Friday, 20 July 2012

Achtung, eine Deutsche Kirche!

Already it is my last day for this week! I really hope I can come back to do more work later in the holiday. For a start I'd be able to see more cool quirky places in London, such as St Boniface german church near Aldgate. The church, called so after the fantastically named Saint Wynfred Boniface, holds an important if unusual role in London as it is the central meeting point for the capital's catholic German community. This was a particularly interesting visit as it involved a tour of the church for the exploratory's Senior 'BEE' members, a large group of elder, expert enthusiasts. Immediately they bombarded the German parish priest Chris a multitude of questions about the church and we discovered that it was once a riding school rebuilt into a church, which then collapsed and was replaced by another building, which was ironically destroyed in the blitz. The current building is surprisingly nice for something that was built in the sixties. Chris stood up to the scrutiny well, cracking a few good jokes along the way, and proving that Germans do of course have a sense of humor! The BEE's left with a valuable insight into the unseen history of London's different ethnic communities. We then went for some obligatory tea and biscuits at the whitechapel gallery meeting room. Despite me nearly dropping the tray, we had a good chat and found out plenty about where the BEEs would like to visit later in the year, all the while enjoying the rather strange art exhibits of a collection of unwanted tea mugs and an elaborate water dispenser. (These are actual art installations by the way, not some kind of misfiring joke by me!) At the end of the day there was some time to enjoy a walk around the city and look at some of the many new skyscrapers going up in our ever changing city. Sadly that was the end of the day, and for the time being, my stay with the building exploratory. I must say it has been a fantastic experience and I am very grateful to Lizzie, Amiee and Nicole for putting up with me! I also hope I have managed to contribute some work towards some of the great projects going on at the Building Exploratory, it's probably the first time i've found 'work' so fun!

Bye for now!

 Chris and his challenging congregation (with me looking a bIt out of place in the background!)


My Haggerston, your Haggerston

Yesterday was another eventful day, so eventful in fact that I didn't have time to write anything about it! So now I'm going to do a brief recap of what I got up to in my penultimate final day at the building exploratory. Firstly we had a meeting to discuss some ideas for the exciting new sustainability workshop focusing on 'the green olympics'. Our idea was to make a table comparing the 'greenest', most eco-friendly nations to their performance in the actual games. Needless to say, I got a bit distracted looking at some amazing websites which had data ranging from countries' CO2 output per capita, to the percentage of reptile species living there! (seriously, i never knew that: We also looked at doing some cool demonstrations of wind and water power as forms of renewable energy with making turbines and water mills. It might even be possible to light up the lights of the model Olympic stadium that will be used, with our own generator. Other tasks were to finish recording the places in the 'my haggerston' project (the water trough is still missing...), the photos of which are below, and to write up research into local people's favorite buildings. So far the east london mosque is looking like a winner. However, one interviewee described the high street rather eloquently as, 'hectic, crowded, and busy'... Its not that bad! It needs more water troughs though.

How not to raise environmental awareness ...

   The K2 and K3 version telephone boxes, spot the difference!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Disappearing Water Trough...

So this is my second day at the Building Exploratory and so far it has been an absolute joy! Its great to finally do some research into things that really interest me. Yesterday I began looking into designing a workshop to help raise awareness about environment, legacy and sustainability issues surrounding the Olympic park after the games. The workshop will be aimed at children in key stage 3, so hopefully I can remember what interested me at that age! I find this issue particularly relevant, not just because we have the actual games in 9 days (beware going on public transport!) but because my footy team is west ham and they want to take over and re design the stadium after the games. Today though, i was looking at something a bit more local and looking more at the past of london, than the future. As part of the 'My Haggerston' project which involves the recording and research of significant buildings in Haggerston for the benefit of an online source, my task was to find um... a postbox and a water trough?           Although I had doubts as to whether these were significant or even buildings, my research revealed an interesting insight into the history of our iconic Red boxes and the importance of the water troughs to the growth of London's industry. On my exploration the telephone box on the end of Queensbridge road was easy to find although I did feel like a bit of a tourist in taking a picture of it! The water trough on the other hand, would prove more challenging. This particular trough should not have been that hard to find; a large granite structure inscribed with 'thou should be kind to thine animals' would normally stand out on a London street. However after a long search down Yorkton street I concluded that it was nowhere to be found. Perhaps I did miss it but at the moment the mystery of the disappearing trough is one that is yet to be solved...

More next time!

(If seen please return to Yorkton road E2...)