For my ‘Getting Weird’ brief I want to explore the diverse history of the East End and find something overlooked in our fast paced local universe that relates this history. So I started my research by simply looking around my local area around London Met and reading about the history of this area.
The East End is often considered to be the heart of London, it is a melting pot of different cultures, foods, music and art. Throughout it’s history it has been a place immigration with each group who settled here adding to its vibrant story.
In the 15th Century, before the borough of Tower Hamlets ever existed a road called Whitechapel Lane ran through open fields, it’s name would later be changed to reflect the brick manufacturing in the area becoming known as Brick Lane. In the 17th Century brewing ale and beer came to Brick Lane; notably, the Black Eagle Brewery, founded by the Truman Family. Brick Lane has always been a hotspot for immigration (as it was a cheaper area of London) the first immigrants to arrive where the French Huguenots escaping persecution in the 17th Century. Over the years it also became home to the Jewish and Irish settlers and then Bangladeshi community, who brought with them new customs and foods. The area now being known for some of the best Indian restaurants in London.
Brick Lane is also known for its street art with pieces by Banksy, Milo Tchais, Bom.K and Liliwen, Otto Schade, Louis Masai as well as many others. There are plenty of amazing street art walking tours in the area and some online maps like this one on Inspiring City.
Part of my love of street art its how temporary it is, it’s fast paced and work is often covered or removed in a matter of months. I also love that there is an element of collaboration within the work. Street art can often reflect the feelings of a community, inspired by current events and can even be a means of changing views in our society.
I like the idea that the street in the area could also be “talking walls” and could be used to tell the stories of those who call it home.