Walking the City of London

Category: Art Page 1 of 3

‘Unravel’ at the Barbican – an extraordinary experience.

Until 26th May 2024, Unravel: The Power and Politics of Textiles in Art shines a light on artists from the 1960s to today who have explored the transformative and subversive potential of textiles, harnessing the medium to ask charged questions about power: who holds it, and how can it be challenged and reclaimed? Spanning intimate hand-crafted pieces to large-scale sculptural installations, this major exhibition brings together over 100 artworks by 50 international practitioners. Drawn to the tactile processes of stitching, weaving, braiding, beading and knotting, these artists have embraced fibre and thread to tell stories that challenge power structures, transgress boundaries and reimagine the world around them.

This review summed it up nicely for me -‘hybrid, heterodox, filled with strangeness and anger and beauty and horror, Unravel at the Barbican is often gorgeously excessive, at other moments quiet and private, not giving up its secrets until you linger’.

An extraordinary experience – not at all what I expected and highly recommended. I really wanted to ignore the ‘Do Not Touch’ signs!

Here are some of the images I took when I visited last Saturday.

Views from the upstairs gallery …

Yinka Shonibare’s figurative sculpture Boy On A Globe uses his signature Dutch Wax fabrics to address race, class and the legacy of imperialism by reflecting on colonial trade and the entangled economic histories embedded within fabrics …

The work of Małgorzata Mirga-Tas representing Roma people …

Family Treasues by Sheila Hicks

Faith Ringgold tells her life story in a quilt …

Hannah Ryggen’s Blut im Gras (Blood in the grass), 1966, protests against the US war in Vietnam. The then-US president Lyndon B. Johnson is depicted here nonchalantly wearing a cowboy hat …

Arch of Hysteria by Louise Bourgeois uses a textile doll or model to convey a psychic experience of pain …

Myrlande Constant’s tapestries are drawn from Haitian Vodou traditions, her father was a Vodou priest …

Tau Lewis uses recycled fabrics and seashells in The Coral Reef Preservation Society, partly in homage to enslaved people who lost their lives in the Middle Passage, a stage of the Atlantic slave trade …

These larger-than-life, deity-like macramé sculptures by Mrinalini Mukherjee surge up from the ground as though organic beings. Drawing on nature and myriad artistic references, their knotted, rippling forms confound expectations of textiles as two-dimensional …

Sarah Zapata’s work embraces her identity as a Peruvian American – two cultures in which textiles are integral …

Solange Pessoa’s work, Hammock, was created in response to the land of Minas Gerais, Brazil, where she grew up. Textiles, in the form of rags and canvas, act as a carrier for living and decaying matter …

Tracey Emin is here too with a hard hitting work, No chance – WHAT A YEAR, about being raped when she was a thirteen-year-old girl (Content trigger warning) …

Unravel: The Power and Politics of Textiles in Art runs until 26th May 2024.

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My favourite London scenes from the Guildhall Art Gallery (and the return of a popular masterpiece).

Regular readers will know that I love the Guildhall Art Gallery! It describes itself as one of the City’s best kept secrets and that certainly seems to be true since when I visit I often feel like I almost have the place to myself.

This week I popped in to see what was on display with particular reference to London. My usual favourites were there along with some interesting new additions.

Among the new arrivals was this painting by Doreen Fletcher (b.1952) 0f the Carlyle Hotel, Bayswater, around 1981 …

I think her paintings are fabulous and I am the proud owner of a signed copy of a book about her work published by The Gentle Author. I also own two of her prints, Still Standing – Commercial Road

And Hot Dog Stand, Mile End

You can read more about her here and here. The book I own is now out of print but you may be lucky and find a copy on eBay.

Another new arrival at the Gallery is this work by Grete Marks (1899-1990) entitled London Wharves (1972) …

I really like the textures of the material she has incorporated …

Margarete or Grete Marks was born in Cologne, Germany, where she studied at the School of Arts and later at Dusseldorf Academy before entering the Bauhaus School of Arts in Weimar in November 1920. At this time the Bauhaus was in its first incarnation under Walter Gropius and enjoyed enormous influence over the fine and decorative arts throughout Europe.

A painting by Sharon Beavan (b.1956) entitled View from Rotherfield Street to the Barbican (1989) …

I really get a sense of the higgledy piggledy that is London. You can read more about Sharon here.

Another newcomer I like is this oil on canvas Camberwell Flats by Night (1983) by David Hepher (b.1935) …


Hepher first started painting South East London’s high-rise architecture in the 1970s, inspired by the scale and impact of the tower blocks on the London skyline. Camberwell Flats by Night reflects Hepher’s sustained focus on residential architecture, and the details of ordinary, everyday life. He refers to his architecturally-themed works as landscape paintings, equating the powerful effects of the built environment on human experience to those of the natural world. He has said, “I think of myself as a landscape painter; I live in the city, so I paint the urban landscape.”

The Gallery acquired the painting in 2022 and it required some conservation. You can read about what that entailed here.

I looked up a few old favourites as well.

Two examples of City pomp and ceremony.

First, The Ceremony of Administering the Mayoralty Oath to Nathaniel Newnham, 8 November 1782. Nathaniel Newnham (before a sugar-baker and a founder of the private bank of Newnham) became Lord Mayor in 1782 and is seen here in his black and gold state robe being admitted in Guildhall on November 8 in the Silent Ceremony …

He faces William Bishop, the Common Cryer, who holds the book from which he reads his Oath with William Rix, the Town Clerk; behind stands Heron Powney, the Sword Bearer with the upraised Sword of State and beside him is William Montague, the Clerk of the Chamber of London …

The two small boys at the bottom right are nephews of the Lord Mayor …

The other is one of my favourites, William Logsdail’s painting entitled The Ninth of November 1888

Although it’s the Lord Mayor’s procession in this picture he is nowhere to be seen and the artist has concentrated on the liveried beadles (who he actually painted in his studio)…

… and the people in the crowd …

There is a minstrel in blackface with his banjo and next to him a little boy is nicking an orange from the old lady’s basket. On the right of the picture the man in the brown hat, next to the soldier with the very pale face, is Logsdail’s friend the painter Sir James Whitehead.

Naughty boy!

It’s a sobering thought that, not far away in the East End that afternoon, police were discovering the body of Mary Kelly, believed to be the last of Jack the Ripper’s victims.

