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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Whitechapel Market Stall on 26th May

With the help of our fantastic volunteers, and in the blazing sun, the Building Exploratory took to the streets on Saturday, hosting a stall in Whitechapel Market. We spoke to more than 260 people, asking them to name their favourite building, to describe the High Street and to tell us a secret about it.

Our volunteers were easily spotted in bright red
'Building Exploratory' t-shirts

The East London mosque was the people’s favourite building on Saturday and the road was described as ‘Beautiful’, ‘Mosaic!’, ‘Lively’ and ‘Exciting’. We’re keeping the “secrets” secret for now, but keep an eye on the Panorama High Street 2012 blog, where we’ll start revealing them soon!

Vote for your favourite building on High Street 2012 by visiting the People's Favourite Buildings webpage.

A visitor casts their vote for their favourite building

We’ve spent the past few months exploring the history and heritage of the 600 buildings along High Street 2012 as part of our Panorama project and want to enhance this research with the memories and experiences of people who use it everyday.

To add your experience to our collection, take a photo of your favourite building along the high street and send it to projects@buildingexploratory.org.uk, or send in a sentence about what you think about High Street 2012 to the same address. You can also visit us our next Whitechapel Market Stall on 23rd June, which will be outside the Idea Store, Whitechapel from 10am-4pm.

People's favourite voting cards blowing in the wind.
All photos are by Jon Spencer.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Haggeston's Architecture for Adult Learners' Week 2012

It was fortunate that the rain clouds cleared and the sun made an appearance for our walking tour of Haggerston’s architectural highlights on Saturday.  Lizzie led a group of 20 for this 2012 Adult Learners’ Week event, which explored the diversity of architecture in Haggerston: from a mid-nineteenth century garden square, to an Edwardian bath house, to a twentieth century modernist school. 

Participants developed their map-reading and observation skills to identify how and why changes have taken place to the built environment, particularly as a result of WWII bomb damage.  The group also gained an understanding of how population expansion and Victorian philanthropy changed the face of this south-Hackney ward. 

Whilst the tour focused on Albion Square, Haggerston Baths and Haggerston School, participants also got the opportunity to have a close look at Haggerston Estate, and see the some of the most recent additions to the ward’s architecture: The Bridge Academy and Hoxton Station, both nominees for Hackney Design Awards in recent years.

“Thanks for a really enjoyable tour of Haggerston architecture” – just one of the comments from our group of adult learners, who enjoyed seeing the historic maps and photographs, as well as Haggerston’s fascinating buildings.

Friday, 4 May 2012

My Haggerston Volunteer Training

Over the past 6 weeks, Lizzie, Karen and Janet have been delivering a varied and engaging programme of training activities for volunteers who have signed up to take part in ‘My Haggerston’, an in-depth community research project into the ward’s rich heritage.  The project will be delivered by members of the Hackney Heritage and Built Environment Partnership (HHBEP), and has received funding from HLF. 

 HHBEP commissioned the Building Exploratory to develop and deliver the volunteer training because of our significant experience in this area, for example on our Places of Worship and Panorama High Street 2012 projects, and a recent commission by the Design Museum.

The aim of the training is to develop 40 volunteers’ research and audience engagement skills and provide an induction into the organisations delivering ‘My Haggerston’.  Training so far has taken place at the Geffrye Museum, Hackney Archives, and in and around the streets of Haggerston.  Volunteers have taken part in object handling, drama activities, photographed architectural details and researched the industrial heritage of Curtain Road.  Amongst many other things, volunteers have also learned how to use artefacts to stimulate discussion, interpret archival material for family audiences, and work with people with physical disabilities.  

Sessions have been lively, action packed and, with comments such as BRILLIANT session, thank you so much...interesting and informative” we think that the volunteers have enjoyed them as much as we have!