Residents First

Tower Hamlets People Network





Possibly as a result of my second Open Letter to Owen Whalley (Tower Hamlets Head of Planning), the Council’s EnvironmentAL Impact Assessment Officer has considered whether or not Peabody’s proposed demolition requires an EIA.


According to EIA regulations, the demolition site must be in excess of half a hectare and contain one or more nationally listed buildings. The site at 22-28 Underwood Road fails on both counts, so the Council cannot require Peabody to carry out an EIA.

22 & 24 Underwood Road


It is more than likely that by 19 October this EIA ‘screening opinion’ will be issued with the Council’s approval of Peabody’s proposed demolition of all the buildings at 22-28 Underwood Road.


This will allow Peabody to go ahead with a totally non-democratic process including a so-called second public consultation in early November, quickly followed by the actual demolition of all the buildings and the submission of their planning application for the proposed redevelopment of the cleared site.

All the more reason to go on demanding that they keep and convert the two ‘cottages’ at 22 & 24 Underwood Road as part of the residential redevelopment – in line with the Council’s own 2008 planning statement (see Campaign Newsletter 11 October 2011) and growing public opinion:

  • Please write to Owen Whalley ([email protected]) asking him and his colleagues to at least recognise the historic importance of the two ‘cottages’ and do all that they can to persuade Peabody that the two ‘cottages’ should not be demolished and that their conversion to residential use should be included in Peabody’s forthcoming planning application. (Please send us a copy.)
  • Please write to Stephen Howlett ([email protected]) in support of Dr Sharman Kadish’s suggestion to keep and convert the two ‘cottages’, see Campaign Newsletter 11 October 2011. (Please send us a copy.)
  • Please sign and encourage others to sign our online petition, see Campaign Newsletter 11 October 2011.
  • Please attend and demand the retention and conversion of 22 & 24 Underwood Road at Peabody’s early November public consultation at the Osmani Centre, Underwood Road.

Although the two small ‘cottages’ are not nationally or locally listed they are unique and distinctive buildings and would represent the only surviving former Jewish maternity hospital in England and the pioneering achievements of Alice Model MBE.


The first Jewish maternity hospital, also in the East End, was established in the 17th or 18th century in Mile End Road as a lying-in hospital and hospital for poor Sephardic Jewish women. It changed into a home for the aged and infirm and it was for this purpose only that the sole surviving building was built 1912-13. Listed Grade 2 in 2010, this building was not a ‘hospital and alms houses for Sephardic Jews’ as stated incorrectly by English Heritage in its letter of 23 April 2010.


The London Jewish Hospital in Stepney Green was demolished in the 1980s. The former Jewish maternity hospital is therefore also the only surviving former Jewish hospital in East London.


Tower Hamlets is fortunate to have the listed former Jewish old people’s home in Mile End Road (now Albert Stern House) and the former Jewish soup kitchen in Spitalfields. We must therefore keep at least two small buildings from the former Jewish maternity hospital as an essential part of the built evidence of the Jewish East End.


TOM RIDGE (0208 981 7361)

October 21st, 2011

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