Day 26 – St Giles – Shaftesbury Avenue – Drury Lane – Denmark Street

Another brief one in terms of distance but a lot of stuff to pack in nonetheless. Area covered is split into two main sections; firstly the territory to the north of Covent Garden in between Long Acre and High Holborn and then the streets squeezed into the angle formed by the eastern side of Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue. Along the way there is a visit to the Freemasons’ Hall , “Tin Pan Alley” and the church of St-Giles-In-The-Fields, which gives its name to this district.

Day 26 Route

We start on Kingsway and head briefly west along Great Queen Street before turning north up Newton Street. This ends at High Holborn where we turn west again before veering left into Smart’s Place which leads into Stukeley Street. Formerly known as Goldsmith’s Street this was the site of the original permanent residence of the City Lit. , one of five literary institutes set up after WW1 to cater to the need for adult learning provision. City Lit moved in here in the late twenties but had outgrown the original building within a few years so that was demolished and a new purpose built facility constructed. Opened in 1939 by Poet Laureate John Masefield, the new building contained a theatre, concert hall and gym and remained the home of City Lit. until 2005 when they moved to new premises in the Covent Garden area.

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Just round the corner on Smart’s Place is what remains of the almshouses built here by the parishes of St Giles and St George Bloomsbury in 1895.

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Westward again on Macklin Street brings us out onto the northern stretch of Drury Lane. We’re on the fringes of “Theatreland” here and first of the three (current) theatres we pass on our travels today is the New London Theatre. One of the most modern of London’s West End theatres this was built in 1973 on the site of the old Winter Garden Theatre. Probably best known for hosting the original run of Cats from 1981 to 2002 it’s currently playing the critically-lauded revival of Showboat.

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So we turn east down Parker Street and make our way back to Great Queen Street. Heading west again we pass the Grade II listed Grand Connaught Rooms at nos. 61-63. Currently a conference, weddings and events venue owned by a hotel group this retains the façade of the Freemason’s Tavern, Britain’s first Grand Lodge, which originally stood here (until 1905).

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On that façade are two plaques commemorating events which took place at the Freemasons’ Tavern – the creation of the Football Association in 1863 and the first geological society in 1807. It was also where the Anti-Slavery Society was founded apparently. Surely you’d want to make more noise about that than the geological thing (or the FA for that matter).

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Which brings us to the Freemasons’ Hall and to be honest I hadn’t expected any part of this to be accessible but there is a Museum of Freemasonry on the first floor that you can visit free of charge as well as an extensive library both of which are full of some quite remarkable artefacts. The current art-deco behemoth is the third incarnation of the Freemasons’ Hall on the site since 1775 and was built during 1927-32 in honour of the Freemasons who died in the Great War. Its Grand Temple seats up to 1,700 – that’s a lot of aprons.

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Now I think it’s fair to say that the Freemasons have enjoyed a somewhat ambivalent reputation throughout their history. I myself have shared some of the prejudices inspired by the whole regalia, funny handshake and initiation ceremony schtick – not to mention the secret brotherhood aspect that (allegedly) wields influence in the upper echelons of the police, the judiciary and certain political institutions. In the interests of balance therefore it needs to be noted that the Masons is a secular (and supposedly non-political) organisation with all members free to practice their own religion; it emphasises personal moral responsibility and does a lot of work for charity. The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is of course exclusively male. There is an Order of Women Freemasons which has been around since the turn of the 20th century but UGLE doesn’t officially recognize it (though they did acknowledge its existence in 1999 which was nice of them). However you wouldn’t necessarily gather that from the materials on display in the museum which include a number of items relating to women freemasons. I haven’t room to go into the history of Freemasonry but you can read up on it here.

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Just a couple of things to note from the slide show above: that chair (Grand Master’s Throne) is one of three commissioned in 1791 to mark the election of the Prince of Wales (later George IV) as Grand Master of the Moderns Lodge, the silver elephant is a cigar lighter made from smelted rupees and one of three gifted by an Indian Maharajah to the Lodge of Humility with Fortitude, the pentagon symbol I can find no information on but I suspect is a stand-in for the sacred pentagram (five pointed star inside a pentagon inside a circle) with its Da Vinci Code associations. You probably also saw today’s reflection of the day (“selfie” has now been retired).

Should you ever seek to become a mason yourself then all the gear can be found in the Central Regalia emporium, conveniently situated just across the road. Special offer on masonic candles at the moment.

