[I]n a world obsessed with the throwaway culture, London has a few examples of recycling parts of its demolished iconic buildings, not to save them for posterity, you understand, but to maximise the developers’ profits.
An Inspired Idea
If you are going to demolish a Wren church you don’t wish to be perceived as a vandal, Oh No! So how can one give Londoners a symbol of your altruism? Why you preserve the spire of course, but where to re-erect such an historic structure, representing Resurgam as Wren coined it, restoring London to its former glory after the Great Fire. What better location can there be for the spire than a 1960’s housing estate in South-East London? Well that’s the fate of St. Antholin Church, first its spire was sold for £5, a bargain considering its Wren’s only stone spire and octagonal to boot, then for good measure demolishing the church 46 years later.
London Bridge in Hackney?
We have all enjoyed the anecdotal story of selling London Bridge for $2.5 million to the Americans so they could re-erect it at Lake Havasu City, Arizona, when they were under the impression it was Tower Bridge they were purchasing in order to plonk it in the middle of a desert. But what happened to London Bridge’s predecessor? Some of the stonework was incorporated in Adelaide House situated on the north side of the existing bridge, 49 Heathfield Road SW18 is built of the stuff, two stone alcoves grace Victoria Park in Hackney, while a third is to be found in the courtyard of Guys Hospital.
When the old Mawney Arms public house was transformed from a traditional spit and sawdust East London boozer into a Gastropub, the old interiors didn’t like most improvements these days end up in a skip. Complete with the original pub sign it ended its travels in Thailand at a place called Koh Samui. So if you are passing while on holiday and fancy a curry and a pint, it’s available on Thursday during the darts contest.
The grade II listed Baltic Exchange when damaged by an IRA bomb was dismantled piece by peace at a cost of £4milllion. In its place proudly stands the Erotic Gherkin (sorry the Swiss Re: Tower), a testament to modernity. In June 2006 an Estonian businessman while trawling the web for reclaimed flooring came across an advert for the Baltic Exchange being stored in a barn in Kent. Buying it for £800,000 he has shipped it in 49 containers to Central Tallinn, Estonia. All he has to do now is find what part goes where in his giant jigsaw.