Todays walk was based around illustrating the diversity of Architecture and environments that can be encountered in London within close proximity to each other;  The very old and the very new, the very run down and the newly developed and the busy and the quiet. One of the things I love about London is the history, everywhere has it’s story.

We started out at Moorgate and walked through Finsbury Circus to the Broadgate complex with its ice rink and the Richard Serra sculpture, which I think works really well with the colour and strength of the surrounding buildings. I have yet to visit the square at night when it must be at it’s most dramatic due to the grid of in-ground LED lighting strips designed by Peter Foggo of Arup Associates. The detailing of the benches and the quality of the paving is clean, slick and of enduring high quality.

Richard Serra sculpture at the entrance to Broadgate.

In-ground lighting, Broadgate

Bench detail, Broadgate

Planting detail, Broadgate

We then moved on to Spitalfields  which has been the site of a market since 1638 it now seems rather more gentrified than the original use for grazing cows and later as a market square for silk merchants and fruit and veg sellers. The name ‘Spittal’ could come from the hospital of ‘St. Mary Spittal that was on the site in 1200.

View through Spitalfields market.

Sculpture outside Spitalfields

Bunny sculpture outside Spitalfields

Red church sculpture outside Spitalfields

We then moved on to Brick lane via Spitalfields City Farm. Brick lane;  Brick lane is so named because the earth here was a good quality for  brick making and it was from here that bricks were made to help rebuild London after the great Fire. It was first a home to Huguenot settlers and later the Jewish Community. Now the old Truman Brewery at 91 Brick Lane houses a busy weekend market.

Old Truman brewery Brick Lane

Moving on from Brick Lane we arrived at Arnold Circus, which in the 1800’s had been the site of one of London’s worst slums. The mound in the middle of Arnold Circus is all that remains of the old slums that were demolished in 1890 to make way for new flats that were to be built by the newly formed London City Council.

View from the top of the mound in Arnold Circus

Next stop was Hackney City Farm.  The farm has been open for 20 years and gives the local community an opportunity to experience farming. They offer activities such as food growing, pottery, upholstery and bee keeping. It is one of the prettier City farms in London (that I have seen so far. The others being Spitalfields and Vauxhall City Farms)

Chickens at Hackney City Farm

Stables at the farm

The walk ended at Gillett Square in Dalston. The square was developed in partnership with Hackney co-operative developments, Ground work East London, Hackney Council and Design for London. The Landscape Architects of this space were Whitelaw Turkington and the Architectural team of Hawkins/Brown and Stock Woolsterncroft.  Apparently the development going on in Dalston is generally supposed to be built around Jane Jacobs’  four main precepts for successful towns/neighbourhoods, these being: Mixed use, small blocks, old buildings and density. In general the materiality of the square is very nice, Interesting lamp posts and of course, the Snug, which is flexible play equipment bought with funds from the ‘Making Space in Dalston’ program.

Container for the 'Snug' play equipment

Lamp posts next to the Vortex Jazz Club

View across Gillett Square

Unfortunately, when we were there there was nothing going on and the square was deserted, which didn’t speak much to it’s success as a vibrant public space, however perhaps it comes alive in the evenings and weekends.


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