Useless London #3 – The Tower, Colliers Wood


H TOW R - sums it up really

Originally called The Lyon Tower but known throughout my childhood as the Brown & Root Building, this monstrosity is now known simply as THE TOWER.  A slightly menacing name for what can only be described as a menacing presence on what is soon to be called Colliers Wood Island, but in reality is a crap one way system.  On a couple of occasions over recent years, Mrs Cabbie has seriously suggested we move to Colliers Wood, one stop south of my beloved Tooting Broadway on the northern line.  But really, why would you want to?  At the risk of adding Colliers Wood residents to the legions of Ronan Keating fans that already hate me, why on earth would I want to move just down the road to end up in the shadow of that thing?  Many of you may have seen it on the Channel 4 programme Demolition or the feature on BBC London News where THE TOWER got voted London’s most hated building.  And in a survey by the local borough, Merton, 86% of residents described it as the worst thing about living in Colliers Wood – quite what was worse for the other 14% doesn’t bear thinking about, but I think I’m on safe ground having a bit of a dig at THE TOWER.

the-tower-iii1A bit like St Pancras Station, but for completely opposite reasons, I’d avoided talking about this place as it is so obviously crap and didn’t seem to need my help to advertise that crapness.  But after Mrs Cabbie inadvertently locked out the whole Cabbie Family yesterday, we went for our planned bike ride along the Wandle to meet our saviour, aka father-in-law Cabbie, at Colliers Wood Station to get a spare set of keys.  And there it was in all it’s glorious crapness on a slightly chilly, slightly damp bank holiday Monday.  What self respecting blogger could ignore it’s inverse charms?  And so here it is in all it’s, er, glory.

If any of you have clicked the link above that takes you to the Colliers Wood Island development website, you will see that plans are afoot for this building.  I just don’t hold out a great deal of hope that it will ever quite happen.  This is one of those sites in London that will be forever blighted, my mood of pessimism not being helped by learning that The Lyon Tower when first built had to be knocked down after it got 3 storeys high because of a design flaw.  Just a shame they bothered building it properly again at all really.



9 thoughts on “Useless London #3 – The Tower, Colliers Wood

    • Who the hell actually designed it – and who approved it?
      What was it like to work in – imagine heading there on a grey January Monday morning? Nice!

  1. I can think of a few to add as well, in particular the newly laid plans for Walthamstow Central tube station car park. What’s that? they’ve been thrown out for being crap. Wonders will never cease. Viva East London

  2. There is indeed a long-standing story/excuse that because the Northern Line is under the tower, the tower can’t be demolished. We have yet to see any hard evidence to support this.

    Assuming the council manages to serve a Section 215 Notice (see link above) on Golfrate, the owners, then it is going to cost them *a lot* of money to stop the masonry crumbling, as anyone who looks at it close up will be able to confirm. I could imagine that they will need to clad the whole building to keep water away from the existing surface, because this is presumably what is causing the concrete to spall. This would of course give the opportunity to make the building look a lot less horrible (note I didn’t say “nicer”!). Or they could just cut their losses and demolish it… but there’s would be a lot of stuff to cart away.

    It may be that they want to keep the shell because they wouldn’t be allowed to build a replacement that high, it being so out of place in the area. I don’t know what planning laws would have to say about this. But Golfrate don’t seem to want to let go of it unless they get planning permission for an awful lot of flats on the site, which is where the money is.

    Colliers Wood’s a nice area apart from The Tower, with a lot of things going including a community choir that is so popular that prospective members have been known to be slightly vague about their addresses in order to jump the waiting list, rather like some have been known to do to get their children into the best school!

  3. Howdy, I uncovered this website by mistake when I was searching on Google then I popped in to your website. I must tell you that your web site is interesting I love your theme! At this moment I dont have a lot of free time at the moment to go through your website web sitebut I have bookmarked it. I will come back in a day or two. Thanks for a great site.

  4. Is there any truth in the rumour that (because of the concrete/steel mix) this building is just too expensive to demolish? I heard that years ago. I’m no architect so shoot me down in flames but it looks from the artists impression that the original shell may be retained.

    • Think you’re right Mr Watts, from the look of the new plans it seems that they are keeping the shell of the old building. It really looked at it’s worst on Monday, not that it really has a best either.

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