A view of Blackfriars Bridge and the City from Lambeth about 1762 by William Marlow (1740-1813) who was, as can be seen, very influenced by Canaletto. The City’s wharves are viewed through the Portland Stone elliptical arches while St Paul’s stands out in the background. At the north end are the buildings of New Bridge Street and the spire of St Martin Ludgate. In the centre of the picture, a wherry conveys passengers and their belongings downriver …

The demolition of old London Bridge increased the flow of the river under Blackfriars Bridge, weakening it. It therefore had to be replaced with the current iron and granite bridge built between 1860 and 1869.

The Thames and Southwark Bridge in 1884 by John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893) are represented here on a quiet night under the moonlight. St. Paul’s prominent dome is seen on the right side, along with the spires of St Augustine, St Mary-le-Bow and St Antholin. A few vessels are in the dark on the left. The river and the sky are open pathways for the flood of light …

John Atkinson Grimshaw began working as a railway clerk for Great Northern Railway and had no formal training. Despite parental opposition, he took up painting at the age of twenty-five. In the 1880s, he began to paint London views, concentrating on moonlight subjects. From 1885 to 1887 Grimshaw had a studio at Trafalgar Studios, Manresa Road, Chelsea and knew Whistler well. It is said that Whistler confessed he had regarded himself as the inventor of nocturnes until he saw Atkinson Grimshaw’s ‘moonlights’.

The Monument from Gracechurch Street after Canaletto (artist unknown). We are looking towards Fish Street Hill and old London Bridge, with the Church of St. Magnus the Martyr in the background. Many reproductions were made after Giovanni Antonio Canal, who was colloquially known as Canaletto. These were in high demand after various British nobles and even King George III started collecting them …

This painting shows the wide thoroughfares of eighteenth century London and the bustle of the city. The Monument, designed by Dr Robert Hooke and the architect Christopher Wren, was erected between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the fire and the rebuilding of the City.

Finally, if you visit the Gallery now you will see a notice about the Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch …

and the nearby garden …

It’s really nice to see some green space in the Guildhall courtyard …

And art by the children of serving families …

As the notice says, the painted dolls at the front of the garden represent unity and love for children everywhere who are suffering in times of conflict …

Oh, and by the way, one of Gallery’s most popular paintings is back on display after being featured in Tate Britain’s ‘The Rossettis’ exhibitions in London and the Delaware Art Museum. Described by the Pre-Raphaelite artist and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti as “my very best picture”, ‘La Ghirlandata’ was acquired by the City of London Corporation in 1927 for its permanent art collection and is displayed in the gallery’s main Victorian exhibition space …

The 1873 oil on canvas depicts ‘the garlanded woman’ playing an arpanetta and looking directly at the viewer. The artist’s muse for the central figure was the actor and model, Alexa Wilding, with two ‘angels’ in the top corners posed by William and Jane Morris’ youngest daughter, May Morris.

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Fire in the City! Artists in the Blitz.

Five City churches are currently hosting an exhibition of reproductions of paintings by firefighter artists along with contemporary photographs from the London Fire Brigade archive.

The works are displayed on pop-up screens. For example, this one is at

St James Garlickhythe

And this one is in St Mary Aldermary

You will find details of participating churches at the end of the blog along with opening times.

Here I am going to publish examples of some of the work on display, starting with my favourite, Driving by Moonlight, by Mary Pitcairn …

It depicts an AFS volunteer, Gillian “Bobbie” Tanner, at the wheel of a truck. She was awarded the George Medal for bravery and the citation read: ‘On the night of 20 September 1940, Auxiliary G.K.Tanner volunteered to drive a 30 cwt lorry loaded with 150 gallons of petrol. Six serious fires were in progress and for three hours Miss Tanner drove through intense bombing to the point at which the petrol was needed, showing coolness and courage throughout‘.

During the Second World War, women joined the fire service for the first time as volunteers in the AFS working in a variety of roles ranging from control operators to dispatch riders and delivery drivers.

AFS women despatch riders around 1940 …

A 1941 oil painting by Reginald Mills of Mrs Kathleen Sayer an AFS Station Officer …

The Women’s Division of the AFS had its own leadership structure.

This portrait is by Bernard Hailstone

After the war Hailstone had a very successful career as a portrait painter. A gregarious, outgoing man, he went on to paint the last officially commissioned portrait of Sir Winston Churchill in 1955 and later members of the Royal family.

Here he is at work as a fireman circa 1940 attaching a hose to a fire hydrant …

Resting at a Fire by Reginald Mills, around 1941 …

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These AFS firefighters are surrounded by rolled up hose, resting in the back of an appliance vehicle which pulls a trailer pump, while their colleagues in the background continue to fight a fire. You can see a church spire in the background.

Bells Down by Julia Lowenthal …

Julia Lowenthal’s drawings and paintings gave remarkable insights into life inside the fire stations during the Blitz. Unlike most of her fellow firefighter artists she worked primarily in pencil and watercolour. Lowenthal was based in Kilburn and most of her surviving work is of colleagues in the station, and often at rest. Her watercolour sketch Bells Down refers to firefighters being called to action by bells in their fire station.

At the top of a turntable ladder in Eastcheap directing water into a blazing building, terrifying …

Also terrifying, Run! by Reginald Mills ..

There are examples of extraordinary works by Paul Dessau. In one set, four scenes show different stages of the battle to conquer the flames, much in the style (if not the subject matter) of a Hogarth series. Look closely and you’ll see a monstrous form in each panel. In the first stage, termed Overture by the music-loving Dessau, the bombs begin to fall and a smokey menace looms large over the City …

In Crescendo, the flames take hold as a fiery giant smashes down buildings …

Rallentando, as the name suggest, shows the beast tempered, its infernal form withered but still intimidating …

In the final scene, Diminuendo, the foe lies vanquished amid the smoking rubble, the firemen victorious. Yet the creature has untold siblings who will return night after night to challenge the city’s protectors anew …

Cannon Street – also by Dessau …

Aftermath of a bombing raid near Cheapside with St Paul’s in the background …

Rescuing Horses by Reginald Mills …

Red Sunday, 29 December 1940 by W.S.Haines. Haines was a member of the London River Service and unlike other firefighter artists he was not working in the tight confines of the City of London. This meant he had the opportunity for more panoramic pictorial compositions. Here you can see St Pauls Cathedral and the spires of City churches, through the iconic silhouette of Tower Bridge …

The London Blitz lasted from 7 September 1940 until 11 May 1941 and between 7 September and 2 November heavy bombing continued every night except one. More than 20,000 Londoners were killed including 327 men and women from the fire service with over 3,000 seriously injured. The Germans’ key weapon in the Blitz was the incendiary bomb, a device designed not to explode on impact, but able to burn at 2,500 degrees. Thousands of these were dropped creating fires that threatened to overwhelm the capital.

