Sunday 8 February 2015

David vs Goliath - the story of Wickham vs Spiegelhalters, AND Boris vs Lutfur

the modern exterior of the old Wickham vs Spiegelhalters buildings

Many residents may already be familiar with the story of Wickham vs Spiegelhalters, but for those of you who haven't heard it, Ian Nairn in Nairn's London (1966) puts it thus:

"Messrs Wickham, circa 1920, wanted an emporium. Messrs Spiegelhalter, one infers, wouldn't sell out. Messrs Wickham, one infers further, pressed on regardless, thereby putting their Baroque tower badly out of centre. Messrs Spiegelhalter ('The East End Jewellers') remain; two stucco'd storeys, surrounded on both sides by giant columns à la Selfridges. The result is one of the best visual jokes in London, a perennial triumph for the little man, the bloke who won't conform. May he stay there till the Bomb falls."
The Save Spiegelhalters Campaign seeks to preserve this loveable East End shopfront. You can support the campaign by signing the petition at It only takes a few seconds.

Just a few hundred metres east along the road it seems a second monument to the little man is about to take shape. Boris Johnson's Cycle Superhighways aim to transform cycling in London, with one route whisking cyclists all the way from Bow Roundabout to Paddington along segregated cycle lanes. Well there is one exception: a 30 metre patch of this marathon-like route, just beside the Ocean Estate is unsegregated. Why? Well it seems the mighty Boris, Mayor of London and his Goliath TfL are scared of taking on the modern day David that is Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of the Tower Hamlets. All we're talking is a 30m x 2m strip of land.

Map showing the unsegregated section of CS2U
The unsegregated section lies between the "l" and "n" of "Mile End" in the map above. you might need a magnifying glass.

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