Open House London, which runs from 21 - 22 September, is a unique opportunity to explore and learn more about architecture and design in London. More than 800 buildings will open their doors across the capital, including 46 in Hackney.
Below is a list of buildings in Hackney participating in Open House London 2013.
15 Buckingham Road, N1.
52 Whitmore Road, N1
147 De Beauvoir Road, N1
Circus Space, N1
Ed's Shed/Sunken/Sunken House N1
Hoxton Hall, N1
The Castle Climbing Centre, N4
Growing Communities' eco classroom, N16
151 Church Walk, N16
Clissold House, N16
Stoke Newington Town Hall, N16
The Studio, N16
Waddington Studios, N16
24 Bateman's Row, EC2A
30 Crown Place, EC2A
Haggerston School, E2
Self-built straw bale building, Hackney City Farm, E2
Restored historic almshouse at Geffrye Museum, E2
Suleymaniye Mosque, E2
The Bridge Academy, E2
Clapton Girl's Academy, E5
Round Chapel, E5
Mossbourne Community Academy, E5
71 Greenwood Road, E5
74 Amhurst Road, E8
Arcola Theatre, E8
Dalston CLR James Library and Archives, E8
Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, E8
Hackney Empire, E8
Hackney Town Hall, E8
Kingsland Basin Moorings, E8
Levitt Bernstein Office, E8
Rooftop @ Émigré Studios, E8
St Augustine's Tower, E8
St Joseph's Hospital, E8
Cardinal Pole Catholic School, E9
Gingerbread House, E9
Hackney Marshes Centre, E9
Sutton House, E9
The 'Framehouse', E9
The Urswick School, E9
Village Underground, E9
Hackney Wick and Fish Island, various
I am starting to get a little bit worried about my VT tips in relation to the East End of London. I have been writing a few tips lately and they all seem to have concerned murders, gangsters, serial killers and all sorts of unsavoury things. Let me just put on record that I live in the East End and don't feel worried about that at all, I love it there. It is no more dangerous than anywhere else and, anyway, most of the murders are well over 100 years old.
This tip concerns a lovely old East End pub, where I drink regularly. Oh, and four murders. the pub in question is the White Hart in Whitechapel (not to be confused with the nearby White Hart @ 1, Mile End Road) and a man called George Chapman.
Chapman, whose proper name was Severin Klosowski was an immigrant, like so many in the area, in the late 19th century and was, in 1888, a suspect for the infamous Jack the Ripper murders which occurred in the so-called "Autumn of Terror" of that year. If you are not aware, several prostitutes were murdered and hideously disfigured by a suspect or suspects who have never been caught, despite numerous theories as to his / their identity. It remains one of the greatest criminal mysteries of all time.
Whatever his Ripper credentials, he is still a fairly colourful character in his own right. In 1890, he was running a barber shop in the basement of the pub, a trade he took with him during a brief emigration to America in 1891 - 1892. After a series of failed relationships he married (possibly) Mary Spink died on Christmas day 1897. He quickly took up with a Bessie Taylor who died on 13th February 1901. Chapman remariied yet again, this time Maud Marsh who died on 22nd October 1902. This proved rather too much for her family and eventually the bodies of the first two wives were exhumed showing that he had poisoned all three.
He was arrested, charged, convicted and eventually hanged in 1903.
Don't let any of this put you off what is a cracking little pub with it's Irish landlord and good and inexpensive Thai food. They also show most big sporting events on the big screen there. Also, don't pay any attention to the large sign concerning the possible Ripper victim, it is mostly inaccurate.
If you ask virtually anybody what they know about the East End of London, the chances are they will include Jack the Ripper in the list. Jack was responsible for the brutal murders of a number of prostitutes in the area in the autumn of 1888 in the most gruesome of circumstances. He was never caught and there are literally dozens of theories as to is identity. I suspect we shall never know for sure. Most commentators agree on five of the victims but there is great debate as to whether these were the only five. Which brings me to the title of this tip.
Martha Tabram was an alcoholic common prostitute, one of the literally hundreds of thousands plying their trade in the area. On the night of 6th August, 1888 Tabram, known also as Turner was drinking in a pub in the East End with another prostitute, the dlightfully named "Pearly Poll" and two soldiers from the nearby Tower of london. At about quarter to midnight, they paired off and Martha and her soldier boy went down this alley, known in those days as Georges Yard to do, well, I shall leave it to your imagination. Some time later, a neighbour heard screams of "Murder" but ignored them, that being quite common in this rough area at the time.
Martha's body was found the next morning and was found to have been stabbed no less than 39 times. Obviously, suspicion fell on the soldiers but no-one was ever charged with the murder.
If you visit Gunthorpe Street now, you can see that it is still cobbled and when I wander down it, i wonder if these are the actual cobbles that Martha walked over on her last, fateful journey.
