Arnold Circus

A cool July. Wet and windy with outbreaks of sun; occasional sunny days.

Took a trip to London and found myself near Arnold Circus in East London, not far from the city. Once the sight of a notorious slum, Old Nichol, the area round and about was so impoverished in Victorian Times it was said to be worse than St Giles.  Following demolition this was to become the site of the first ever ever council estate in Britain: The Boundary Estate. Remembering the estate from the excellent The Secret History of our Streets, the social history geek in me couldn't resist taking a look.

The grade II listed buildings are a testament to the enlightened thinking of  late C19th social reformists. Although my sister commented on the slightly institutional feel of the design, I think they stand comparison with the middle class mansion blocks around the back of the Albert Hall, near Kensington Gore.

The topography of London continues to fascinate me. Sitting on top of the mound at Arnold Circus, it felt very peaceful. Later,  I read that, although the mound is  made of the materials from the old slum, traditionally there has always been a mound on the spot and some believe it marks the end of the Strand ley.

The Boundary Estate
The Secret History of Our Streets

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