As a fairly unsuccessful blogger, it is great to find a blog with real focus and purpose. I have been following Spitalfields Life for over eighteen months now. The writer, known only as the Gentle Author, blogs, amongst other things, about local people, business, urban wildlife and the way the area is constantly under threat from developers.
Local art historian and TV personality Dan Cruickshank features quite a lot in the Gentle Author's posts about redevelopment. Both are currently involved in a campaign to save Norton Folgate, an ancient thoroughfare which lies within a conservation area. The old warehouses may not, at first, look beautiful but could be successfully restored and made interesting and do not need to be replaced by soulless glass office blocks. A nearby Victorian pub, a successful business with loyal customers, has already been demolished.
I first came across the conservation area around Fournier St by accident, after visiting the market and spending time admiring Hawksmoor's architecture in Christ Church Spitalifields. I really did feel like I had stepped back in time. This was Georgian London alright but not the pretty squares of Bloomsbury; here was something with more grit, less obvious charm and older. I could imagine Dickens' characters walking these streets years after they were built. I took a lot of photos, mainly of the amazing doors and knockers, and was amazed to find that at the end of Fournier St I was, unexpectedly, in Brick Lane. When visiting the area for a curry, with my son a few years previously, we had walked from Aldgate East on Whitechapel High St and were unaware of the oasis of C17th streets less than stone's throw away.
Since then, I have read up on the area and visited the famous Dennis Severs House and am planning to stay the area on my next visit to London.
For those of you with eclectic tastes, an interest in London, its way of life and conservation, I recommend Spitalfields Life and the Gentle Author.
Save Northen Folgate
Old blog post featuring Dennis Severs' House, Folgate St