The firefighter memorial opposite St Paul’s Cathedral …

Part is dedicated to the women who died whilst serving in wartime. The lady on the left is an incident recorder and the one on the right a despatch rider …

Fire in the City is open now and can be seen in the following churches:

  • St Mary-le-Bow: Monday to Friday, 7.30am – 6.00pm. Open weekends on an informal basis.
  • St James Garlickhythe: Monday to Wednesday, 10.00am – 4.30pm, Thursday, 11.00am – 3.00pm, Sunday: 9.00am – 1.00pm. Friday & ​​Saturday, Closed.
  • St Mary Aldermary: Tuesday to Friday, 7.30am – 4.00pm
  • St Magnus the Martyr: Tuesday to Friday, 10.00am – 4.00pm, Sunday, 10.00am – 1.00pm (Mass at 11am)
  • St Stephen Walbrook: Monday to Friday, 10.30am – 3.30pm

(Venue details may be subject to change so it is advised to check individual church websites for the latest information). The exhibition will move to a second cluster of churches from Monday 23 October until the end of November (with selected venues hosting displays into December).

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My visit to 22 Bishopsgate.

I think it would be fair to say that 22 Bishopsgate is ‘not everyone’s cup of tea’ and I too am rather ambivalent about it. Second only to The Shard in height, it dominates the City and stands at 278 m (912 ft) tall with 62 storeys. At an all-inclusive total of just over 195,000 sq metres, it’s probably the largest office building ever built in Britain. It even looks down on Tower 42, seen here in the foreground (and pictured later) along with The Gherkin and the Walkie Talkie …

The view of the building from Bank Junction and the Royal Exchange …

Last Saturday the viewing gallery on the 58th floor was opened specially for ‘local residents’ so, of course, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to look down on the City from a new perspective.

A nice surprise was to be had walking through the main reception area where special artwork has been commissioned …

I really liked these wall hangings …

Then onward to the lifts …

With ears popping, we watched the screen in the lift monitor our progress towards our destination, the 58th floor …

You walk out into a vast viewing area with rather disconcerting floor to ceiling glass (at least it’s rather disconcerting for people like me who are not mad keen on heights) …

The views are as spectacular as one might expect …

Looking down on Tower 42 you can see its original design replicating the NatWest Bank logo if seen from above (it was originally the NatWest Tower) …

Canary Wharf in the misty distance …

Next week I’ll be back down to earth, writing about my walk east along the river. Here’s a small sample.

Can you see the chap balanced on a plinth looking across the river …

Here he is again (rather in need of a clean-up, seagulls have no respect for art) …

More about him next week, as well as this ramp where, in 1857, a famous ship was launched …

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New art on Whitecross Street.

I was teribly disappointed this year when I had to miss the Whitecross Street Party. I read also that, because of inclement weather, it had been restricted to one day rather than two.

The party is a time when the brilliant Whitecross Street art is replenished and so it was with some trepidation that I visited again yesterday (when we finally had some sunshine!) to see what had been produced.

I needn’t have worried. Some old favourites remain and the new work is terrific. Here’s my selection but do go along if you can and see for yourself – especially if it’s a sunny day and you fancy some of the excellent street food that’s available lunchtime Monday to Friday.

And, as always, there’s some humour too …

Some of my old favourites that are still there …

And finally a tribute to our wonderful City gardeners who brighten up our streets and gardens. I particularly notice the beds in Silk Street since I walk past them almost every day.

From planting on 12th June to full glory on 3rd August with progress in-between …

Poor, lonely echinacea. ‘What am I doing among all these salvias?’

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Holborn Viaduct – ladies, lions and ‘maximum bling’

Last week I promised you a bit more about this brilliant Victorian masterpiece of engineering and sculpture.

There are four ladies on the Viaduct representing Fine Art, Science, Agriculture and Commerce.

Fine Art was sculpted by Farmer & Brindley

In her right hand she holds a crayon ‘as drawing is the most essential principal in Design’. Her left hand holds a drawing board with paper pinned to it, which rests on her left thigh. Her left foot rests on an Ionic capital denoting architecture. Behind her to her left is part of a Corinthian column, on the top of which stands a bust of Pallas Athena, ‘as she was the patroness of both the useful and elegant arts’.

Behind the figure’s right foot, a small palette and brushes rest on the base …

Science is also by Farmer & Brindley. She is ‘of more masculine proportions than Fine Art, with a fine penetrating countenance’ …

Her tiara has a star at its centre and stars form the fringe of her robe. She holds in her hand the ‘Governors’ that were used to control steam engines. At her left side stands a tripod on which is placed a terrestrial globe encircled with the Electric Telegraph wire which is connected with a battery.

Around the top of the tripod are the signs of the zodiac ‘indicating Astronomy’ …

Beneath it lie compasses and a crumpled sheet of paper with geometrical drawings, one of them a demonstration of Pythagoras’s theorem (you also get a better view of the battery in this picture) …

Agriculture was sculpted by Henry Bursill

She wears a crown of olives, ‘the emblem of peace’, and there is a decorative band of oak leaves on the fringe of her robe. ‘She turns to Providence with a thankful expression for a beautiful harvest’ and in her right hand she holds a sickle. Beside her left foot is a belt with a sheath, containing a whetstone.

Bursill also sculpted Commerce …

She is shown ‘advancing with right hand outstretched towards mankind in a sign of welcome, whilst in her left she proudly holds gold ingots and coin, the foundation of enterprise and Commerce in the civilized world’. At her feet to her right are two keys along with a parchment showing the City Arms representing ‘the Freedom of the City’ …

Farmer and Brindley are also responsible for the four winged lions …

I love these Atlantes holding up a balcony. They date from 2014 when the north east pavilion was rebuilt …

Here’s one in close up …

In 2013 the Viaduct was repainted and re-gilded with, at the request of the City Conservation Officer, ‘maximum bling’.

