Monday, October 20, 2008

New Cross Column to be Moved?


Transport for London is applying for planning permission to move the ventilation column on the traffic island at the junction of Queens Road and New Cross Road. As part of a new traffic scheme, the plan is to widen the pavement outside the White Hart pub and put the pillar there. At the same time the railings and old public toilet signs would be removed, and the existing island would be no more (though there would still be a smaller one).



The pillar is actually a Grade II listed building, and for good reason. It is a Ventilation Pipe to the now closed underground public toilets built in 1897 by Greenwich Board of Works. The column is of an Egyptian pattern and was designed by the Scottish architect Alexander 'Greek' Thomson. The design was first used for six lamp standards outside his Egyptian Halls, Glasgow. The pillars were cast in the Saracen Foundry of Walter Macfarlane & Co. in Glasgow. Alongside a similar pipe nearby in Clifton Rise this is believed to be the only example of the architect's work in England. I agree that something needs to be done about the traffic - the road between the island and the White Hart is dangerous because it is confusing which direction the traffic is coming from. But the pillar is integral to its present location with the railings and toilet signs, which it would be a shame to lose. It would be far better to look at reopening the toilets or even using them for something else - underground toilets have been converted for all kinds of use across London and beyond.
You can check out the details here at Lewisham Planning's site but you only have a couple of days to express your views - the closing date is 22nd October. You can submit your view to planning@lewisham.gov.uk, the reference is DC/08/69826.

5 comments:

Deptford Dame said...

There is an interesting post on Faded London about stink pipes, but no examples as good as this one!
http://faded-london.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Sadly those kind of toilets in London are only used for cottaging or worse - which will make whatever kind of slap and tickle going on in the pub opposite, that you've decided you're going to be offended about, pretty tame in comparison.

Transpontine said...

There are still fully functioning underground public toilets in some parts of London, but that's not the only option, there are also bars, hairdressers etc. based in former toilets. Southwark Council have recently put similar toilets in Bermondsey on the market. Maybe these ones aren't suitable, but have TfL/Lewisham explored all options. As for the White Hart opposite I am not offended by people taking their clothes off - or cottaging for that matter - I am opposed to a pub becoming effectively a pay to enter club catering pretty much exclusively for blokes.

Lewisham wayward said...

I've been past an old underground toilet in Whitechapel that's been converted into an indian restaurant. Perhaps New Cross could have something similarly imaginative?

Anonymous said...

I think even I would be offended if, when going for a pee, I found myself in the middle of a full-on cottage. Whatever you're up for, I guess...