Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Week 2 Round Up (24-27/5/2011)

Been a busy week so haven’t had much time for blogging. Here’s what I’ve been upto.

On Tuesday I visited the Tower Hamlets Local History centre and Archive to learn how to carry out research into some of the buildings we are interested in in the East End. This was harder than it seemed at first as many of the street names and numbers have changed over the decades often I had to orientate myself by the name of a pub or a church nearby. In the afternoon I again helped Lizzie with ‘digging hackney’ at the museum.
Wednesday brought a new challenge: Fifteen Year olds…I helped Lizzie out with her Shelter workshop at City University where a group of Year 10 students learnt about architecture and the various forms of buildings needed to survive in different environments. I really enjoyed this and got to help them build architectural models of designs that could cope with deserts or underwater etc. The young people were really enthusiastic and I found it easy to talk to them and help out.

On Thursday I continued to research some sporting hackney heritage and also did research for updating the digging Hackney workshop. Finally, on Friday I ran a stall for the Building Exploratory at an event called ‘A Big Day Out’ aimed at older/retired men in Hackney up at the West Reservoir near Manor House where a variety of activities and different organisations encouraged people to try something new. I was slightly nervous about the responsibility of representing an organisation I had only worked for for two weeks! However it went really well: I talked to people about the upcoming taster event we have planned for our older peoples program, the organisation in general and encouraged folks to build London in plasticine as you can see above right. A busy week but a fun one!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Blog Days 5 and 6 (20 + 23/5/2011)

After a staff meeting on Friday I helped Karen out with the Senior Bees and Building Explorers. This is a group of older people who meet every Friday for tours, lectures and discussions about London’s built environment and heritage. This Friday they had a lecture about social housing from David Gregory of the Metropolitan Housing Partnership. He described how his organisation carried out developments to provide affordable hosing in conjunction with government subsides and increasingly cross-subsides from mixed developments of market-price homes and affordable units. It was really interesting although it stretched my maths to the limit! I think the people who came got a really good overview of how it all worked and for my part I have a better idea of why it costs so much to provide social housing etc.
On Monday I continued to research some of Hackneys sporting heritage creating a simple spreadsheet of both demolished and existing buildings such as Haggerston Baths, the demolished Millfields/Clapton Stadium (home to Clapton (Leyton) Orient from 1900-1930) and those venues demolished as part of the Olympic park such as the Hackney Wick Stadium or Eastway Cycle Track. I then put all these locations onto a Google Earth Map that I will continue to update and add to through the coming weeks.
On my lunch breaks I have been getting lost in Haggerston but on our street I discovered this piece of modern heritage…

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Days 3 and 4 (18-19/5/2011)

I spent Wednesday and Thursday formulating some ideas on a way to collect information on buildings in Bow Road as part of the Transformers project TBE has running. At the moment we have been working on how volunteers will collect information about specific buildings from archives etc. and I’m going to go to the archives next week to test out how easy this is to implement.
I also have started working on gathering a bit of information about Hackneys sporting heritage along with archaeology and long term change in the Olympic park for a school workshop and at the same time, continuing to think about changing the ‘Digging Hackney’ workshop. As you can see things get messy very quickly on my desk whenever I do research…

On Thursday I attended a staff meeting where the team discussed upcoming projects: this made me realise how much the Building Exploratory does and how many different groups they work with.

I’ve got lots to do but nice to have a wide variety of interesting projects to work on. Also it’s great to have responsibility for doing research and having some creative input too! 

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Day Two (17/5/2011)

After a great first day I cycled into work, which let me get there much faster, despite the crazy traffic near Highbury... I started the day discussing the archaeology program TBE has in place and learning about KS2 history, science and art to get a better idea of how their workshop, 'Digging Hackney', fits in with the curriculum. Since I went to school in Scotland it was very different in some ways from what I learned at the age, but after an hour or so felt I had a good idea of what was required.
At lunchtime I cycled over to Hackney Museum with Lizzie, the projects coordinator at TBE, to help out with the workshop itself.
I haven't worked much with young kids before and was slightly nervous but over a cup of tea and while we setup the workshop, Lizzie explained to me what I had to do. When they all arrived I helped get them all to sit down quietly, look around the museum and excavate some modern rubbish (all thoroughly clean and dry I hasten to add) to work out what we could tell about people from what they leave behind. My group had a commuter's rubbish; the remains of two coffee cups, a Metro and a travel-card.
Lizzie explained to the class that I used to work as an archaeologist, a job that the kids were going to get a chance to become in the next activity.
Funnily enough on one of the museums newer exhibits, there was a picture of me at the Olympic Park doing some surveying at an excavation at Temple Mills under the Velopark! If you are interested here is a link to a different Quicktime VR photo of the site from 2008.

After a hectic couple of hours excavating sand-filled boxes of with real Roman and Medieval artifacts buried in them and the class completing their own recording sheets (just like real archaeologists) the kids left and we tidied up and head back to the office. It was a really fun experience and I dealt with it better than I thought I would - was nice to be digging again even if it wasn't for real!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Day One on my Work Placement at the Building Exploratory (16/5/2011)

Hi I'm Jonny Gardner and will be blogging here over the next few weeks about my work placement at the Building Exploratory.

I’m a Masters student from University College London, studying Cultural heritage Studies and will be here for 4 weeks gaining experience in a heritage and outreach organisation as part of my course. I’m really excited about seeing all the different tings the Building Exploratory does and getting a chance to take part and contribute.

I have lived in London for 6 years, both studying and working here; before starting this masters degree I worked as an archaeologist for the Museum of London. In this job I worked at the Olympics, in the City and elsewhere, digging up ancient artefacts the Bronze Age, Roman, Medieval and more recent periods. While I’m here at TBE, I hope to bring some of this archaeological experience and knowledge into the work the TBE does and write about this here too.

On the first day I started in the afternoon and over a cup of tea was introduced to the work the Building Exploratory does, its different outreach programs and some of its past projects. I then began to work on some ideas for the new archaeology primary schools workshops that are being developed – I hope to be able to speak to some of my former colleagues for advice on this to enable people to learn about their local pasts, as well as consider how London as changed over the centuries.

An excellent first day overall, and nice to have a change from writing essays!