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Also opposite is the HQ of the Royal Masonic Trust for Boys and Girls one of the four charitable institutions established by the Freemasons in the 18th century.

We’re back up Drury Lane again next then turning left down Shorts Gardens as far as Endell Street. The Cross Keys pub with its splendidly ornate exterior has occupied no. 31 Endell Street since 1848 and by all accounts is well worth a visit.

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Another place worth trying is the Poetry Place (aka the Poetry Café) on Betterton Street which runs back to Drury Lane.

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A circuit of Dryden Street, Arne Street and Shelton Street finds us back on Endell Street at the northern end of which resides the Swiss Church (or Eglise Suisse if you prefer). Just about every major European nationality seems to have established its own ecclesiastical home here in London. This one dates from 1762 and has occupied this site since 1855 though has undergone major rebuilding after WWII and between 2008 and 2011 when the architects, appropriately enough, were the practice of Christ and Gantenbein. True to national form the all-white interior is the epitome of calm reflection (though I believe they will be showing Switzerlands Euro 2016 fixtures live in here.)

Next door, on the corner with High Holborn, is the former St Giles National School built in 1859 to the design of Edward Middleton Barry.

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Across the other side of High Holborn is our second theatre of the day, the Shaftesbury, which opened in 1911 as the New Prince’s Theatre. Longest run here seems to have been the musical Hair which started in 1968 and was curtailed in 1973 (two short of its 2,000th performance) when part of the ceiling fell in. Despite the threat of redevelopment in the immediate aftermath of this the theatre survived and was granted listed status a year later. It is currently host to yet another jukebox musical in the form of Motown though perhaps one with a classier songbook to draw on than most.

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Head past the theatre eastward along High Holborn before turning left up Museum Street and taking a dog-leg round West Central Street which is a cherishably rare corner of scruffiness in the heart of town.

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Having emerged onto New Oxford Street we cut back down the first few yards of Shaftesbury Avenue before skirting round the back of the theatre along Grape Street, apparently so-named because it once ran alongside the vineyard belonging to St Giles Hospital.

Leave the theatre behind and make our way west via Bloomsbury Street, Dyott Street, Bucknall Street and Earnshaw Street bypassing the Crossrail mayhem and the redevelopment of Centrepoint.

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This brings us to Denmark Street which, as noted in the intro, was colloquially known as the UK’s “Tin Pan Alley” for much of the twentieth century. The first music publisher set up home here in 1911. That was Lawrence Wright who founded the Melody Maker in 1926. In 1952 the New Musical Express was also started from an office here and during that same decade music publishers and songwriters took over most of the street.

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In the sixties groups who began to pen their own material and the predominance of recorded music helped to bring about a decline in both music publishing and songwriting for hire. Taking their place, a number of recording studios opened including Regent Sound Studio at no.4. This was where the Rolling Stones recorded their first album in 1964, under the guiding hand of manager Andrew Loog Oldham.

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In the mid 1970’s the Sex Pistols lived above in the upper floor of no.6 and rehearsed in its basement. Graffiti by Johnny Rotten depicting other members of the band was recently uncovered and has inspired the Department of Culture to grant Grade 2 listed status to the building. Just a little bit of that spirit still lives on.

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In 1992 the last of the publishers moved out and the focus shifted to musical instrument vendors (principally guitars). In the wake of Crossrail plans were drawn up for a redevelopment of the street which though committed to preserving the fabric of the street brought protests from those concerned that it would wreck the character of the place and force out many of the existing businesses. This struggle is still ongoing but for now at least the guitar shops seem to be hanging on tenaciously.

Double back down Denmark Street and you arrive at St-Giles-In-The-Field church. This was originally the site of a church leper hospital founded in 1101 by Queen Mathilda, wife of King Henry 1. The present church was designed and built in the Palladian style (after the 16th century Italian architect Andrea Palladio) in 1730-34 by Henry Flitcroft, who went on to design Woburn Abbey. Back in the day St Giles was the last church en route to the gallows at Tyburn and the churchwardens paid for the condemned to be given a draft of ale from the Angel pub next door before their execution. Whether or not Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh was granted this benefice before being hung, drawn and quartered in 1681 and then buried in the churchyard is unknown.

Among the many memorials inside the church are those to Richard Penderell who accompanied Charles II on his flight from Cromwell and the watchmaker Thomas Earnshaw (1749 – 1829). There is also the tomb of Lady Frances Kniveton who was the daughter of Sir Robert Dudley (1574 – 1649) the illegitimate son of the man of the same name who was the first Earl of Leicester and favourite of Elizabeth I.

