a fire escape, but the steps were used as a make-shift chill-out area. Just before the DJ box, on the left, was a doorway which led to the gardenand a stairwell into the basement. The basement either played more 'acid-y' sounds or the same as the main area. The garden was usually busy and the fire escape (which can be seen in your photo) led up to the top floor which was of a more relaxed, 'housey' nature. An alternative route to this top floor was a narrow, steep stairwell located not far from the main entrance.Considering the times we had and the passage of time, I'm surprised I can remember so much about the place. It wasn't the type of club that not too many of my peers would consider going to and some who went were intimidated by the place. I myself, found little wrong with it, perhaps the odd dodgy moment, but nothing bad. Perhaps my greatest long-term fear about the place was the amount of times we re-filled our water bottles from the taps there. God knows what kind of state the pipes were in. It holds a special place in my youth and it would be sad to see it destroyed"
A few years back the site was squatted by protesters & I visited the site to do a live piece about Derelict London on the Robert Elms show. Despite protests the Dalston Theatre has now been demolished and has been replaced by a "striking" development of 553 new homes (according to the developers)
Dalston Theatre Site 2005 (left) and 2011 (right)
Below are some 2004 pics of Dalston Theatre
DALSTON - THE GERMAN HOSPITAL
Built in 1845 on the site of the former Dalston Infant Orphan Asylum and set up to care for "all poor Germans and others speaking the German language." under the joint protection of Queen Victoria, Queen Adelaide, The King of Prussia and Prince Albert. The Duke of Cambridge was elected chairmanAt that time there were thought to be over 30,000 Germans living in the UK and all the medical staff and servants were German and was supported by the German Royal Family. The nurses were called "Deaconesses" and provided patients with spiritual as well as medical care. Florence Nightingale visited the hospital on two occasions and was inspired by the nurses’ example to enrol for training in Germany. When it opened, the hospital had just 12 beds, but later expanded to include four wards and a sanatorium for patients "not belonging to the lower classes". The hospital was strongly supported by the local community, until the outbreak of the First World War led to suspicions of spying. The hospital survived, but in World War Two all the staff were moved to an internment camp on the Isle of Man. In 1947 the hospital became part of the NHS, remaining in use until 1987 then falling into dereliction before being saved in 2007/8 to be converted into flats. In 2011 a small one bedroom "apartment" was on sale for £335.00.
The inspiration for BBC1's Eastenders Albert Square was in Fassett Square a quiet Victorian square positioned behind the German Hospital. Filming for Eastenders started in Fassett Square but a modern extension of the German Hospital viewable from the Square looked out of character and the BBC declined to use the Square as a set.
Miriam Oreilly writes: "This is the hospital where my great great grandfather died! His name was Davis Levy. He was a Jewish Lithuanian, I presume the German's must have liked the Jews at that stage! He never spoke English so I assume that is why he ended up in a German speaking hospital. He died of some terrible skin infection at the age of 70 in 1908. He was a master furrier and had built up a good business in London. It is quite amazing to see the photos as I live in Ireland and God knows if I will ever get an opportunity to visit."
THE GERMAN HOSPITAL 2004 (left pics) and 2012 (right pics)
Below are some more pics of THE GERMAN HOSPITAL in 2004
BERMSONDSEY SE16 - CHAMBERS WHARF
London’s river trade declined rapidly after the Second World War, and after standing derelict for some years, many wharves were redeveloped during the 1980'S they were converted into a mixture of residential and commercial real estate and became in the process some of the most upmarket and expensive properties in London. Chambers Wharf, though, was an exception. It has fell into serious disrepair and the threat of demolition had been hanging over it for years.
Despite its decaying appearance, part of the building was still used as a storage facility prior to demolition – to house gold bullion, locals have told me. Also lurking in the depths is a large Second World War air raid shelter which projects out from beneath Chambers Wharf and under the River Thames. Some episodes of the 1970s television drama The Professionals were filmed here, and Bodie and Doyle are to be seen running across the roof in one episode.
Chambers Wharf has now been demolished leaving a gap in the Thamesside landscape in South London
Below are some more pics of Chambers Wharf in its derelict heyday that I took between 2003 -2007
WESTMINSTER BRIDGE ROUNDABOUT 2005
WESTMINSTER BRIDGE ROUNDABOUT - THE ISLAND BLOCK (left) 2005 and (right) 2011
In a Channel 4 poll of 10,000 viewers to find the ugliest buildings that people would like to see demolished, the Island Block came in at number 11. A six- storey concrete building, it was constructed in the early 1970s as an extension to the old GLC County Hall complex & its prominent location made it perhaps the most prominent of all London's derelict buildings after the drab building lay rotting for years.
Now demolished and the Park Plaza stands in its place. The hotel features 54 suites and penthouses, over 500 studio rooms & amenities include a 1,200 square-metre, pillar-free ballroom.
