Wes Kinghorn, post doctoral student in public history Urban consultant, and Assistant professor.
I was chair of the London Advisory Committee on Heritage, the LACH
The nurses building was such a, beautiful building and we were having a hard time understanding why they were differentiating that certain buildings could come down and others couldn’t and from the perspective of someone sitting on the LACH it wasn’t really clear what they were using as the criteria. SoI would say there was a frustration in general with heritage loss in the city at the time and this was just one of many efforts made at the time to try and at least, as you say, raise awareness
It had kind of a vibe of like a protest where you are basically picketing almost. we were walking and making our presence seen.
There was certainly some… arguments even among the heritage community about which ones needed to be saved and which ones were most important, and certainly there was definitely some debate in the local community because they were concerned mostly with the potential for a massive highrise obliterating what was there on site and suddenly being right across the street from very low rise. But, it has to be said, there were people in the neighbourhood of course, it’s a neighbourhood in transition at this moment. There were definitely people in the neighbourhood who were very supportive of seeing development happen on site, especially if it could be done in a way that integrated well with the neighbourhood which meant tall buildings were possible but perhaps they step towards the smaller buildings.
You know, when we designate buildings it’s always based on the intrinsic value of the building, not its appropriateness to development. So, we at the very least were saying why not preserve these things until there’s a plan in place and it’s shown that there absolutely is no way to do the current plan without taking down the building. Then there’s a conversation to be had. But this proactive removal of buildings for, you’ve seen the site there’s nothing happening there, this removal of buildings just to get them out of the way, and make it attractive to a developer is something that bothers the heritage community. Because it does, also, rob the opportunity for a developer who may want that building and may want to do something with it.