East End pubs have cause for celebration after Tower Hamlets identified 37 venues, almost a third of the borough’s pubs it wants to list as assets of local importance, granting them protection from developers.
The listing gives the protection to buildings which are not considered to have enough historical value to be registered by Historic England, meaning developers wanting to build around them will have to ensure they preserve the pub and its characteristics.
Tower Hamlets is believed to be the first local authority in the country to offer protection to dozens of pubs at the same time and said it wanted to protect them because “public houses have been an important focus for community life and interaction for centuries”.
Among those set to be locally listed are The Ship Inn, which Isambard Kingdom Brunel is said to have drunk at when building the Great Eastern steamship at Burrells Wharf, The Bow Bells, whose haunted bathrooms have attracted ghost hunters globally, and The Marquis of Cornwallis, said to be a favourite with Sixties gangsters.
Ann Sutcliffe, of Tower Hamlets council, said: “The local list will ensure that heritage assets are protected so they can be enjoyed by future generations.”
Nik Antona, CAMRA’s National Chairman said: “It is fantastic to hear that Tower Hamlets has taken concrete steps to protect 35 historic pubs across East End. Pubs play a hugely important role to our heritage, well-being and national economy– from stunning architectural designs that have stood the test of time, to street-corner locals that still offer a communal space for local people to meet and make friends.
“Using local listings is an innovative way to give pubs extra protection and sets an example that other local authorities may wish to follow. The pub and beer industry supports nearly 900,000 jobs across the UK and contributes £23.6bn to our economy – their importance simply cannot be overstated.”