COPPERAS STREET 2007
DEPTFORD - COPPERAS STREET
This was an interesting street a few years ago with plenty of dereliction, a few squatters, loose dogs, travellers and some old vehicles. A few derelict buildings remain on the other side of the street but where all these old pictures were taken is being tranformed into a modern development of offices or flats. A few more pics taken between 2005-2007 are below. Note the original Banksy stencil next to the No Dumpin sign.
Copperas was a valuable substance used in the production of acids & chlorine. It was obtained from nodules found within London Clay. In 1746 England was amongst the largest sources of copperas in Europe. However method s of production was changed during the 18th century and the Deptford works closed in 1828. Wheens soapworks was also located in Copperas Street - fat from the local cattle market together with rag ‘n’ bones collected by local totters was used to produce candles and soap.
DE BEAUVOIR TOWN - THE MOLE'S HOUSE
A pensioner who lived here was known as "the Hackney mole man", because he spent 40 years digging a network of tunnels under his house.
Until the late 1960s the building was two quite beautiful houses, then in the early 70s they were purchased by 'The Mole' . He used to put extensions onto the house made of corrugated iron and window frames and let them out to foreign students...He extended the loft by taking slates off and putting in windows to raise the ceiling height....he filled the garden with derelict cars. But his favourite activity was tunnelling from his front garden under Stamford Road....he actually got to the point where a hole appeared in the Road and a number 76 bus fell partially into it......
Found this article in The Times:
"Like the Victorian builders of the Underground, William Lyttle loves the soft London clay. For the past 40 years the 75-year-old eccentric retired electrical engineer has been tunnelling under his derelict home , upsetting the neighbours — not to mention their foundations — and spoiling the ambience of an otherwise desirable enclave barely a mile north of the City.
You would think that Mr Lyttle was trying to dig his way out of a wartime German prison camp like Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson in The Great Escape. But, as he revealed in a television documentary on great DIY disasters, it was only his idea of home extension. In the documentary Mr Lyttle, originally from Northern Ireland, proudly displayed his excavation technique using only a shovel, a homemade pulley and his feet. “This is how the pyramids were built — with blood, sweat and toil,” he told the camera. Many of his tunnels were big enough to stand up in. “This is going to be the leisure centre,” he said, sweeping his hand round a large cavern. “And this in here will be the sauna.”
The development of Hackney’s first underground leisure centre appears to have been arrested at birth. Engineers, who recently made a preliminary inspection, took away more than 20 tonnes of excavated soil and assorted rubbish. They found the foundations of the four-storey, twenty-room house shored up with makeshift scaffolding poles and pit props. They plan to fill the tunnels with cement to stabilise the house and the road. Mr Lyttle will be sent the bill."
Hackney council evicted Mr Lyttle in 2006 to allow work to stabilise the house.The High Court ordered him to pay £350,000 within 14 days or the property could be sold to pay the bill and ordered him to be banned from going near the property After being evicted from his home he was put up in a hotel for three years, before the authority re-housed him in a nearby flat. Then the Mole Man had started digging again at his top-floor flat where he was found dead in 2010. Sources said Mr Lyttle had “gone back to his old behaviour” and knocked a tunnel-shaped hole in the dividing wall between his living room and kitchen on the De Beauvoir estate. “There were holes everywhere and huge section of wall had been knocked down."
Finally a great quote from Mr Lyttle after a journalist asked him why he wanted to dig so many tunnels. He replied: “I was digging under the local bank to rob it, but when I got there it’d turned into a wine bar”
Dalston The Mole's House 2004 (above) and 2011 (below)
NORTH WOOLWICH E16 - GALLIONS HOTEL
The P & O company built the Gallions Hotel for first-class steamer passengers.A stylish survival of the days when the Royal Albert Dock handled liners to the British Empire, the Gallions Hotel was completed in 1883. Closed in 1972 and empty for many years, the hotel stood forlorn in the middle of a large decaying site.Liners from the distant ports of the British Empire would stop at Gallions on their way to their final berth upriver, so that their passengers could disembark and reach the city quicker. It featured underground stables and an underground passage to the dock. Situated in the Albert Basin, it formed part of the Royal Docks project, which was one of the largest integrated developments happening in London turning Gallions Hotel into a new waterside community as part of a £100m project. On 3 September 1878, on the return upriver from a day trip, the steam powered pleasure steamer 'Princess Alice' collided with the collier 'Bywell Castle' just off Gallion's Reach at Woolwich. In very warm weather the pleasure boat was packed with between 700 and 900 day-trippers. The 'Alice' was only equipped to take 500. She sank almost immediately with the loss of approximately 640 lives. As you can see from the the latest 2011 pictures below, the hotel has now been restored but remains vacant and dwarfed by the new housing development.
