IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Wave of protest to save radio factory

Neighbours launch campaign as historic former A.C. Cossor building faces demolition threat

06 October, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Malika Takhtayev, May Shelton, Rachel Fox and Amanda Lambert near the Melody Lane factory

NEIGHBOURS of a factory where the iconic Melody Maker radios were first manufactured have made a last-ditch attempt to prevent the site being demolished.

Workers at the former A.C. Cossor factory in Melody Lane produced the radio sets and some of the country’s first televisions.

During the Second World War the factory also produced critical receiving units and operator displays for the air defence radar network.

But the owner of the site, off Highbury Grove, now wants to bulldoze the factory and build seven homes and a basement for a business.

The former A.C. Cossor factory, off Highbury Grove

“The building has great historical significance and we think it should be preserved,” said May Shelton, 39, whose house backs onto the factory.

“There’s nothing wrong with the current building, and after it’s demolished the space is going to remain a storage facility but with luxury homes. The current building can provide valuable work spaces.”

Other residents living near the factory, which is currently owned by Highbury Self Storage, believe it should be turned into a museum to highlight its historical significance.

Another neighbour, Amanda Lambert, 51, said: “We’ve asked the site owner to consult and meet us and go over the plans and the strategy. but they haven’t.”

The future of the site will be decided at a planning meeting at the Town Hall on Monday with officials recommending that the application is granted.

One of the radios produced at A.C. Cossor. PHOTO: HUMBERAMA

In a bid to stop that happening, the Tribune understands an objector has applied for the building to be listed by Historic England. Listed status would provide a further hurdle for the developers to overcome.

The future of a second A.C. Cossor factory, Ladbroke House, also off Highbury Grove, is also in doubt after the Department for Education purchased the site for £33.5million last year.

Alfred Charles Cossor moved his company and production line from Farringdon Road to Highbury Grove in 1918 and launched the successful Melody Maker radio nine years later. His company became the first to sell television sets in 1936.

The owner of Highbury Self Storage could not be reached for comment but architects working on the proposals said in paperwork filed at the Town Hall: “The proposal would be sensibly laid out, would continue the existing backland pattern of development and general scale, and would be visually subordinate to the frontage buildings on Highbury Grove to maintain the mews-style character of Melody Lane. The proposed accommodation would be fit for purpose, and the residential units would offer a high standard of residential amenity.”

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