You get an idea of how well this was accomplished in this picture. It shows the re-gilded base of one of the lamps, a knight’s helmet and a City dragon …

There is a fascinating article about the work, particularly the gilding, here.

I hope you have enjoyed these two visits to the Viaduct. Again I have been plundering Dr Philip Ward-Jackson’s wonderful book Public Sculpture of the City of London for much of this blog’s detail.

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Fascinating City history at the Guildhall Gallery.

Whenever I’m stuck for something to write about the Guildhall Gallery often comes to my rescue.

I visited the little Heritage Gallery on Monday and what I found was very interesting. Rather than rewrite all the information on the plaques I hope you won’t mind if I simply reproduce them below.

Look at these fine fellows …

The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Nicholas Lyons, and the Sheriffs, Alderman Alastair King and Andrew Marsden for the period 2022-2023.

The Mayoralty Charter …

In 1215 King John was faced with a major rebellion …

An etching of the Magna Carta seal which I found on the Internet …

Also on view is the Cartae Antiquae …

Dating from the 1400s, this beautifully illustrated book records charters and statutes covering laws enacted from the reign of Edward III (1327 onwards) to the accession of Henry VII in 1485. City officials used this book as an essential reference tool as they scrutinised statute and safeguarded the rights of the medieval City. There is a portrait of each king on the first page of the statutes for his reign; the page open shows the portrait of Richard III, one of the best known medieval monarchs.

The famous William Charter of 1067 is here too …

You can read more about it in my blog of 12 January this year.

In a nearby display case are prints of Coronations in the 19th century.

George IV on 19 July 1821 …

William IV on 8 September 1831 …

And finally Queen Victoria on 28 June 1838 …

As you leave the exhibition space and head for the exit, take a moment to inspect the David Wynne sculpture of Prince Charles as he then was …

He just doesn’t look happy, does he? Maybe he wasn’t too keen on the rather spiky modern version of a coronet that he is wearing here at his 1969 Investiture as Prince of Wales. It was designed by a committee chaired by his auntie Princess Margaret’s husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones (later Lord Snowdon). The globe and cross at the top was originally intended to be solid gold but the committee concluded that this would be far too heavy. The solution was to use a gold plated ping-pong ball – which is why I always smile at this portrayal of the Prince (and possibly why he doesn’t appear to have ever worn the item again).

In other news, the Barbican duckling population seems to have thrived this year. I haven’t seen the heron lately – could that be the reason?

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Some stuff to cheer me up!

Becauase I was going on holiday I started this blog on a May day when the weather was so miserable, wet and cold that I started browsing through my image library for some cheery pics. This also meant I didn’t have to go out!

This blog is the result – it’s a bit random but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

My balcony is perfectly situated to watch flypasts on their way to Buckingham Palace. This is the Coronation one …

What do you do with an abandoned car park …

Obviously you turn it into an artwork …

More cheerful street art …

Hot Mexican street food ..

More Pimlico Plumbers licence plate wit …

Posh spare loo roll storage at Mosimann’s …

Nice table adornments too …

Crazy crocheting on a post box in Great Ormond Street …

This is my animal selection.

Faithful doggy in Highgate Cemetery …

Whitecross Street toucan …

Friendly Mudchute Farm goats …

The last animal, the Tower Bridge cat …

My pal Mat …

And, for the first time in my blog history, a food section.

My Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg …

Patisserie perfection at Bob Bob Gerard …

Bombe at the Ivy ..

Add hot chocolate …

And finally, even more calories at Bouchon Racine …

Paradise …

Yep, I quite like chocolate.

Normal blog service will be resumed next week.

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St Bartholomew’s Hospital is celebrating its 900th anniversary.

To mark the occasion there’s a free outdoor exhibition in the City to showcase historic collections and tell new stories about the hospital’s history. It features art, photographs and historical documents from the Barts Health NHS Trust Archives and I visited the exhibition at Guildhall Yard where it will remain until 6 June.

Here are some of the images I took last Saturday.

Artists played a part in recording visual evidence of disease …

Not an exotic flower but a twisted intestine painted in the 1830s …

The famous Hogarth staircase …

The notorious Bartholomew Fair …

Nearby slums in the 1920s. Women were looked after by the Barts External Midwifery Service …

Multi-purpose head!

From the extensive archive …

Some examples …

A happy patient getting some fresh air …

The terrible plague of 1664/5 …

What people were dying from …

‘The Rules’ …

If you want to know even more about Barts and its history I highly recommend a visit to the hospital museum where, as well as fascinating exhibits, you can see Henry VIII’s signature and the Hogarth staircase. You can read more about it in my Little Museum blog.

After viewing the Guildhall Yard display, you can stroll along to the Guildhall Art Gallery …

Here you will find Pomp and Circumstance Adversus, a painting by Dan Llywelyn Hall (b.1980) depicting the recent Coronation …

In more detail …

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Gilbert & George – Special Edition.

Hooray! Gilbert & George (‘Two people, one artist’) have opened the Gilbert & George Centre just off Brick Lane and I visited last Friday. ‘The vision was for people to see our work [and] have access to our pictures,’ they say. ‘So if someone arrives in London and loves our art, they’ll be somewhere they can see our pictures and won’t have to wait for our next gallery or museum show’ …

The space, a former brewery complex, has been designed by SIRS Architects in collaboration with the artists. Visitors enter via regal gates sinuously outlining the artists’ initials into a secluded cobbled courtyard evocative of Gilbert & George’s restored Georgian home and studio …

The gate is adorned by King Charles III’s gold-encrusted royal cypher, a testament to their affection for the monarchy …

Inside the courtyard, past the reception area, a beautiful Himalayan magnolia tree leads the way to the exhibition space’s entrance …

The centre is spread over galleries providing 280 sq m of exhibition space, alongside an outdoor video space.

This first show in the venue is called ‘The Paradisical Pictures’ displays Gilbert and George’s interpretations of Heaven …

It features vast photographic screens of leaves and organic products, including figs, roses, dates and leafy greens through which the artists peer or can be seen lolling on benches, either resting or in a swoon.

Here are the images I took on my visit. Trigger warning, be aware that, in typical G&G fashion, some of the titles are provocative!

There is, of course, merchandise you can purchase to commemorate your visit …

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Searching for mice at the Guildhall Art Gallery.

