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Paticas 'Stairway to Heaven' war memorial back on track

Paticas Architecture's Bethnal Green tube station memorial, honouring the 173 people who lost their lives there during World War II, looks back on track.

The project was in doubt after London Underground (LUL) raised health and safety concerns, despite the 'Stairway to Heaven Memorial' being given the green light by Tower Hamlets Council.

LUL had particular concerns over how the memorial would overhang the station entrance, potentially affecting the stairwell's 'operational safety', and it called for the memorial to be located elsewhere ( London Underground blocks 'Stairway to Heaven' war memorial ).

However, after letters from prime minister Gordon Brown and former PM Tony Blair expressed their support for the scheme, LUL has agreed to sit down and work out how to take the scheme forward.

In his letter, Brown said: 'I of course understand your wish to have a memorial erected in time for the 65th anniversary of the disaster and hope that a way can be found to reconcile the [Stairway to Heaven Memorial] Trust's aspirations with London Underground's responsibility to ensure the safety of today's public.'

Harry Paticas, principal of Paticas Architecture, and Bethnal Green station have warmly welcomed LUL's U-turn.

Paticas said: 'With the age of many survivors and people connected to the disaster being in their 70s there is a sense of urgency to realise the project.

'So at present the trust does not want to consider other options. As LUL is keen to engage more actively we hope to meet soon to progress the design and hopefully allay any lingering concerns they have - notwithstanding the 60-page health and safety report we have already issued.

'As well as acting as a memorial for the tragic event, this project will form part of the heritage of the East End and become a key landmark on one of the Olympic routes,' Paticas added.

by Richard Vaughan

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