19 July, 2009

Bethnal Green - Globe town.

A visit to Bethnal Green to see a presentation on the Stairway to Heaven Memorial to the people killed in the Bethnal Green tube sttion disaster. I found this so moving that I don't really want to describe it here but you can take a look at stairway to heaven memorial and donate something if you wish.

The rest of the day was spent walking in Bethnal Green and Globe town with a guide to walks in Tower Hamlets. I wasn't sure what the producers of the guide were trying to show me, unless it was a general look how nice it is here, because there were some pleasant squares and courtyards and some innovative housing, although there were a lot of flats. Of interest was the first ever block erected by the William Sutton Trust, now celebrating 100 years since building.

The trust began in 1900 but only built its first estate in 1909. William Sutton allegedly let his £80million fortune (at today's prices) for housing for the poor because his second wife turned up after their honeymoon with a daughter he didn't know about! Be that as it may the trust is still going strong although like most housing associations they have had to merge with others.

More modern flats can be found nearby. These were the first cluster blocks and the architect was Denys Lasdun and was an attemp to induce a sense of belonging and a street in the sky. I'll leave it to you to decide which of this or Sutton you'd prefer, although I must say I would be torn.

My walk ended in Weavers fields where the surveilance cameras are mounted on a sculpture. Ater this I returned to Bethnal Green Library to meet a friend to search for the mouth of the Hackney brook, one of London's lost rivers as spoken about by Iain Sinclair at Gresham College last month (http://www.gresham.ac.uk/event.asp?PageId=45&EventId=886) and we discovered it! Quite impressive, although there was a British Waterways barge right in front.
Not the best picture I've taken.

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