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British Brutalist Buildings in the East End of London, Ernő Goldfinger, and Peter and Alison Smithson

February 20, 2014 Leave a comment

In the Brownfield Estate in Poplar, East London,

British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Balfron Tower in Poplar

British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Balfron Tower in Poplar British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Balfron Tower in Poplar
British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Balfron Tower in Poplar British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Balfron Tower in Poplar
British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Balfron Tower in Poplar

British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Balfron Tower in PoplarBalfron Tower (architect: Ernő Goldfinger – yes Ian Fleming disliked his work so much that he named a James Bond villain after him!).

British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Carradale House in Poplar

British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Carradale House in Poplar British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Carradale House in Poplar

Neighbouring Carradale House (also Ernő Goldfinger). A passing resident of Glenkerry said the refurbishment had taken 3 years, with the heritage people constantly having to correct the work to ensure that it looked exactly like it would have when it was first built. He thought the refurbished units would provide both mixed private and social housing.

British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Glenkerry in Poplar British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Glenkerry in Poplar
British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Glenkerry in Poplar
British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Glenkerry in Poplar British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Glenkerry in Poplar

Glenkerry House just across from Carradale House (from the studio of…yes, Ernő Goldfinger).

Trellick TowerGoldfinger was the architect also of the remarkably similar Trellick Tower in North Kensington.

British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Robin Hood Gardens British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Robin Hood Gardens
British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Robin Hood Gardens
British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Robin Hood Gardens British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Robin Hood Gardens
British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Robin Hood Gardens British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Robin Hood Gardens
British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Robin Hood Gardens British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Robin Hood Gardens
British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Robin Hood Gardens British Brutalist Architecture in the East End of London - Robin Hood Gardens

Just a 3 minute walk away from the Balfron Tower Conservation Area, Peter and Alison Smithson’s Robin Hood Gardens is slated for demolition, to be replaced by something that looks remarkably similar to Singapore Housing Development Board public housing tower blocks. I do not know if the succeeding architects gave as much thought to the project as the Smithsons in the 1960s:

What should to preserve and what to demolish? In church tradition terms, one might be hard-put at times to distinguish between “gospel issues” and practices of no direct biblical consequence, until one is removed from one’s home culture and embedded in another. Of course it should be evident by faithful reading of God’s word, but it is surely sharpened by being lived out/observed in real life. And it is by comparing the different attempts to work out the gospel in a godly manner in a variety of contexts that one see can more clearly – so as to cling hard to biblical truth but hold lightly to the hobbyhorses that have either been inherited from our forebears or have been a (severe) reaction against the perceived errors of the previous generation. And sometimes it takes someone from a different planet to tell us so – but hey, not that we’re calling Kevin DeYoung an alien or anything…

East London, Pies and Mash, Jellied Eels, Victoria Park and Its Village

May 20, 2013 1 comment

There was some debate with the Supervisor about what would be considered “work”. The fairly strict policy of resting one day a week is mostly, i think, in keeping with the idea that the Sabbath requirement is in-built in creation (“Sabbath” meaning one day of rest from work a week – not a specific day of the week), rather than an arbitrary commandment. And because the nature of full-time ministry is that it is relationally intense, rest from that would necessarily mean having little or no social activity with the people one would usually serve…

G Kelly Pies and Jellied Eels, Roman Road
G Kelly Pies and Jellied Eels, Roman Road G Kelly Pies and Jellied Eels, Roman Road

But a few people from one of my bible study groups really wanted to check out East London, so we headed to G. Kelly Pie and Mash (“Noted Eel and Pie Shop”, 526 Roman Road, Bow, E3 5ES).

G Kelly Pies and Jellied Eels, Roman Road G Kelly Pies and Jellied Eels, Roman Road

Beef and chicken pies with real mash (we watched the giant potato masher in operation in the kitchen) and liquor (parsley sauce) were ordered from the lovely ladies at the counter who called everyone “my luv”. To my surprise, rather liked the cold jellied eel. The fruit crumbles were excellent in a tummy-warming way (because we’re still weathering winter temperatures here, some days) both with ice-cream and custard.

Victoria Park Victoria Park

Thus fortified, a pleasant little walk through Victoria Park beckoned, where there was a dramatic practice landing by the air ambulance, and less dramatically, a model on a fashion shoot pretending to eat a cone from an ice-cream van.

Grabbed some longhorn rump steak for dinner* from The Ginger Pig in Victoria Park Village.

