Keeping Newham heritage alive
06:30 05 September 2011
According to legend The Spotted Dog was used as kennels for Henry VIII’s hunting dogs.
Whether or not that is true, what is without doubt is that the building is an important and rare survival of a timber framed and weather boarded building in this part of east London.
Now, the former coaching inn built in the 16th Century, is on English Heritage’s At Risk Register after falling into disrepair.
Situated in Upton Lane, Forest Gate the pub was sold to private investors in 2004. The building remains unused and Newham Council is considering the long term use and re-use of the property in conjunction with Heritage of London Trust operations.
Prince Charles has shown an interest in the fate of the building which has also caught the attention of The WestEast-Newham London Groups whose members are trying to preserve the borough’s heritage.
The parent group WestEast-Newham London was founded in 2004, by Ray Savory, a former Forest Gate resident who now lives in Dorset. It currently has 249 active members.
This was followed in 2006 by Newham Debates, a general chat and debate forum which has 56 active members, again founded by Ray Savory.
Terry Maker who has been a member since 2009, said the group wants to see the Spotted Dog turned into a Heritage Centre.
He said: “There has been a protracted and wanton destruction in the name of progress that must be stopped. If the Spotted Dog is allowed to be ‘re-developed’ it means another part of our Heritage will be gone forever. If all the “2012 Promise” is to be believed, we will have visitors from all over the world. So! Let us be proud of our great past, and show it.”
Among the old buildings and parks the group is concerned about are:
*Angel Cottage, Stratford: a Grade II listed Georgian cottage levelled to the ground without permission over a weekend, when there was no one to stop the developers. Angel Cottage was located right under the official 2012 Olympics viewing platform. It was demolished in November 2007.
*The Old Dispensary, Stratford:This was the beginnings of what later became Queen Mary Hospital. Built originally about 1700, it is now a listed building. This is now being used as Newham Council’s Olympic 2012 offices and the Heritage Service.
*The Passmore-Edwards Institute & Museum, Stratford: Closed, so that the building could house a University of East London annexe, with the contents stored in the Stock Street, Plaistow. The institute closed in 1998.
*The Stock Street, Plaistow. The “Newham Heritage Service Archive”. Terry said: “The repository for all of our heritage, that is itself under threat. All of our heritage is hidden in a warehouse with no access for the public. It is high time it was retrieved, and displayed, for visitors to see.”
*The North Woolwich Old Station Museum, North Woolwich:The building was in use as a ticket office until 1979 when it was replaced by a more austere building on the one remaining platform. Closed in December 2006.
A petition to help save the Spotted Dog is available at http://stsd1.epetitions.net/.