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Thursday, 16 July 2015

Senior BEEs See the Goodsyard Sights

Recently our Senior BEEs older people’s group had the opportunity to visit the soon to be transformed historic Goodsyard site at Bishopsgate in Shoreditch. The site straddles the London Boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets, and has been derelict since the 1960s.

Kitted out in steel-capped boots, high-vis vests and hardhats, the Senior BEEs were treated to a tour of the site, which spans over four hectares in area and is abundantly rich in history (embedded in the buildings, materials and textures it holds). 

Photo Courtesy of Soundings

Coordinated by Soundings, public engagement organisation, and with the developer Hammerson, the tour first took the Senior BEEs under the Braithwaite viaduct with its arches and barrel vaults along to Brick Lane at one end of the site.  

Photo Courtesy of Soundings

This part of the tour uncovered a disused swimming pool and hydraulic lift, along with old cobblestones and brickwork creating cavernous spaces currently concealed from the eyes of passers-by. 

The evocative setting stimulated memories of past and present which were shared between group members through animated conversation.



The tour then took the group above the traffic along an elevated section, revealing an unexpected expanse of urban countryside - again currently not visible at street level

Photo Courtesy of Soundings

This plateau of urban wilderness will be landscaped in similar vein to the New York High Line, transforming it into a raised public park. The blue skies and summer sunshine made for wonderful views, providing the BEEs with new perspectives of familiar buildings.

Photo Courtesy of Soundings

In an area, indeed a city, that is rapidly changing, the site has not escaped controversy, and regeneration plans continue to be developed. For our Senior BEEs, the tour provided a unique opportunity to explore a part of London's industrial heritage. It also served as a celebration of people and place by highlighting the importance of voicing and sharing memories past and present in order to help shape the future hopefully for the greater good.

Photo Courtesy of Soundings


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Wandle Treasures Wading to an End

As our Wandle Treasures project draws to an end, the last few Treasures have been flowing in and we’re making plans to share the fascinating heritage findings of our volunteer researchers, including the history behind lavender fields (below).

Photo courtesy: Clare Sinead Egan

Over recent weeks, we’ve been participating in several events, talking about the Treasures project and highlighting the wonderful hard work of the participants. Two of our volunteers, Stuart Swan and Roger Keens, stole the show at a recent Wandsworth Heritage Festival event, speaking passionately and knowledgeably about their research and the learning experience of the project. We also presented the project as part of the Croydon Heritage Festival programme and were overwhelmed by the level of interest, the number of questions and engaging discussions that followed – we almost didn’t make it back to the office!

Volunteers talking at the Wandsworth Heritage Festival

We’re currently compiling a digital map, which will soon be available online. The map will locate and display all the Treasures, and share the researched information, including images taken by our volunteers.

In addition, we’re very excited to announce that the illustrated map by artist Stephanie Theobald  is almost complete! We’re looking forward to revealing the map in full very soon, but in the meantime here’s a sneak preview:

Illustrated Treasures map by Stephanie Theobald

The full-sized illustrated map will be exhibited at our upcoming celebration event, and we’re also developing plans to tour the map at different venues across all four Wandle boroughs, so be sure to watch this space...

*The Wandle Treasures is a volunteer-led heritage project where we identify heritage treasures along the course of the River Wandle, which spans four London boroughs (Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton and Croydon). The final selection has been drawn by artist Stephanie Theobald and will be uploaded to a website soon along with an interactive map.

The project is delivered in collaboration with Living Wandle Landscape Partnership Scheme as part of the Industrial Heritage Recording Project.