9 August 2006
Clapton Synagogue lies in ruins, the
latest casualty of a developer's feeding frenzy which now passes for
regeneration in the borough of Hackney.
The synagogue, which features in
Nikolaus Pevsner's famous work of reference for architectural historians
"The Buildings of England", was a locally listed building and was being
considered by English Heritage for national listing.
Built in 1931, the only London example
of the work of architect Marcus Glass, the building was a lasting
testament to the Jewish families who contributed to the beautiful
decoration of its interior.
In the surrounding streets lived many
Jewish families, some of whom were to go on to make a major impact on
the life of the nation. Amongst them were Sir Jack Cohen, the founder of
Tesco, and Harold Pinter, the world famous dramatist.
Now the building has been razed to the
ground. Where are the synagogue's library of valuable books rescued from
the Nazi book burnings? Where are the stained glass windows,
chandeliers, and the ornate and wonderful Ark. All torn out by an owner
eager to profit from building another mediocre multi-storey block of
The demolition of Clapton Synagogue
heralds the beginning of what threatens to be Hackney's Olympic legacy -
the destruction of identity and character and the eradication of
Ickburgh Road, E5