Murders were commonplace in the East End and prostitution is a notoriously dangerous occupation so it is entirely possible that Martha's death was unconnected to the Ripper. But maybe, just maybe.
We visited Brick Lane because we wanted to check the markets of the area(Brick Lane and Spitalfields) but we came across a multi culti area with lots of history. It was always a place of immigration and welcomed through the centuries Flemish, French, Russian, Bengali, Protestant, Jew and Muslim people. Our local friends and many useful street signs gave us a lot of information so we could spent half day walking around the area. (most of the info here are from these signs)
Back in 16th century Brick Lane was just a field path outside the City of London, actually it was the east boundary of the medieval Augustinian Priory of St Mary Spital (hense the Spitalfields). Brick Lane took its name from the brick kilns that brought here by early Flemish settlers.
It started to take a shape of a town at the end of 17th century when it got connected with City of London with streets. At that time (1680s) Protestant Huguenot refugees escaped from France due to religious persecution) bringing silk-weaving skills and making Spitalfields creating a silk weaving centre and later garment making. The community is gone but there still some houses of that ear in nearby streets.
The brewing industry was active since 1666 (!) and Joseph Truman purchased a brewery in 1679 that extended during 18th century when the Directors House was built and closed down only in 1980s! It is now a thriving arts and business centre. At Fourner street you can see how the streets after 1718 laid out with grand flat-fronted classical houses(characterised by sash windows and elaborate doorways) that are now protected as Historic Buildings.
In 1714 Nickolas Hawksmoor designed the beautiful Christ Church Spitalfields(Commercial Street and Fournier street). It was completed in 1729 in baroque style with an imposing tower and spire(pic1). It was almost demolished during the 1960s but a full scale restoration 1976 is back in life. We went inside and got surprised not only of the nice interior(pic 2) but from the musicians that were playing some spiritual songs with guitars etc! Some tablets on the wall were weird, for exable one of them reads:”this tablet has been erected by the president and members of the London Society for promoting Christianity amongst the Jews”!
In 1744 Huguenot church was built(Brick Lane and Fournier street) and in 1819 became a Methodist Capel and later (1897) was converted into a synagogue due to Jewish community that settled here from 17th century while thousands of Yiddish speaking Russian Jews arrived at 1880s. However by the 1930s, with increased prosperity, the jewish community began to move to other parts of London, the wartime bombing of the Blitz hastening their departure. After WWII settlers from Bangladesh came to Brick Lane(some of them after serving in the merchant navy during the war) and found jobs in Jewish tailoring works which in time they took over while others opened the famous curry restaurants of the area(pic 4).
By the building that was a synagogue converted into a mosque in 1976(Jamme Masjid) for the local Muslim community of the area. It’s amazing how the building shows the continuity of the historic fabric that has survived and the manner in which diverse newcomers have become integrated. The newest addition is the new minaret-like structure by DGA Architects.
On our way back to Bethnal Green station we saw St John at Bethnal Green(pic 5)
I don't know exactly what it is about St. Kate's Docks that keeps me coming back, but whatever it is, I've ranked it at #7 on my "Top 10 Things to do in London" list. St. Kate's Docks is just East of the Tower Bridge on the North bank of the Thames. It's just a quaint little area with some shops and restaurants, and is a marina for small yachts and sail boats. They've added a Starbuck's here several years ago, but that hasn't totally changed the ambiance of the area (nothing against Starbuck's, but they have a way of making a quaint area "commercial"). There's the cozy looking Dicken's Inn which houses two restaurants and a tavern. I've not eaten there, but it appears pretty popular with the locals and tourists alike. Mala's, which is a decent Indian food restaurant, is located here too.
This is just a great little area to stroll through, shop, have a cup of coffee (yeah, I know I'm a hypocrit), or have a leisurely dinner. Since it's right by the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge, you could easily make it a full day in this area. (Check out the two websites listed below for more info on the area.)
The area surrounding St. Kate's docks (closest to the Tower Bridge) has an interesting sun dial and a really nice dolphin statue. Of course this affords some nice views of the Tower Bridge too!
Sandy's Row is one of London's last small (narrow) streets.
It's home to Sandy's Row Synagogue (the oldes, dating from 1854) and a house with number One and a Half.
Furthermore you'll fin the Idian restaurant Gulshan here.
A short street with quite a lot of history. These houses were built in the 1700's for silk-weaving Huguenots who had fled from France. The notable feature is the large attic windows which allowed plenty of light for the loom workers.
Today is is the center of the Bangladesh community, in fact, the London Jamme Masjid Mosque is just around the corner. It originally was a Huguenot chapel, then a synagogue, and now a mosque.
Artillery Passage is one of the remaining City of London smaller passages and at just 5 minutes walking from Liverpool Street station. In the 17th century is was known as Smock Alley. As the name suggest it was a passage to the former Old Artillery Ground.
