Saving Spitalfields : the politics of opposition to redevelopment in East London
This thesis is an examination of the opposition to the redevelopment of a fruit and vegetable wholesale market in Spitalfields, east London. I argue that such opposition has not received the attention it deserves in the literature on urban redevelopment. The thesis examines the origins and establishment of the Campaign to Save Spitalfields from the Developers, and examines its discourse in order to ascertain where the roots of the Campaign's opposition lay. After outlining the methodology used in the research, the history of the market is examined within the context of the Spitalfields area. Previous plans for redevelopment are discussed and attention then focusses on plans put forward in 1986. The role of the City of London Corporation, the government and the Spitalfields Development Group are explored and stress is laid on the ways in which these three institutions portrayed redevelopment as a mechanism for inner city renewal, for the benefit of all interested parties. The Campaign to Save Spitalfields from the Developers is then studied, looking at its make-up and its arguments over the impact of redevelopment on Spitalfields. Its origins within the local Labour Party and the local voluntary sector are traced and the influence of these bodies on the Campaign in terms of its arguments and ideas on redevelopment are illustrated. The ways in which the Campaign represented redevelopment in the area are then discussed. The portrayal of Spitalfields as a multicultural community area and immigrant area are discussed, and the images the Campaign constructed of the City of London and of the likely face of Spitalfields examined. I argue that these representations are important in elucidating a reason for the Campaign's opposition. I then examine these representations of Spitalfields in the light of the Campaign's claims to representativeness. I examine the ways in which the Campaign dealt with the emergence of another group in the area, and indicate what I understand to be the sources of the Campaign's discomfort with this group. I conclude by arguing for further study of opposition movements that emerge to protest against urban redevelopment, and by arguing for an intensive qualitative research methodology.