Listed buildings and locally listed buildings

Statutory listed buildings are designated by the government's Department of Culture, Media and Sport and are classified into three grades, I, II* and II.

  • Grade I - buildings of exceptional national interest. Tower Hamlets has 13, including the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and Christ Church Spitalfields.
  • Grade II* - buildings of more than special interest. There are about 40 in Tower Hamlets, including Wapping Hydraulic Pumping Station.
  • Grade II - buildings of special interest. There are around 2,000 of these in Tower Hamlets.

Alterations to listed buildings

Listed buildings have their character and appearance protected by a special type of planning permission called listed building consent. If you want to alter a listed building, either internally or externally, you need to make an application for listed building consent. It is a criminal offence to make an unauthorised alteration affecting the special character of a listed building without consent. The council has enforcement powers to reverse unauthorised alterations. 

Find out if a building is listed

To find out if a building is listed, you can search our interactive map or Historic England’s National Heritage List for England. See the map user guide for guidance on how to use the interactive map.

Tower Hamlets Local List

What is a Local List?

The Tower Hamlets Local List identifies locally important heritage assets that are valued by the local community. These are known as ‘non-designated heritage assets’ and include buildings, a structure or feature, which whilst not statutorily listed by the Secretary of State for its national importance, is felt by the council to be of local importance due to its architectural, historical and townscape significance.

Buildings are added to the local list in recognition of their value as irreplaceable historic assets which contribute to the quality of the local environment by enhancing the street scene and sustaining a sense of distinctiveness. Groups of buildings that contribute significantly to the appearance of a street are also eligible for inclusion on the Local List.

What does it mean to be on the Local List?

The purpose of the Local List is to ensure that care is taken over decisions affecting the future of these buildings, structures or features, and that their special status is taken fully into account. Alterations should respect the particular character and interest of the heritage asset, and any works carried out should use appropriate materials and retain any features of architectural or historic interest.

It is not necessary to apply for Listed Building Consent for works to a locally listed building. The usual planning controls apply, but the special interest of these buildings will be a consideration when deciding planning applications.

Some works may not require planning permission but should still be carefully considered. The removal of historic features or details can not only harm the special interest of the locally listed building but can also adversely affect its value. Research has shown that buildings which retain their historic features in good order hold their value better than those which have been unsympathetically altered.

The adopted Local List

The Local List provides up-to-date information about non-designated heritage assets that exist within Tower Hamlets. There are currently 169 locally listed buildings and 44 locally listed war memorials within the Borough. Information on these assets is available by clicking on the links below:

The location of locally listed buildings can also be seen on the our interactive maps page