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More from Emma Bryning

The Trellick Tower and Graffiti Hall of Fame, Kensal Green, London

Trellick Tower is a Grade II* listed tower block on Cheltenham Estate in Kensal Green which was designed in a Brutalist style by architect Ernö Goldfinger and opened in 1972. The base of the tower is renowned as a centre for urban arts and is another example of one of London’s legal ‘Graffiti Halls of Fame’, where graffiti artists can paint without the risk of arrest and, consequently, have a safe space to hone their skills. In the Autumn of 2020, it was revealed that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council were taking steps to implement a new development onto the grounds of the Trellick Tower which would leave the graffiti hall of fame at risk of destruction. In response to the plans, Anna Gudbrands created a documentary film, ‘Trellick: The Writing is on The Wall’ highlighting the importance of both the tower and the Graffiti Hall of Fame. 

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. 

The Squatters’ Graffiti at Sutton House, London

Sutton House is the oldest domestic building in Hackney and one of London’s last remaining Tudor houses, having been built in 1535 by Tudor Statesman and Secretary of State to King Henry VIII, Ralph Sadlier. Even though the house is called ‘Sutton House’, it was never the dwelling of Thomas Sutton who actually lived in the house next door. The house was originally called ‘Bryk Place’ and was rested among long open green spaces and near to the town centre of Hackney. The history of the house is complex as, over time, it has been a Tudor manor house, a Victorian school, a Men’s Institute during the First World War, a Trade Unions Office in the 1960s-70s and a punk squat in the 1980s. The house was restored in the early 1990s by the National Trust and opened to the public in 1994. In order to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the squatter’s arrival to Sutton House, the National Trust converted the Squatter’s Room to recreate how it would have looked in 1985 with the help of some of the squatters who had lived there. In the room, visitors can see some of the original graffiti art left by the squatters which includes anti-fascist, anti-Thatcher and feminist political slogans. 

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Frost Fairs on the River Thames

For more than 800 years, in frosty weather the frozen Thames played host to spectacular festivals.