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maggie blake's cause

picture: maggie blake's cause 2007 (infed.org)Maggie Blake's Cause is an alleyway connecting Shad Thames with the riverfront. Named after a local community activist it represents a significant victory - public access to the riverside in front of a section of Butler's Wharf.

The main Butlers Wharf building was built between 1871-73. It is the largest and most densely packed group of Victorian warehouses left in London. With the development of mechanical handling and containerization it fell into disuse with the last ship berthing in 1972. During the early 1970s it briefly hosted a number of studios. Both David Hockney and Andrew Logan, had their studios in the area but Butlers Wharf was becoming derelict. In 1981, Sir Terence Conran, with his architectural practice Conran Roche and various business partners made a bid for mixed use redevelopment which won approval from the LDDC. This included moving the Boilerhouse Project at the Victoria & Albert Museum to a new the Design Museum at Shad Thames. The Conran group focused on the waterfront, developing six buildings: the Butlers Wharf Building (with significant restaurant space, expensive apartments and some other office and commercial use) , and the renamed Cardamom, Clove, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Coriander warehouses. Back from the river, other architects and developers converted derelict space and Victorian warehouses into and commercial complexes. With the property downturn in the early 1990s there was a gap in development - but by mid-decade a further wave of development took place.

Maggie Blake, along with other activists wanted to ensure that local people and the general public could walk freely along the south bank of the Thames. The developers wanted to restrict such movement - in particular so that the space could be exploited for commercial purposes (largely eating).

 
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