19 Princelet Street

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Tassaduq Ahmed MBE Tassaduq Ahmed
1923-2001

The article as it appeared in the paper.

East End Life

15/07/02

Time catching up with our house of history

by Jessica Odubayo

AN historic museum and synagogue at 19 Princelet Street in Spitalfields have been placed on an 'at risk' register as being among the UK's most threatened yet important historic assets.

English Heritage released the 12th edition of the Greater London Buildings at Risk Register last week, giving details of structures that are under threat from neglect, decay or redundancy.

Also added to it this year is the Braithwaite Viaduct and surrounding railway vaults, in Bishopsgate Goodsyard.

The Spitalfields Centre, a Huguenot house built in 1719 with a Victorian Synagogue built at the rear in 1869, is said to be the last of its kind and one of the ten most important Jewish Heritage sites in the country.

The grade II* listed building, with a coloured glass roof, also serves as a museum of immigration and diversity.

It has serious structural problems and is under threat of falling into disrepair. Steel props have been installed to keep the building upright but an estimated 3 million is needed to keep the project running.

Philip Black, a volunteer and member of the advisory board at the Spitalfields Centre, said inclusion of the project on the register sent an important signal to funding bodies. Politicians and press today focus on refugees and migrants and the challenges of making a fair and equal multicultural society for all, he said.

Yet right now, this unique place that explores our shared histories and reminds us all that Britain has for centuries been a country of settlement - of welcoming the stranger -is under threat.

Centre chair Susie Symes said: This project is for everyone. Those who have recently arrived and those who want to understand more about the cultural and ethnic diversity of Britain. It is a place to celebrate diversity, to build understanding through education and bringing people together.