While researching for our trip to Europe last year I happened across a website that listed free stuff to do in London. Intriqued by the word FREE I explored the site a little bit and saw a free comedy night on Mondays at the Theatre Royal Stratford East . Upon further exploration I saw that they had a new play scheduled to start in September which was written by Ray Davies of the Kinks called Come Dancing.
The information said it was based on a song of his written in 1983. I had never heard of it before so I went out on Youtube, found the video of the song and absolutely loved the video and the song. Soon after, I made a decision right there that instead of going to a normal West End London production we would go to the East End.
We thoroughly enjoyed the play that evening, had great seats in this smaller venue and I was able to record a little bit of the closing song along with a couple of quick pictures at the end. And to top it all off, as we were leaving the theatre for the evening we actually got to meet Ray Davies and he spent a few moments chatting with us, asking us where we were from and said he would be in Chiago again and to see him there. A real nice, quiet and shy gentleman.
We didn't get to the FREE comedy night.
Brick lane is at the centre of the Bengali community in east London.
It was originally the centre of the Jewish community but the Bengali has started to move in in the 19th century. A few Jewish shops remain.
There is a large market held here on a Sunday and in the surrounding streets.
Brick lane and the surrounding area has a reputation throughout England for good retro shops [shops that sell second hand goods and replica goods from the 60’s and 70’s]. As my daughter is very into RETRO, we spent the morning in this district.
Although it was defiantly not my scene, I found the atmosphere very interesting.
During Queen Victoria’s prudish reign the street was called Middlesex Street, which is still its official name.
It had long been famous for a market held there and is called petticoat lane after being many years at the centre of the clothing industry.
A market is held here every Sunday morning, which spills out onto the surrounding streets.
Over the years, many attempts had been made to stop the market. It was allowed under an act of parliament in 1936.
There is a wide variety of goods sold on the market but the majority of stalls sell clothes.
The atmosphere is amazing with cheerful cockney stallholder battling their voices over each other to sell their wares.
This is a must for tourists to visit to see the real east end of London.
Go to Brick lane (nearest tube station would be liverpool street, thats served on many lines including the metropolitan line)- its in the East of london - it's slightly less glamourous than the west, but is a great place to experience how London's immigrant/non-english population thrives. I believe there are a lot of Bangladeshi's who live here, but this area once used to be predominantly Jewish. Things to see and do include the brick lane bric-a-brac stalls selling everything from old clocks, screws, bolts etc. to clothes in little boutiques around the area. Eat: balti meal from a Bangladeshi restaurant. If you think it will be too spicy for you - just say you want it plain- non spicey
If you go somewhere by 'Shanks's Pony' - you walk there. On a sunny spring day London town is good for a bit of a stroll whatever area you find yourself in
Pictured here, a tree in a Hackney sqaure in East London bursting into bloom in April. Although Hackney is not really on the tourist map a such, it still has some very interesting areas in which to stroll during daylight hours. There are little squares with mature trees, Hackney Marshes (Horse Riding & and Ice Rink nr there too), canalside walks and various parks and nooks and crannies to explore by foot.
It's really best if you know someone from that part of town to go with...maybe on a Sunday morning and followed by a good old fahioned Sunday roast with a pint in one of many local traditional pubs.
I guess you could imagine you were in the British soap opera 'Eastenders', except the reality of Hackney is that it really is much more multi-cultural. In my last place of abode, my immediate neighbours hailed from Ghana, Ireland, Jamaica, Greece and such diverse places as well as good old Blighty. One of the HUGE benefits of this, is that this wonderful melting pot of culture is reflected in the local food stores and restaurants.
Hackney is also very good for a bargain, with plenty of markets, second-hand clothing, household stuff, and furniture stores.
There are some areas you may not wish to venture into at night if you don't know the place, but there is also a great community spirit and wicked humour which I really do miss at times.
Of course, the East End is not just Hackney...More tips coming soon.
Brick Lane is THE place to come if want a good Ruby Murrey, that's curry to you and I. Brick Lane is a street in the East End of London, site of a Sunday market and heart of the city's Bangladeshi community.
There are a number of markets in various locations (e.g. Ely's Yard, The Old Truman Brewery) off Brick Lane as well as the one on the lane itself where people are selling anything and everything.
Now Brick Lane attracts the more arty people and fashionistas and there are a number of galleries, swanky bars and cafes that now line the streets and surrounding area.
Look out for the famous Banksey grafitti art in that area
Brick Lane is the center of the Bengali community in east end. The street is crammed with curry restaurants and outlets, Bengali shops and offices. The street signs are on English and Indian (i assume), much like most of the commercial buildings.
Although there are many curry restaurants on Brick Lane, most of them serve (comparatively) poor curry in comparison with what you can get at other locations in London.