If you get the chance, do visit the Guildhall Art Gallery to see The Big City exhibition. It’s superb, and admission is ‘pay what you can’. The challenge of finding the mice was keeping kids (and adults) very amused during my visit! More about that later.

Here’s my personal selection, starting with City Streets.

Cheapside 10:10 am, 10 February 1970 by Ken Howard (1932-2022)

This picture of Fleet Street in the 1930s is by an unknown artist and has a fascinating back story …

If you look at the characters in the foreground you’ll see that the picture is unfinished. Why is this? The label puts forward a suggestion …

The pedestrian crossing outside Barbican Tube station …

Walk (1995) by Oliver Bevan (Born 1941)

And now some pageantry …

Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Service 22 June 1897 by Andrew Carrick Gow (1848-1920)

Suffering from severe arthritis and unable to climb the St Paul’s Cathedral steps, the Queen remained in her coach, so the short service of thanksgiving was held outside the building. Some amazing old film footage has survived and you can view it here and here.

This is a more intimate picture of City pageantry and its participants (with some splendid beards on display) …

A civic procession descending Ludgate Hill, London 1879 by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1902)

Can you recognise the characters in this little group …

Reception of George V and Queen Mary at the West door of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, Jubilee Day, 6 May 1935 by Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1972)

Now for the mice.

These are two of the most impressively detailed paintings on display …

The Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Banquet, 13 January 1969

And this one …

The Coronation Luncheon to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the Guildhall, London, 12 June 1953

Both are by Terence Cuneo (1907-1996).

His most celebrated commission was the official picture of the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953. One day, as he was painting the huge canvas, his cat brought a dead fieldmouse into his studio. As a distraction from the task in hand, Cuneo painted a portrait of it. Subsequently, a mouse became his ‘signature’ and can be found in every one of his paintings.

There are actually two mice in the first picture above and one in the second.

They are so tiny you won’t be able to find them using this blog and will have to visit the Gallery. They are very difficult to identify, especially the second one, so to help you I took the following pictures …

Good luck!

At the far end of the gallery, in a space specially designed for it, you will find at the action-packed painting by John Singleton Copley: Defeat of the Floating Batteries at Gibraltar 1782

The painting is best viewed from the balcony above

A Spanish attack on Gibraltar was foiled when the Spanish battering ships, also known as floating batteries, were attacked by the British using shot heated up to red hot temperatures (sailors nicknamed them ‘hot potatoes’). Fire spread among the Spanish vessels and, as the battle turned in Britain’s favour, an officer called Roger Curtis set out with gunboats on a brave rescue mission which saved almost 350 people.

Look at the painstaking detail in the faces of the officers and Governor General Augustus Eliot, who is portrayed riding to the edge of the battlements to direct the rescue …

The officers were dispersed after the Gibraltar action and poor Copley had to travel all over Europe to track them down and paint them – a task that took him seven years at considerable expense. He recouped some of his cash in 1791 by exhibiting the picture in a tent in Green Park and charging people a shilling to see it.

Incidentally, just outside the entrance is the lovely little Veterans’ Garden created by the Worshipful Company of Gardeners to support the Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch which takes place today (Thursday 30th March). Read all about it here

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‘Love is the Running Towards’ and other surprises.

As regular readers will know, when I am looking for inspiration I often head east and last week was no exception.

Turning right at the Old Street roundabout I was intrigued to see the words that have appeared above the doors to the fire station …

Dating from November last year, this is part of a homage to the London Fire Brigade which you can read more about here.

There is also a celebration of the Brigade’s new typeface. It’s called Fire Brigade Sans and here’s what it looks like …

A few posters from the exhibition …

I headed south to Rivington Street where I usually find something to photograph. What about this splendid building …

A benevolent angel looks down at us from the corner of the bulding next door …

There’s a typical Dan Kitchener mural …

And various other pieces of work that made me smile …

This drawing high up on a wall looked vaguely familiar …

Then I realised I’d seen a work in the same style in Moor Lane outside the Barbican …

Incidentally, and bizarrely, this ‘crypto heritage’ plaque in Rivington Street celebrates the launch of the cryptocurrency Etherium

It’s still around if you fancy a risky investment.

This is number 81 Rivington Street …

It displays the coat of arms of the Borough of Shoreditch, More Light – More Power. The twin bodied, single headed lion was taken from the coat of arms of the medieval Lord of the Manor, John de Northampton, second Lord of the Manor of Shoreditch and Lord Mayor of London 1381-1382 …

Adopted in 1900, the motto was inspired by the success of the refuse destructor located where National Centre for Circus Arts is now on Hoxton Square. Responding to the need for street lights, the progressive idea to generate power from refuse was launched in 1897. The energy this generated powered the street lighting across Shoreditch and became a particularly powerful symbol of the progressive Shoreditch policies.

The ‘destructor’ …

Back in Old Street, I admired once more the beautiful civic building that is the old Shoreditch Town Hall which opened in 1866 …

Later in 1904, the extension to the Town Hall included the tower and statue of Lady Progress.

The statue is based on the popular Victorian figure of ‘Hope’, with allusions to both Greek and Norse mythology and uncanny similarities to the Statue of Liberty. Aligning with the symbolic prominence of the refuse destructor and the progression it represented, she is depicted elsewhere in the borough as a beacon of light rising from ashes.

The latin translates as ‘Out of the dust, light and power’.

Old Street Magistrates Court was transformed into a hotel in 2016 (previous temporary visitors included Reggie and Ronnie Kray) …

The eastern half of the building contained a police station …

It included accommodation for a married inspector on the first floor and for 40 single men on the second and third floors. There was a kitchen and mess room along with rooms for storing, drying and brushing clothes and boots. You really could say there was a ‘police presence’ in those days.

The building in 1974 …

On my walk I checked out a few blue plaques. This one is at 333 Old Street …

This one is in Hoxton Square …

Parkinson was the first to describe ‘paralysis agitans’, a condition that would later be renamed after him.

The square also hosts this cutely named cocktail bar …

Walking back home via Tabernacle Street I admired the old street sign for Platina Street …

… along with the metal bollard which has seen a few bumps and scrapes over the years …

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A wander around Whitecross Street and Old Street (plus my old record collection!)

To start with I lingered among the street-food stalls that appear every weekday and seem to do a roaring trade now that City workers are back (even though many of them only come in Tuesdays to Thursdays).

