PRESS RELEASE: SAVE backs plan for new City of London heritage zone – and urges boundary expansion to include Aldgate Underground Station

The curved range of Portsoken House, completed 1927-28 (Credit: SAVE Britain’s Heritage)
The curved range of Portsoken House, completed 1927-28 (Credit: SAVE Britain’s Heritage)

Public consultation underway for first new Conservation Area in 20 years – add your views by 6th November

2nd November 2023

SAVE Britain’s Heritage has today submitted a detailed report supporting plans by the City of London Corporation to designate a new Conservation Area between Creechurch, Leadenhall and Aldgate in the east of The City. Our report joins other statements of support from architectural experts and heritage organisations which would see the designation of the first new Conservation Area in the City for more than two decades.

The creation of a new heritage zone would highlight the architectural importance and history of these streets and buildings, and also provide much needed guidance and policy to developers and buildings owners for new development within the zone. In addition, it would remove ‘permitted development’ rights meaning owners would not be able to demolish unlisted buildings without planning permission.

We support ‘Option 3’ put forward by Alec Forshaw and Esther Robinson Wild, and also urge the city planners to go further by including a range of important historic buildings in and around Aldgate High Street which currently have no protection or recognition under the planning system – as well as Aldgate Underground Station – with its remarkable Victorian train shed and much loved historic frontage.

Other heritage organisations including The Twentieth Century Society, The Georgian Group, The Victorian Society and Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings are also supporting the new Conservation Area.

The deadline for comments to the public consultation is 6th November 2023. Please write to The City Corporation expressing your views using the online portal or by email to

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Image: The 1926 frontage of Aldgate Underground Station, which is a key landmark SAVE has proposed for inclusion in the new Conservation Area [Photo: SAVE Britain's Heritage]

Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage said: “This a rare opportunity to give a previously overlooked network of historic streets and buildings long overdue recognition and protection in The City. The creation of a new Conservation Area will encourage sympathetic and well-designed new development that enhances and reveals the character of these streets. We welcome this - and urge the planners to go further and include Aldgate Underground Station as well as historic buildings in and around Aldgate High Street.”

Ben Dewfield-Oakley, conservation officer for SAVE Britain’s Heritage, said: “This part of London is teeming with history and quality architecture which reflects the social development of Aldgate and Creechurch since Roman times. The City Corporation is rightly looking to safeguard the area’s unusual low scale character by designating its first new conservation area in years, a move which will help promote heritage and sympathetic development as the area changes over time.”

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Left: The Aldgate Pump in 1847, with its original stone basin and ornate wrought iron lantern, both of which were removed in the early 20th century | Right: Modern day view looking eastwards from the Aldgate Pump into the proposed Creechurch Conservation Area and fellow listed landmarks including St Botolph without Aldgate (Credit: both Wikipedia Commons)

The proposed Conservation Area seeks to recognise the importance and contribution of the area’s many listed buildings, including the outstanding significance of Bevis Marks Synagogue, grade I listed and the oldest operating synagogue in Europe. Other buildings proposed to be included include the grade I-listed Georgian Church of St Botolph-without-Aldgate, grade II* listed Holland House on Bury Street – as striking on the inside as it is on the outside – and the grade II listed Aldgate School on Aldgate Place Square, the only state school in the Square Mile.

Built in 1757, Bevis Marks Synagogue is one of most significant buildings in the proposed Conservation Area, recognising the many layers of social, architectural and archaeological heritage which make this area so special. Of particular importance is the cultural association of this area with the Sephardic Jewish Community which first settled in Aldgate in the 18th century and once boasted three synagogues, two of which were lost in the Second World War.

In 2019 and 2021 SAVE objected to harmful proposals for a 47 storey tower just one block away from the Synagogue. The tower would have drastically overshadowed the synagogue, which was deliberately designed with windows to all elevations to maximise light into the historic interior.  Planning Committee councillors subsequently refused the plans in October 2021.

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Image: Bevis Marks Synagogue dates from 1757 and is grade I Listed. It was designed with windows to all elevations to maximise light into the historic interior (Credit: SAVE Britain’s Heritage)

Aldgate Underground Station is a key landmark SAVE has proposed for inclusion in the new Conservation Area.  The distinctive frontage building is by Charles Walter Clark built in 1925-26 and exhibits the classic white faience tiling which is familiar from other Metropolitan Line stations in London, including Paddington, Willesden Green and Farringdon, which are all Grade II listed. Aldgate’s great cast iron trainshed behind the frontage was built by the Metropolitan Railway in 1876 as its new terminus station and was retained when the frontage building was rebuilt in the 1920s. Despite its clear historic importance, the station currently benefits from no heritage status or protection.

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Image: The unlisted Victorian terrace along the south side of Aldgate High Street (73-78) which SAVE has proposed for inclusion in the new conservation area (Credit: SAVE Britain’s Heritage)

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Left: Historic photograph of 76 and 78 Aldgate High Street which once house the former Rose & Crown Public House | Right: 1 Minories which spans the wide corner with Aldgate High Street (Credit: SAVE Britain’s Heritage)


Notes to Editors:

1. Read our full submission report and boundary proposal HERE

2. Full details of the public consultation can be found online HERE

  1. For more information contact Elizabeth Hopkirk at / 020 7253 3500
  2. SAVE Britain’s Heritage is an independent voice in conservation that fights for threatened historic buildings and sustainable reuses. We stand apart from other organisations by bringing together architects, engineers, planners and investors to offer viable alternative proposals. Where necessary, and with expert advice, we take legal action to prevent major and needless losses.

Documents (click to read/download)