(Left) 1971 by Derelict London visitor Eric Gold (middle) 1990s pic taken by Derelict London visitor Kirstina Bond, (Right) 2012 by myself
GALLIONS HOTEL 2003/4 (left) and 2011 (right)
SOHO W1 - THE INTREPID FOX
The Intrepid Fox gets its name from the eighteenth-century political wheeler and dealer Charles James Fox who famously once promised free beer to anyone who offered him electoral support. In more recent times the pub became the favourite watering-hole of London’s rock elite and a big tourist draw. Mick Jagger and Rod Stewart are rumoured to have come close to trading punches here after the former tried to poach Ronnie Wood – then in Stewart’s band the Faces – for the Rolling Stones. The late hell-raising actor Richard Harris was also a regular, and other customers included Mel Gibson. The pub was a popular place to meet before going to the Marquee Club just down the road.
Everybody was dismayed when this historic piece of Soho was closed down in the autumn of 2006. Malcolm McLaren, who used to drink at the Fox with Johnny Rotten and the other Sex Pistols in the 1970s, backed an unsuccessful campaign to save the pub, having once named it one of the five best in the world. An ex-landlord comments on the closure: ‘It is another step towards the homogenization of Soho as just another bland, faceless area.’
Simon Goyne writes " I live in Sweden now, but I worked in pubs all over The City and West End during the mid-90s, and ended up running The Salisbury on St Martin's Lane. Having lived abroad since 2002 I had no idea how many central London pubs - many of which I used to drink in - have gone. I remember The Polar Bear when it was packed every night with Kiwis and Aussies, the Printers' Devil when The Daily Mirror was still just about on Fleet St, and huge lock-ins in The Red Lion in Soho. I have particularly fond memories of The Intrepid Fox as my now wife and I used to go there a lot on our nights off together, mainly because they played such great music. I distinctly remember that The Intrepid was one of the first pubs in London to have its music playing from a PC rather than a jukebox or CD player behind the bar.
It always attracted a really mixed Soho crowd, with punks, dealers, indie kids, Soho pisstanks, goths and curious tourists all rubbing along nicely. Usually. The guy who ran it at the time was a skinny, cantankerous goth guy with really long, matted hair extensions who I never saw smile, even though he had one of the best and most popular pubs in the West End.
I remember standing at the trough in the Gents' one night, minding my own business, when a pale, speedy Soho kid lurched through the door and threw up down my leg. Happy days."
The pub has now reopened as Byron at The Intrepid Fox, an upmarket London hamburger chain. £7.50 for a cheeseburger though quite good according to reviews on the net.
THE INTREPID FOX - (left) 2008 and (right) 2012
ELEPHANT & CASTLE SE1 - LONDON PARK HOTEL
This building was an orginal Rowton House (described as a doss house by some for London's poor). The South London Press reported the opening in 1897 by saying, ‘The bill of fare would not have shamed a high-class restaurant. A large plate of turkey was to be had for eightpence; roast beef, sixpence; leg of pork and apple sauce, fourpence; vegetables, one penny; and plum pudding, mince pies, rice and “college” [small plum pudding], one penny.’ The reading room contained a large variety of engravings representing scenes from Shakespeare. The smoking room was also decorated with engravings and stags’ heads.
It was refurbished to a tourist class hotel in the early '70s. Apart from the location and it's grubby past - Rowton House - you could see from the tiny prison-like windows that it was never going to work as a hotel! Tanzanian-born Firoz Kassam (also owner of Oxford Utd FC) owned the London Park hotel at Elephant & Castle. It had a Home Office contract to house 600 asylum seekers. The Observer carried an article in 2000: "Refugees slam 'hostel from hell' Victims of tyranny talk of violence between ethnic groups, bullying and theft at the sanctuary that costs council £3m a year...It looks like any other anonymous, run-down inner city building. Its name, the London Park Hotel, suggests a rural oasis amid urban squalor. But, say residents, it is closer to a prison. .. an atmosphere of gang violence, intimidation, frustration and petty theft. They told of a world where the strong bully the weak, and the weak bully the weaker. 'There is much trouble, much fighting. I never feel safe. You cannot even take out a cigarette because someone will take it from you,' said Mohammed, 31, a student who escaped from one of Saddam Hussein's jails."
Used by the BBC for 26 weeks in the filming of the 2nd series of Hussle the building was demolished late in 2007 to make way for a major redevelopment plan for the whole Elephant & Castle area though over 3 years on there is no sign of any building work.A 44 storey residential tower called 360London was planned for the site but the credit crunch seems to have slowed down the building project.The derelict buildings on the corner of Churchyard Row have also been demolished to leave an empty space (see pics below)
Monique Dickerson writes: "I had terrifying experience I had when I was staying at the London Park Hotel around 1986 I think. I was a Bar Attendant there for about 3 months and I woke up one night in the early hours of the morning to this horrible screeching and thumping noise in the corridor. There were at least 5 other witnesses + the Switchboard operator that experienced this with me. I would really like to hear if you have ever had any other reports like this, and I’m really interested in the history of the place."
London Park Hotel - (left) 2007 and (right) 2011
Below pics are of Churchyard Row to the back of London Park Hotel (left) 2007 and (right) 2011
Below are some more pics of Churchyard Row London Park Hotel in their derelict heyday that I took between 2004 -2007