My favourite stand …

Lots more to choose from …

Some are award winners!

Spring by Jimmy C – nice to see this mural without cars parked in front of it …

Miaow!

More street art …

One of my favourites ..

Made me smile …

The following words in italics come from the St Luke’s Conservation area document. The images are mine.

Central and pivotal to the conservation area St. Luke’s Church, dating from
1733, designed by John James and Nicholas Hawksmoor, is one of London’s
most important churches.

The church is now refurbished as a rehearsal,concert and education centre for the London Symphony Orchestra. The unusual obelisk spire is a major local landmark, with important views downWhitecross Street.

Surrounding the church is the churchyard and burial ground, now a public open space, with fine plane trees, railings and tombs.

Fronting onto these spaces are several important groups of Georgian and Victorian buildings which are of architectural and historic interest and which contribute to the setting of the church.

There is a tomb in the churchyard which is often described as the family tomb of William Caslon (1692-1766) …

He was the first major letter founder in London and, nearly three centuries later, remains the pre-eminent letter founder this country has produced. Before Caslon, there was little letter founding in Britain and most type was imported – even Shakespeare’s First Folio was printed with French type. But Caslon’s achievement was to realise designs and produce type which have been widely used ever since. And it all happened here, around the eastern fringes of the City of London. The Caslon family tomb stood just yards from where William Caslon started his first letter foundry in Helmet Row in 1727.

Here is a specimen of his typefaces from 1734 …

There is a special edition of the Spitalfields Life blog devoted just to him – William Caslon, Letter Founder.

However, when I looked more closely at the tomb inscription, the name I saw was Thomas Hanbey …

A mystery!

But here’s a quote from The Typefoundry blog of December 2007 (my emphasis) …

‘T. B. Reed … wrote that the Caslon tomb was kept in repair by a bequest from Mary Hanbey, daughter of William Caslon I, who died in January 1797. In fact it is clear from her will that the present tomb, which she paid for, replaced the original monument of the Caslon family, and was dedicated to her husband Thomas Hanbey, who had been born in Sheffield and died in 1786. He was a Liveryman of the Ironmongers’ Company and Master of the Company in 1775 …’

In any event, hopefully the remains of the remarkable Mr Caslon are still there somewhere, so I shall keep my tribute to him in this blog.

The church spire was topped by an unusual weather vane depicting the head of a dragon with a fiery comet-like tail. Apparently this was misinterpreted locally as a louse, and by the mid-20th century had gained the church the nickname ‘lousy St Luke’s’ …

Parish Boundary bollard for ‘St Luke’s Middlesex’ …

Walking east along Old street, look up for the Salvation Army ghost sign …

‘Hostel for working men. Cheap beds and food’.

And finally, number 116, now appropriately renamed Stylus, used to be the Margolin Gramophone Company factory …

They manufactured the Dansette record player – a name very familiar to us baby-boomers …

I had a portable one just like this …

Cool!!!

In those days I could pop some of my vinyl collection into a handy little carrying case and take it when visiting friends. And, guess what, I still have it! …

And there are still records in it …

A small sample …
It was my mum who liked The Bachelors, honest.

This was a very controversial 1965 hit around the world …

Listen to it and you will see why. It was the time of the Vietnam War and the year when Martin Luther King organised a march from Selma to Birmingham, Alabama, which began on 7 March 1965 with around 600 marchers taking part. When the marchers reached the outskirts of Selma they were attacked by state troopers and local police.

Here’s a link to the recording along with video footage.

The Wikipedia link about the song can be found here.

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Lots to see at the Guildhall Art Gallery – William the Conqueror, Peabody Buildings, the regulation of bread and Lord Mayors’ Shows.

Visiting the Guildhall Art Gallery is always a treat. Exhibitions change all the time and, tucked away near the cloakroom, is the small City of London Heritage Gallery, which is free to enter.

There are not many exhibits but they are usually all fascinating.

Seek out this little display. It contains the William Charter of 1067, the City of London’s oldest document, which tells us what happened when William I reached London after the Battle of Hastings …

Written on vellum (parchment) in Old English, it measures just six inches by one-and-a-half inches. It also comes complete with one of the earliest surviving seals from William the Conqueror’s reign …

Translated into modern English, the Charter reads as follows:

‘William the king, friendly salutes William the bishop and Godfrey the portreeve and all the burgesses within London both French and English. And I declare that I grant you to be all law-worthy, as you were in the days of King Edward; And I grant that every child shall be his father’s heir, after his father’s days; And I will not suffer any person to do you wrong; God keep you.’

City of London historians point out that one of the citizens’ primary concerns, as expressed by the words – “And I grant that every child shall be his father’s heir, after his father’s days” – was to ensure that their property handed down to the son and heir, rather than attracting the interest of the Crown.

Nearby there’s a cabinet dedicated to the great philanthropist George Peabody (1795-1869). In retirement he devoted himself to charitable causes setting up a trust, the Peabody Donation Fund, to assist ‘the honest and industrious poor of London’. The Peabody Trustees would use the fund to provide ‘cheap, clean, well-drained and healthful dwellings for the poor’ with the first donation being made in 1862. The exhibition contains an illustration of the estate at Clapham Junction …

My ‘local’ estate is the one on Whitecross Street and dates from 1883 – the design is very typical Peabody, with honey coloured bricks and a pared down Italianate style …

Here he sits, looking pretty relaxed, at the northern end of the Royal Exchange Buildings …

You can read more about him here in my blog City Living.

The Assize of Bread and Ale was a 13th-century law which regulated the price, weight and quality of the bread and beer. This medieval custumal (collection of customs) has drawings of bakers at work and others being punished for selling underweight loaves …

The punishment for the first offence was to be dragged through the city with the offending loaf around the person’s neck …

Incidentally, a second offence punishment was to be put in the pillory for an hour …

This may not sound like much but in addition to being jeered and mocked, those in the pillory might be pelted with rotten food, mud, offal, dead animals, and animal excrement. Sometimes people were killed or maimed in the pillory because crowds could get too violent and pelt the offender with stones, bricks and other dangerous objects.

On committing a third offence the baker’s oven was pulled down. This was the end of the person’s business, so unless someone bailed them out, they would be destitute.

