Astoundingly, it is eight years since the beautiful Clapton Federation Synagogue on Lea Bridge Road was demolished. And what has become of the bare site since? Not a lot. I took this photograph last autumn but, having checked the other morning, can report that it still looks exactly the same. Brown fencing and a gate have been erected at the front but apart from that, nothing visible.
This is a very sad thing. The synagogue had fallen into disuse but it was a truly lovely building, built in an art deco cinema style by Marcus Kenneth Glass. Harold Pinter, Lord Levy and sixties pop star Helen Shapiro all attended it in its time according to Lea Bridge Heritage. I used to like it that you could stand in the middle of the Lea Bridge roundabout and see a mosque, a synaogoge and church all at once - a neat encapsulation of a wide slice of local history. Not only has the building gone but nothing has been constructed in its place. Is this a case of landbanking or is there some more forgiveable explanation?
I wondered if the proposed redevelopment of the hotel at 47 Lea Bridge Road, next door to the ex-synagogue site, might bring it back to life. That was partly because the artist's impression on the flier advertising a recent public consultation event on plans to replace the hotel with 25 new homes could be interpreted as including the synagogue site as adjoining green space. But the consultation organiser - email@example.com - says that is not the case.
An application for the hotel redevelopment is expected to be submitted to the council soon. Any helpful thoughts on that or further information about the spot where the synagogue stood would be gratefully received.