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After this it’s time for lunch, an Indonesian pulled chicken satay salad from one of the food stalls in the churchyard. While I eat this on a bench in the grounds the nearby bin is visited by a crow who has worked out that a meal is to be had by pulling out the discarded food trays and bags and spilling their remaining contents on the ground. Clever things crows. Your average pigeon hasn’t got a handle on that yet.

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Head away from the church down Flitcroft Street which takes us to the Pheonix Garden – a community garden and registered charity, managed by volunteers drawn from the local community and workers in the area. It’s currently closed for building works but is due to re-open this summer (2016).

Stacey Street runs alongside the garden passing Pheonix Street with its eponymous theatre. I don’t think I’d ever been down here before and so had only seen the theatre from the Charing Cross Road side which presents the main entrance and a incongruously functional office block sandwiched between it and the similarly neo-classical but superior Pheonix Street façade. The Pheonix Theatre was built on the site where the Alcazar music hall previously stood and opened in 1930 with a production of Noel Coward’s Private Lives.  The exterior was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, Bertie Crewe and Cecil Masey, whilst the interior, often considered to be one of London’s finest, was designed by director Theodore Komisarjevsky in an Italianate style with golden wall engravings and plush, red carpets. Currently showing, as you can see, is the classic Guys and Dolls.

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Returning to Stacey Street we head a short way further south to New Compton Street which is as non-descript as Old Compton Street is exuberant. At the end of this we turn right then right again down Shaftesbury Avenue. On the west side we pass by the institution that is Forbidden Planet, which started out as a comic shop in Denmark Street in 1978 but now styles itself as a “cult entertainment megastore” (yes that’s a “c” missing from the left-hand side of the picture not an “ad”).

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And a bit further down is what I will always think of as the ABC Shaftesbury Avenue but was rebranded in 2001 as the Odeon Covent Garden . The building, which opened in 1931, actually started life as the Saville Theatre (perhaps just as well that didn’t last).  The sculptured frieze which extends for nearly 40 metres along the façade of the building is by Gilbert Bayes and represents ‘Drama Through The Ages.’ In the sixties the theatre was often leased by the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, who promoted gigs there by the likes of The Who, The Bee Gees and the Jimi Hendrix Experience as well as the Fab Four themselves. In 1969 the theatre was bought by ABC Cinemas (then owned by EMI) and converted into the 2-screen ABC1 and ABC2. The takeover of ABC by Odeon Cinemas in 2001 resulted in a further conversion into four screens and the change to its current name (ignoring the fact that it can’t by any stretch of the imagination be considered to fall within the borders of Covent Garden).

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And with that it’s Roll Credits for today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 25 -Shoreditch High Street – Arnold Circus

More than a touch of serendipity about this excursion as a couple of days after the last walk, on Bank Holiday Monday to be precise, I went along to the Secret 7″ sale at Sonos Studios in Shoreditch and therefore found myself only a couple of hundred yards away from the previous finishing point. Before we get into that though here’s another of the periodic updates on overall progress so far.

Covered so far May 2016 copy

Back to today’s trip which takes in the western side of the area wedged between Columbia Road and Bethnal Green Road and the streets enclosed within the quadrilateral of Old Street, Shoreditch High Street, Curtain Street and Great Eastern Street.

Day 25 Route

First up, from Bethnal Green Road we head north up Club Row which is where the Sonos Studios live. Secret 7″ has been running for a few years now but this is the first time at this location. Principle is similar to the RCA’s Secret Postcard fundraiser but this involves record covers designed for one of seven specially chosen tracks and is in aid of Amnesty International. You can get the full lowdown here. Didn’t get there until an hour after the start by which time I would say around 65% of the covers had already been snapped up. Happy enough though with my two acquisitions, which you can see in the selection below. Actual singles were the offerings by The Jam and Tame Impala.

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Having bagged my two 45’s continue north up Club Row to Arnold Circus, of which more later. Circle anti-clockwise and exit along Pallissy Street. This leads into Swanfield Street where at no.74 stands an isolated remnant of the past in the last remaining weaver’s house in the area (the East End being a hub of the weaving industry in the 18th and early 19th centuries). These days it’s a foam shop.

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At top of Swanfield Street turn right along Virginia Road which emerges onto Columbia Road and then almost immediately double-back down Gascoigne Place. Going westward Virginia Road forks off into Austin Street and at the junction of Boundary Street, which rejoins the two, there is, seemingly, another member of the Dead Pubs’ Society. Some commentators have suggested that the Conqueror is named after William I of that soubriquet but judging from the sign I would be more inclined towards Oliver Cromwell.