The legislation was continually updated as this poster from 1905 illustrates …

At the Gallery there are films running showing, among other scenes, glimpses of the 1960 Lord Mayor’s show …

There are two paintings of a show near the main gallery entrance. This is 12:18 and 10 seconds (2010) by Carl Laubin

The other is one of my favourites, William Logsdail’s painting entitled The Ninth of November 1888

Although it’s the Lord Mayor’s procession in this picture he is nowhere to be seen and the artist has concentrated on the liveried beadles (who he actually painted in his studio)…

… and the people in the crowd …

There is a minstrel in blackface with his banjo and next to him a little boy is nicking an orange from the old lady’s basket. On the right of the picture the man in the brown hat, next to the soldier with the very pale face, is Logsdail’s friend the painter Sir James Whitehead.

Naughty boy!

It’s a sobering thought that, not far away in the East End that afternoon, police were discovering the body of Mary Kelly, believed to be the last of Jack the Ripper’s victims.

By the way, the Heritage room also has on permanent display a back lit illustration of the famous Agas Map …

I have spent ages looking at it spotting street names that still exist today and open speces like Moorfields …

You’ll find an interactive version here, have fun exploring it.

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More Street Art to kick off the New Year.

Last week I had another wander around Brick Lane and nearby streets to see what I could find.

A lot of new stuff has appeared since my last visit and here’s my selection …

I like this chemist. They seem to keep their entire stock on display in the window ..

Goodbye Brick Lane – see you again soon …

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It’s Christmas decorations time – let’s get in the mood!

Yes, it’s that time when I go out and about trying to capture a bit of decorative joy before the Festive Season begins in earnest.

And what better place to start than the stunning display at the Leadenhall Building, fondly known by all as The Cheesegrater …

I love the arch through the tree …

It’s also home to Emma Smith’s neon artwork We (2019).

We are alone …

We are all one …

Read all about the thoughts behind its design here.

Whilst there I enjoyed a rather lovely lunch at Bob Bob Ricard which is situated on the third floor …

The view from the lift …

The Gherkin, my favourite modern City building …

Another beautiful piece of architecture, King’s Cross Station …

Outside the Station …

At The Landmark Hotel …

On London Wall …

Illumino at City Point …

Also at City Point …

At the Barbican …

Just off Bishopsgate …

And finally, something a bit bonkers near Great Ormond Street that made me smile …

Little aliens have landed on a post box …

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Fascinating surprises at the Guildhall Art Gallery.

A trip to the Guildhall art Gallery is always a treat and it is even more so now with its Inspired exhibition which runs until 23 December. It’s a new exhibition drawn from the Guildhall Art Gallery’s permanent collections that examines ways in which visual artists have taken inspiration from the literary arts – poetry, plays, novels, and also music.

Let’s start with this thoughtful, gentle man, sculpted by someone who knew him very well personally …

This is Terry-Thomas, a major star in the 1950s and 60s best known for playing disreputable members of the upper classes especially ‘cads’, ‘toffs’ and ‘bounders’ …

The last years of his life were tragic. Following his death, Lionel Jeffries called him ‘the last of the great gentlemen of the cinema’, while the director Michael Winner commented that ‘no matter what your position was in relation to his, as the star he was always terribly nice. He was the kindest man and he enjoyed life so much’.

This is the actress Valerie Hobson at the height of her career in 1948…

She gave up acting shortly after marrying her second husband John Profumo, the government minister who later became the subject of a sensational (and epoch-changing) scandal in 1963.

This picture was originally entitled Young Airman …

It’s now believed to be a portrait of Roald Dahl in his RAF uniform.

This is P C Harry Daley

His memoir This Small Cloud was published posthumously in 1987 and was a fascinating account of life as a working class gay man in the early 20th century.

This painting is entitled Keats Listening to the Nightingale on Hampstead Heath and represents the moment he was inspired to write his famous Ode published in 1819 …

The little bird can be seen in the top left hand corner, silhouetted by the moon …

Here’s the dramatic moment in Macbeth when, at a banquet, he sees the ghost of the murdered Banquo. His wife, the principal figure in the painting, tries to take control by firmly grabbing his shoulder …

The guests stare at him in surprise …

Beautiful sculptures on display include Sir Henry Irving as Hamlet …

Geoffrey Chaucer …

Goethe’s female character Mignon …

and the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók …

Learn more about these works by watching this excellent 15 minute video tour by Katty Pearce, the exhibition curator, or even better visit yourself – you won’t be disappointed …

Curator’s tour : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOO8TKdqZLE

I visited the day after the Lord Mayor’s Show and his State Coach was on display at the Basinghall Street entrance to the Guildhall piazza …

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At the Museum of the Order of St John. How a drowned lady gained immortality.

Consider this lady’s beautiful serene face …

Known as LInconnue de la Seine, read on further in the blog to discover her story and how she became world famous.

One has to acknowledge that, when walking through Clerkenwell, this building comes as a bit of a surprise …

The plaque reveals its history …

The museum that now occupies the building is a treat and entry is free. It tells the fascinating story of this famous organisation, from its origins in Jerusalem over 900 years ago to today’s modern St John Ambulance service. I only visited a small part of the museum so will be returning and aiming to take part in a guided tour.

The first exhibits you see…

The Order’s motto today is Pro Fide, Pro Utilitate Hominum – For the Faith and in the Service of Humanity. This duty of care is just as relevant today as it was 900 years ago in Jerusalem. The principles of the Order can be summarised in three words, which are inscribed on the central podium shown in the image above.

Faith – Like monks, the first Brothers of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem vowed to be poor, chaste and obedient …

Care – They took one other vow – to honour and care for the sick and the poor

Valour – Most of the Brothers were Knights trained in the arts of war. They used these skills to defend the Holy Land …

From the earliest times, the Order had female members. St Ubaldesca joined at Pisa around 1150 and after her death in 1205 she was canonised for her lifelong devotion to the care of others. This painting, from the 1600s, depicts her in a pious pose wearing the robes of the order …

I really like this poster from the 1950s representing as it does the spread of the modern Order throughout the world, initially via the British Empire …

A 1955 portrait of a St John Ambulance Brigade Officer and Nurse …

There’s definitely even more of a hint of Florence Nightingale and her lamp in this painting …

These two examples of suits of armour date from the 1500s to the 1800s but they broadly represent the kind of protection worn by the opposing forces during the Order’s long struggle with the Ottoman Empire.

