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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


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