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Continuing along Austin Street brings us out onto the bottom end of Hackney Road again and a left turn takes us round the corner to the entrance to St Leonards Church. This will of course be familiar to all fans of one of the best sitcoms of recent years, Rev (starring Tom Hollander and Olivia Colman). St Leonard is the patron saint of prisoners and the mentally ill and there is evidence of a church on this site since Anglo-Saxon times though that was demolished by the Normans who built their own replacement. It was the Norman church which became known as the actors’ church. Many of the Elizabethan theatrical fraternity are buried in the remains under the current crypt. This includes three Burbages, James who built the first English theatre (again more of that later), his son Cuthbert who built the Globe theatre and his other son Richard who was the first to play Macbeth, Hamlet, Richard 3rd, Othello and especially Romeo. These associations are commemorated in a stone memorial on a wall inside the present-day church which dates from around 1740. The splendid organ was built by Richard Bridge in 1756 and is one of the few surviving examples of a tracker organ without pedals.

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The somewhat macabre monument in white marble with two grinning skeletons tearing into the “tree of life” is in memoriam of one Elizabeth Benson, died 1710, and is the work of Wren’s favourite sculptor, Francis Bird. The final part of the Latin inscription roughly translates as “hale and hearty and regardless of old age she accidentally tripped and fell, alas, at the age of 90 ; and the stem of life was not gently withdrawn but torn asunder.”

There is a very timely exhibition on inside the church at the moment which runs until June 2016. Entitled Development Hell this shines a light on the on-going planning battles concerning a number of areas adjacent to the City of London and Boris Johnson’s role in greenlighting a number of controversial schemes.

Across the road on Shoreditch High Street are a number of fine Victorian buildings including Wells & Company Commercial Ironworks built in 1877 but only retaining its industrial function until 1895.

Back on the east side adjacent to the church (at no 118 and 1/2) is the Clerk’s House. This dates from 1735 and so is a couple of years older than the church itself. Current occupancy is by a fashion boutique.

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On the corner with Calvert Avenue you’ll find Syd’s Coffee Stall. Named after its first proprietor, Sydney Edward Tothill, who set up the business just after the First World War financed with his invalidity pension. The stall’s not open today as it’s a Bank Holiday but this is more than compensated by the resplendent blossom on the tree behind.

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Calvert Avenue links back with Virginia Road and then Hocker Street returns us to Arnold Circus with its bandstand and gardens which sits as the hub in the wheel of the Boundary Estate. Cited as the world’s oldest social housing project, Boundary Estate was developed between 1890 and 1900 on the site of the Old Nichol Rookery slum. The redbrick tenements are all now Grade II listed and although around of the 500-odd flats are now in private hands the rest are still under the control of Tower Hamlets council. The separate tenement buildings are all named after towns or villages on the River Thames such as Sunbury, Chertsey & Hurley.

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Leave the circus this time via the 4 o’clock spoke which is Rochelle Street and then head south back toward the Bethnal Green Road down Montclair Street. This bit of Shoreditch is the home of (mostly) officially sanctioned graffiti art and, regardless of whether or not you consider these to be sanitised hipster versions of the original ‘street’ art form, they undoubtedly make for an arresting sight.

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So the above examples can all be found on the route back up to Arnold Circus that takes in Turville Street, Redchurch Street, Whitby Street, Chance Street and Camlet Street. This route also includes another turn down Club Row where we pass this singular three-dimensional piece by the artist, Cityzen Kane, which takes inspiration from African art and the late eighties rave scene.

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Finishing off this section to the east of Shoreditch High Street we visit Navarre Street, Ligonier Street, Old Nichol Street, another stretch of Boundary Street, Redchurch Street again and finally Ebor Street. And here’s another selection of graffiti art encountered along the way – taking us from Marvel’s Avengers to Winston Churchill via the Cycle of Futility.

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Back on Shoreditch High Street we cross over by the old garage which is now home to a pop-up food festival (says it all really) and head south to the junction with Great Eastern Street.

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Right on that junction (and purportedly still open for business appearances to the contrary) is Chariots Roman Spa – self proclaimed as England’s biggest at best men’s health spa. Which  makes you hope that you never find yourself in the worst.

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The graffiti is a little bit more anarchic in the enclave between Curtain Road and Shoreditch High Street which is crossed initially by Fairchild Street and Holywell Lane. The latter is also home to music venue, Village Underground, which sits beneath the railway arches. Have only been here once and wouldn’t rate it as one of my favourite concert venues mainly because the auditorium is far too narrow.