The Turks favoured mail shirts …

The plate armour worn by European knights offered better protection but it was heavy, inflexible and – under the Mediterranean sun – soon became uncomfortably hot …

Siege relics …

A magnificent 16th century banqueting table decoration that once belonged to the treasury of the Knights of Malta in Valletta ..

The Ashford Litter …

A breakthrough in the transportation of patients allowing them to be moved comfortably by a single person.

The order played a pivotal role in caring for casualties in the First World War …

Just one of a number of display cabinets …

The triangular bandage is a staple component of first aid kits with many different uses. In the late 19th century the St John Ambulance Association started providing printed versions demonstrating how to use it …

Also in the cabinet there is an evocative painting from 1917 of a ward at the St John Ambulance Brigade Hospital, Étaples. The blanket of each bed is emblazoned with the eight-pointed cross of St John …

The insignia can be seen again on a red plaque above each bed, naming the donor who provided funds for it …

The Hospital in Étaples was the largest voluntary hospital serving the British Expeditionary Force during the First World War. It had a staff of 241, all from the St John Ambulance Brigade, and was considered by all who knew it to be the best designed and equipped military hospital in France, caring for over 35,000 patients throughout the war. On the night of the 19th May 1918, the hospital was hit by a bomb which killed five members of staff. Shortly after, on 31st May, a second bomb hit the hospital, resulting in eleven deaths and sixty casualties.

In April 1945, Ada Evelyn-Brown was one of a group of St John Ambulance nurses sent to care for newly liberated prisoners at the infamous Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in north-west Germany. Her photograph album is on display at the museum …

Finally, to a beautiful but tragic lady.

This is the face of a young woman found drowned in the River Seine in Paris in the late 1880s. No one could identify the body, but the pathologist reportedly became fascinated with her serene expression and commissioned a death mask. Soon multiple reproductions were on sale throughout Paris …

In the 1950s a Norwegian toymaker, Asmund Laerdal, was commissioned to produce a mannequin in which people could practise mouth-to-mouth and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Seeking a non-threatening model, he chose LInconnue and when his mannequin was mass-produced she became world-famous for a second time, known to this day as ‘Resusci Anne’.

I loved my visit to the museum and highly recommend it.

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Another East End stroll – from anarchists to art nouveau.

For this expedition I got off the train at Aldgate and walked east along Whitechapel High Street.

The area is being transformed out of all recognition with massive refurbishment and redevelopment taking place on the south side. The north side of the street, however, still has its narrow cobbled alleys and iconic places like the Whitechapel Gallery.

The first alley I came across had no name but held the promise of some street art …

I wasn’t disappointed …

This next alley does have a name and is the home of a delightful project …

Look at these brilliant illustrations referencing the local area …

And it stretches right across the arched roof …

I see capitalist consumption alongside anarchist freedom just before I head down Angel Alley …

Freedom – a light at the end of the tunnel …

Some wall postings along the way …

The Freedom Press was founded way back in 1888 and this is their bookshop …

The wall of heroes …

Appropriate merchandise is available on their website

Back on the High Street, I don’t recall seeing one of these before …

Then one comes to a wonderful institution, The Whitechapel Art Gallery. It grew from the high-minded vision of the Reverend Samuel Barnett and his social reformer wife Henrietta. They believed that art would lift the spirits of the East End poor, counteracting the ‘paralysing and degrading sights of our streets’. It was opened in 1901 and designed by the brilliant architect Charles Harrison Townsend …

The Gallery’s history is a history of firsts: in 1939 Picasso’s masterpiece, Guernica was displayed there on its first and only visit to Britain; in 1958 the Gallery presented the first major show in Britain of seminal American abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock; and in 1970 and 1971 the first shows of David Hockney, Gilbert & George and Richard Long were staged to great acclaim.

Turning now to the classic Art Nouveau building itself, the rectangular space between the turrets was originally intended to be covered with a mosaic frieze, but this proved too expensive. In 2012, however, the acclaimed artist Rachel Whiteread created a beautiful substitute. The work was Whiteread’s first ever permanent public commission in the UK.

The Gallery’s towers each feature a Tree of Life. Their brochure explains that, for this new work of art, Whiteread has cast their leaves in bronze to create an exhilarating flurry across the frieze. Four reliefs, casts of windows, stand as reminders of previous architectural interventions. Inspired by the tenacious presence of urban plants like buddlea, which the artist calls ‘Hackney weed’, Whiteread has covered the leaves and branches in gold leaf, making them part of London’s rooftop repertoire of gilded angels, heraldic animals and crests.

Apart from visiting the Gallery, there are other advertised opportunities to better yourself …

Crossing to the south side of the road, I was fascinated by this old house and its wooden shutters …

It has an 18th century look about it but I haven’t been able to find out more.

And finally to this little park …

Formerly known as St Mary’s Park, it is the site of the old 14th-century white church, St Mary Matfelon, from which the area of Whitechapel gets its name. This is its 17th century incarnation …

All that now remains of the old church is the floor plan .

The area was renamed Altab Ali Park in 1998 in memory of Altab Ali, a 25-year-old Bangladeshi Sylheti clothing worker. He was murdered on 4 May 1978 in Adler Street by three teenage boys as he walked home from work. Ali’s murder was one of the many racist attacks that came to characterise the East End at that time.

At the entrance to the park is an arch created by David Petersen. It was developed as a memorial to Altab and other victims of racist attacks. The arch incorporates a complex Bengali-style pattern, meant to show the merging of different cultures in east London …

A few grave markers from the old church have survived. This one (belonging to the Maddock family) is very grand, with its button-lidded top, the tomb ‘looks exactly like an enormous soup-tureen for a family of giants with a rather pretentious taste in crockery’ …

For more information I turned to the Spitalfields Life blog and an entry by the historian Gillian Tindall. She writes: ‘The Maddocks … were prosperous timber merchants just off Cable St. Into the tomb, between 1774 and 1810, went Nathan Maddock and his wife Elizabeth, both only in middle life, a daughter of thirteen, a sister-in-law of twenty-five, and her son when he was seventeen. It is a relief to find that Richard Maddock (who did not actually live in Whitechapel any longer but grandly in St James) was seventy when he died, and his sister seventy-nine. A James Maddock died aged nineteen, but that same year another James in the same family was negotiating the deeds of land in the area on which he intended to build and he appears to have lived so long that the tomb was full before it could accommodate him’.

These markers are more modest …