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The soon-to-be-redeveloped Robin Hood Gardens Local shipbuilder and philanthropist Richard Green sits outside, with his dog beside him. The dog’s right ear is missing; in 1967 an enthusiastic child got his leg stuck whilst clambering on the statue and firemen had to lop off the dog’s ear to release him. A few steps along, a wall of green and blue glass marks out the Chrisp Street Idea Store (2), one of five across the borough. Take a browse inside – as well as books, you’ll find DVDs for hire, martial arts sessions, book groups, tea-n-chat golden time and internet access. There has been a market at Chrisp Street since Victorian times. But after heavy Blitz damage, the old market was replaced with the first purpose-built pedestrian shopping area in the UK (3). Designed by Frederick Gibberd, it formed a focal point during the Living Architecture showcase of the 1951 Festival of Britain. Scissor-patterned lines lead up the clock tower, originally intended as a viewing platform. Today, you’ll find market stalls selling mooli and mangoes, peppers and pumpkins. Others offer scarves, jewellery and homewares. And cafés around the fringes provide sustenance. Along Willis Street – with Balfron Tower on the horizon – head past The Panoramic tower block, a green playspace and giant polished pebbles outside Langdon House, with glimpses of Langdon Park School to the left. At 27 storeys, Balfron Tower (4) soars to the skies; get up close to feel the full impact of the Brutalist 1960s architecture. It was designed – along with Carradale and Glenkerry Houses – by Erno Goldfinger. Walkways connect the maisonettes to the lift tower, which is cast in rugged concrete and slashed with arrow-slit windows. Opposite, an archway leads onto Lodore Street, where a new children’s playground brightens up the streetscape with an imaginative cluster of slides and climbing frames. St Frideswide’s Mission (5) brings to mind Nonnatus House in the TV series, Call the Midwife; set in 1950s Poplar, nurses and nuns work together in community midwifery. The former Jerusalem Coffee House – another St Frideswide’s venture – stands nearby at 18 Follett Street. The Blackwall Tunnel Approach throbs with traffic. To escape it, take the footpath curving behind Balfron Tower. Through the subway, lined with cheerful tile pictures, you emerge into the Aberfeldy Estate. Aberfeldy was developed from the 1860s by David McIntosh; the street names have a Scottish flavour – Athol, Blair, Culloden and Dee – and follow the alphabet as they run northwards. The elaborate interior of All Saints Church Build it and From Gibberd to Goldfinger, the Erno Goldfinger designed the Brutalist icon Balfron Tower, with ragged concrete and Walk of the Month: Al At Aberfeldy Street, a high-level sculpture depicts A Vision of Aberfeldy created by local youngsters. Framed by busy roads, Aberfeldy has a certain self-sufficiency, with its own shopping parades and a community centre (6) offering playgroups, sports activities, sewing classes and youth sessions. St Nick’s – as the church opposite is known – has a Scandinavian look and a ceiling created from 20 painted canvases. At Blair Street, Culloden Primary School jumps out with eye-catching green, grey and yellow bands, and the solitary chimney beyond is all that remains of Poplar Hospital. Take care as you cross East India Dock Road. On this month’s walk, Graham Barker explores the architecture of All Saints and the alphabet streets of Aberfeldy. Photos by Kois Miah. AS you explore All Saints and Aberfeldy, you’ll encounter a lively market square, iconic 1960s architecture, and sculptures amongst the reclaimed East India Docks. Whatever your tastes, there’s plenty to see. From All Saints DLR station, veer left and cross East India Dock Road. Look back towards Poplar Baths (1), opened in 1934 and featuring art deco touches, such as ladder windows and a vaulted ceiling. The building is currently under redevelopment and by 2015 a swimming pool will be available once again, as well as a gym and rooftop ball court. (Bottom) The 20- storey Panoramic Start: All Saints DLR Finish: All Saints DLR Distance: 1.9 miles Allow: 60 minutes 18 NEWS FROM TOWER HAMLETS COUNCIL AND YOUR COMMUNITY 17 – 23 FEBRUARY 2014


East_End_Life_17Feb2014
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