The shabby remains of a Victorian funeral parlour in East London is to be restored to its original appearance following the awarding of a grant by the Heritage of London Trust.
Situated on the busy Commercial Road near Canary Wharf, the small building dated from the 19th-century and had been a funeral parlour owned by the same family right up to 2008. They sold the ongoing business, but the new owner stripped away the building’s unique Grade II listed façade and removed all its historic lettering. The local authority issued an enforcement notice but successive owners failed to act.
The ground floor of the building has been used as a small religious education centre until they moved out a couple of years ago, and the new owners of the building, Ash Rahman & Abs Shaid, secured a grant towards restoring the building’s facade to its former glory.
It won’t be a funeral parlour though, as it’s to be leased to a fast-food outlet that will keep their advertising signage inside the window, allowing the facade to be properly restored to its Victorian appearance. The Heritage of London Trust and Tower Hamlets council are now working with conservators to secure the building’s future.
Nichols Brothers (Woodturners) from Walthamstow, the last surviving historic wood turning family firm in London, will be making specialist detailing, such as the barley-twist pillars that have been removed illegally from the façade. Eskdale Restoration will be recreating the black and gold ‘Francis & C Walters’ sign that has been over the shop since it was first photographed in the 1850s. The bay window and doorway will be restored and the building’s upper sash windows. repaired.
Dr Nicola Stacey, Director, Heritage of London Trust, said: “We are thrilled to be rescuing this last of London’s iconic Victorian funeral parlours and helping support the East End’s historic character when so much of it is under threat. The building makes a really significant contribution to the area and we hope will encourage the preservation of other historic sites in the borough.”
The new restaurant will open at the end of February.
The new restaurant’s planning application for its internal hanging sign has a perfect spelling mistake in it though — for a former funeral parlour, they are seeking to install an “Infernal back lit window sign”.
Presumably, the burgers will be devilish.