Holborn Studios saved from demolition threat

PUBLISHED: 12:42 21 May 2014

Holborn Studios, Eagle Wharf Road, Hackney.

Holborn Studios, Eagle Wharf Road, Hackney.


An iconic Hoxton photographic studio - where the likes of music moguls Madonna, David Bowie and even the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher, were captured on film - has been saved from the imminent threat of demolition.

Holborn Studios, Eagle Wharf Road, Hackney. Holborn Studios, Eagle Wharf Road, Hackney.

Hackney Council has added Holborn Studios to its local heritage list, meaning weight will be given to the heritage value of the old industrial building, which boasts a Victorian chimney, when assessing any planning application.


Local listing does not remove permitted development rights and does not afford the same level of protection as the statutory listing process.

But locally listed buildings within conservation areas – like Holborn Studios – are protected from demolition in the future.

In 2012 the future of the site in Eagle Wharf Road looked uncertain when its owner, Gold Property Developments (GPD), announced they wanted to replace the old buildings there with a restaurant, flats and “state-of-the art commercial space” geared up to the expanding Tech City creative industries based nearby around Old Street’s “Silicon Roundabout”.

Vince McCartney, who set up what is now Europe’s largest photographic studio hire complex 23 years ago, said he was “hugely relieved” at the council’s move for everyone who worked on the site, including his two sons who now run it.

Another 20 companies have offices there including the Daily Mirror, Open Fundraising, and the Norrie Carr child modelling agency, along with computer games developers, film and digital film production companies, online fashion and PR companies.

The move has also put an end to 18 months of uncertainty for canal campaigners, who had feared the heritage of the Regent’s Canal could be swept away with the demolition of the historic building.

Ian Shacklock, chairman of Friends of Regents Canal, said: “Many of us feared that Hackney Council officers would swallow the bait and allow these historic buildings and vibrant local businesses to be swept aside.

“Instead they took action to protect our landscape against further threats.”

GPD declined to comment.

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