London

Campaign to preserve London's 'Oliver Twist' workhouse

Campaigners are celebrating a "major milestone" in the fight to save a London workhouse thought to have inspired the work of Charles Dickens.

The Cleveland Street Workhouse Group (CSWG) wants the 18th Century building in Fitzrovia - earmarked for demolition - to be given listed status.

It claims a positive English Heritage report acknowledges its "historical and architectural" contribution to London.

A government statement said a decision "will be taken in due course".

According to campaigners the former Strand Union Workhouse was built in 1775 and is the best preserved Georgian-era workhouse in central London.

Residential development

Dickens is understood to have lived a few doors away from the building for nearly five years, in his formative years.

Camden Council is currently considering a planning application to turn the site into a private residential development.

The CSWG has called on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to list the building and Camden Council to reject its proposed demolition on the grounds that it is of great historical and architectural importance.

It claims the report by English Heritage, released to the DCMS, "clearly expressed its considered opinion that the workhouse should be listed".

In recognition of this supporters plan to hold a celebration outside the property on Thursday night.

John Penrose MP, Minister for Tourism and Heritage at the DCMS, will have the final say on the decision to list the building.

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