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More from Emma Bryning

‘A Couple Hold Hands in the Street’ by Stik and ‘The Crane’ by ROA, Brick Lane Street Art, London

Brick Lane, in the heart of the East End of London, is often considered one of the most famous locations in the UK for graffiti and street art. Whilst international street artists aspire to paint on Brick Lane, it is kept fresh by local artists who change the graffiti on a weekly basis. Works can be found by famous street artists from around the world, including Phlegm, Ben Eine, Banksy, Noriaki, C215, ROA, Vhils and Shepard Fairey, to name just a few. One of the most popular works of street art in the area is that of ‘A Couple Hold Hands in the Street’ on Princelet Street by local artist Stik. The piece, created in 2010, shows a woman in a niqab holding hands with a second stick figure and was voted the nation’s 17th favourite artwork in a poll in 2017. One of the other long-standing pieces in the area is The Crane on Hanbury street which was created by Belgian street artist, ROA. The work was originally intended to be a heron but was changed to a crane after ROA learnt that they were sacred to the Bengali community, who make up a significant portion of the local population. 

Historic Graffiti of St Augustine’s Tower, Hackney, London

St Augustine’s Tower is the oldest building in Hackney and can be found in the gardens of St John’s Church. This Grade I listed tower is managed by the Hackney Historic Buildings Trust and is usually open on the last Sunday of each month. A church was built on the site in the 12th century and then rebuilt in the 16th century. The church became redundant following the completion of the Church of St-John-at-Hackney in 1792 and the tower is all that remains of the 16th-century church following the demolition of the rest of the building in 1798. Although the tower was also due to be demolished it was kept in order to house the church bells until they could be moved to their new location. It is also reported that the tower stayed after the contractor employed to demolish it found it to be too difficult of a job. After climbing the narrow staircase to the top of the tower, visitors are treated to a view of the City of London whilst a variety of graffiti can be found throughout, including marks left by those visiting the tower in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and drawings of houses. 

Victorian Police Graffiti on Myddelton Passage, Clerkenwell, London

Although they may be easy to miss, Myddelton Passage in Clerkenwell contains a unique historical record as a series of numbers, letters and dates can be found carved into the brickwork on the left side of the passage, many of which were scratched onto the wall by officers of the London Metropolitan Police. The practice started at some point around the mid to late 19th century and continued until around the time of the First World War, with many of the carvings referring to personal collar numbers and divisions, carved by local Police Constables.

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Social housing for the East End’s Jewish community

The arch still standing here marks the site of the first housing estate of the Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company, a pioneering social housing project set up by Nathan Mayer Rothschild in the 1880s.