Next up is King John Court which adjoins with New Inn Yard at its north end. This is reliably believed to be the site of the first permanent theatre built in England (as mentioned earlier) courtesy of James Burbage. Known simply as The Theatre it opened in 1576. Some of Shakespeare’s early works were performed here as well as plays by Marlowe and Thomas Kyd.  From 1594 it was home to the famous players known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (after their patron Henry Carey who fulfilled that office at the time). However the theatre only lasted for four further years until after a series of disputes between the Burbages, Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain’s Men the former had the playhouse taken down and rebuilt as the first Globe Theatre across the river. All of this is, I think it is fair to say, commemorated in a somewhat low-key style.

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Northward on New Inn Street takes us past the back entrance to the old Curtain Road primary school.

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Then it’s on to Bateman’s Row where there is a sign of encouragement (but not perhaps genuine insight).

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South on Anning Street then back up along Shoreditch High Street past French Place to get to Rivington Street, which is the final call for today. This is the location for a couple of Shoreditch institutions; after-hours club Cargo and the Rivington Place Gallery. The former no longer at the cutting edge of club culture by all accounts. The latter we shall return to on another visit.

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And once again that’s all folks !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 24 – Shoreditch – Hoxton Square – Kingsland Road

For this latest outing we move from one extreme to another both geographically and culturally; from Mayfair with its embassies and swanky hotels in the south-west to the Shoreditch/Hackney gentrification frontline in the north east. Today’s walk is another meandering affair covering a broad but narrow stretch of territory demarcated by City Road, Old Street, Hackney Road and the northern perimeter of our designated target area. Distinct lack of blue plaques to distract us on this occasion you may be relieved to hear.

Day 24 Route

Starting point for today is the southern end of City Road from where we head up Westland Place past Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant and into Nile Street. A quick circuit of Underwood Street, Underwood Row, Britannia Walk and Ebenezer Street gets us back to City Road without troubling the photographer. At the junction with Provost Street there is another phase of the new developments we looked at last time we were around this area.

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Provost Street splits into itself and Vestry Street with those two forks joined by a bit more of Nile Street that has offshoots in Custance Street and Allerton Street which must be among the most truncated thoroughfares in the capital. Continue further north on East Road just beyond the boundary of the prescribed target area where the Hackney estates dominate.

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Get back on piste via New North Road which takes us as far as the splendid St John the Baptist Church, Hoxton. The church was built in 1826 but the impressive painted ceiling was created in the early 20th century by the architect Joseph Arthur Reeve. The parish  has had continuous patronage from the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers (another of the City of London’s twelve Great Livery Companies. The stained glass window shown in the selection below is one of my favourites so far on these travels and was installed in commemoration of George Purves Pownall who was the first dean of Perth Cathedral (the one in Australia) before becoming vicar of this parish after returning to England.

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From the church we head west again along Bevenden Street back to East Road and then double back along Haberdasher Street, named in honour of merchant and City of London Alderman Robert Aske (1619 – 1689) a prominent member of the aforementioned Livery Company. And turning right onto Pitfield Street takes us down to another memorial to the 17th century local benefactor in Aske Gardens. The gardens are bounded to the north by Buttesland Street, the south by Chart Street and west by Hoffman Square. The latter was built as almshouses by the WC of H in 1825-27, designed in a proud Greek Revival style by D R Roper. The building has undergone several enlargements and modifications since and for a century or so it functioned as a furniture design college. (I think we all know what’s coming next don’t we). In the late nineties the Grade II listed building was converted into a gated apartment development.

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Across the road on Pitfield Street stands one of the free libraries created by the journalist, newspaper owner and philanthropist John Passmore Edwards (1823 – 1911). The building is now home to the Courtyard Theatre.

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Westward again on Chart Street back to East Road then south to where this merges into City Road and there’s further stark evidence of the changing nature of the area with one of those luxury blocks dwarfing Moorfields Eye Hospital in the background.

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Turn off down Cranwood Street then hook a right into Vince Street (got to write a script about a failed 1956’s pop star so I can nick that name). Not entirely sure what this is but it appears to be London’s smallest tower block.

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Back on Old Street now and a right turn takes us down to the tube station and the so-called Silicon Roundabout, the centre of which, it has to be said, is a right old tip.

Across the other side of City Road, as we head back up it, is the Imperial Hall (see left hand picture above). This was originally the home of the Leysian Mission which moved  here in 1904, having been founded in 1886 by the Methodist Church as a welfare centre for the East End poor (one of around a hundred in industrial cities around the country).  Four years earlier the building next door was built to the order of tea magnate and philanthropist, Thomas Lipton  (1848 – 1931) and opened as the Alexandra Hall Dining Trust which provided affordable hot meals to the poor. Spread over three floors, some 100 waitresses could serve up to 12,000 meals per day. This building is unused today. The Leysian Mission wound itself up in 1989 and its building, which had been granted Grade-II listed status two years earlier, was (surprise, surprise) converted into loft apartments and retail units in 1998 (and renamed Imperial Hall).

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Turn right in to Brunswick Place then fork left into Corsham Street and hang right down Bache’s Street to get to Charles Square. This small square was completed in the 1770’s and unfortunately only one of the original Georgian houses has survived, no.16, which is sadly hemmed in by some particularly unlovely 1950’s flats.

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Leave the square via the south side in order to return to Old Street with the first example of the graffiti that is going to become something of a signature of this post and the next.

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Move northward again on Pitfield Street passing another of those distinctive green-tiled Truman’s pubs that is being put out to pasture – by the look of it.

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Ashford Street on the right just heads into the estate of the same name so that’s a quick shuffle back and forth and we then turn right proper down Fanshaw Street. Bi-secting Aske Street (him again) this emerges into Hoxton Street. Turning southward the view brings the proximity to the City of London into sharp relief.

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Route into Hoxton Square is via Mundy Street with some graffiti of a more intricate persuasion en route.

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Hoxton Square is one of London’s earliest garden squares, details of which can be traced back to 1709. From the 1990’s onwards it was the epicentre of an eastward shift in London’s arts, media and clubbing scene but in the last few years it has lost most of its edge. The White Cube gallery decamped in 2012 and the hipster fraternity has largely moved on. St Monica’s Roman Catholic Church has occupied no.19 on the north side of the square since 1866. Major restoration work has only recently been completed.

After a quick up and down Rufus Street on the south side we leave the square via the north-west corner along Bowling Green Walk. After a brief revisit of Pitfield Street return towards the square along Coronet Street. Here we find the former Shoreditch Electric Light Station, an electricity generating station established in 1896. These days it’s the National Centre for Circus Arts.

Coronet Street forms the northern edge of Hoxton Market. At no.13 Hoxton Market (aka Shaftesbury House) is a plaque commemorating its original incarnation as a Victorian Christian Mission. Nowadays this former life is echoed in the name of the restaurant/bar which currently occupies the premises – Meatmission.

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Boot Street runs the southern end of Hoxton Market and this joins up with Coronet Street again to the east. This is the home of the Standpoint Gallery (one of the few that haven’t been priced out of this area). You have until 04/06/2016 to catch the current show, Megan Broadmeadow’s A Corruption of Mass.

(Did you spot the extremely subtle selfie of the day).

Follow Old Street round to Hoxton Street again where there is this increasingly rare reminder of the old East End.

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Turn right down Drysdale Street  and stop at today’s Café of the Day (like to ring the changes occasionally), the highly recommended Enjoy Café where I did just that in relation to a massive plate of grilled chicken, chips and salad for a measly £5.50.

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Drysdale Street runs straight across to Kingsland Road where we head north as far as Cremer Street then turn briefly eastward before veering south down Nazrul Street. I am going to take a punt and say this is named after the Bengali poet, writer, musician and revolutionary Kazi Nazrul Ismal (1899 – 1976). This enclave that we’re entering now, between Kingsland Road and Hackney Road, and intersecting by the mainline railway is one of the few semi-derelict areas encountered on my travels and none the worse for it. Nor surprisingly it is also home to a collection of quite vibrant graffiti. So before we get out onto the Hackney Road we navigate through Union Walk, Waterston Street, Long Street, Gorsuch Street and Gorsuch Place.

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There’s just the very north-eastern apex of our designated area to go now which involves crossing over Hackney Road to Diss Street then heading south down Pelter Street past Strouts Place as far as Columbia Road.

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It then only remains to return to the junction of Hackney Road and Kingsland Road which is the site of the original Shoreditch Railway Station that was a stop on the old North London Railway from 1865 to 1940. It is now a coffee-shop cum wine and whiskey bar alongside pop-up retail space and you can’t get any more Shoreditch than that in the 21st century.

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Though not every drinking and dining concept  manages to thrive here…

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