The Deli Downstairs, Victoria Park Road The Deli Downstairs, Victoria Park Road

Then a spot of grocery shopping at The Deli Downstairs (211 Victoria Park Road, Victoria Park Village)(upstairs, a man was hanging his smalls for all the world to view), before lounging in the semi-sunshine at The Refreshment Room next door.

The Refreshment Room at The Deli Downstairs, Lauriston Road The Refreshment Room at The Deli Downstairs, Lauriston Road

Espresso beans were Climpson & Sons‘ Climpson Estate blend. We talked about how one of the main messages of the Bible is that God is in control – but this isn’t boring or trite because every book and every event in each book shows us just how sovereign God is in all sorts of events and circumstances. Plus it is a truth that we somehow struggle to remember.

Chase & Sorensen, Lauriston Road
Chase & Sorensen, Lauriston Road Chase & Sorensen, Lauriston Road

Just over the low whitewashed brick wall was Chase & Sorensen and the lovely sight of clean lines in Scandinavian design.

Victoria Park Victoria Park

We wandered back through Victoria Park, past The Pavilion with its cafe, and the boating lake, for a walk along Regent’s Canal and then to our separate homes.

*

Longhorn Rump Steak from The Ginger Pig
Finally – a steak that actually tasted like real beef! Flavoursome and juicy stuff from cows reared by Tim Wilson, apparently.

Sunday Afternoon Jaunts: Spitalfields Markets, The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket

October 12, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s been really lovely going for Sunday market ganders around London E1 between morning and evening services.

There’re the Spitalfields Markets (Old Spitalfields Market, Spitalfields Art Market etc):
Spitalfields Market Spitalfields Market
Spitalfields Market Spitalfields Market
Spitalfields Market Spitalfields Market
Spitalfields Market Spitalfields Market

Then, down past Poppies Fish & Chips, Rosa’s Thai Restaurant, and Absolute Vintage,
Poppies Fish & Chips, Hanbury Street Rosa's, Hanbury Street
Absolute Vintage, Hanbury Street

and hang a left to Corbet Place where you can turn Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket or just enjoy the al fresco dining at The Old Truman Brewery:
Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket The Old Truman Brewery
The Old Truman Brewery The Old Truman Brewery

Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket featured a range of beautiful new products (like leather shoes from Shoe Embassy), cupcakes, vintage in the basement, posters:
Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket
Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket
Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket
Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket
Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket
Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket

and an international selection of food:
Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket
Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket
Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket
Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket
Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket
Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket

to be eaten at proper tables indoors, or on seated on the pavement with friends:
Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket
Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket Brick Lane Sunday Upmarket

Sometimes, through the little rabbit hole adjoining the entrance to Sunday Upmarket, you can follows the signs to the bright airy space hosting the Renegade Craft Fair:
Renegade Craft Market Renegade Craft Market
Renegade Craft Market Renegade Craft Market
Renegade Craft Market Renegade Craft Market
Renegade Craft Market Renegade Craft Market
Renegade Craft Market

Back outside, Rough Trade East, Traffic People, a perfume shop, American Apparel, hipster throngs:
Corbet Place Corbet Place
Rough Trade East, Corbet Place Corbet Place
Corbet Place Corbet Place
Corbet Place Corbet Place
Brick Lane Sunday Market

What I love about markets is their diversity of goods and the music, and the energy wrought from the coming together of creatives and people who appreciate them. Similarly, it is the smörgåsbord of ideas about truth and reality that has always rendered philosophy so attractive to me.

A good chat with The Tutor on our way out today helped confirm some of the conclusions I reached last week while re-thinking (Gottfried Wilhelm) Leibniz’s Theodicy and how right Voltaire was to scoff at him in Candide – the poor man really got his knickers in a twist attempting to explain what God hadn’t revealed. While the discussion this rainy evening was first about women and bible college, it quickly devolved into one concerning biblical theology vs systematic theology, synthesis vs Bible as false dichotomy, major and minor topics in the Bible, disagreement about biblical theology as process and systematic theology as product (synthesis as product? but really, relationship with God as aim), summation of the Law as “love God and love neighbour” not being systematic theology but mere summary.

The problem with systematic theology (as distinct from doctrine synthesised from biblical theology) is that it attempts to force the Bible to answer its questions, whereas it is God through his word in the Bible who should dictate the questions. So questions about ontology, for example, are moot. Ah, this explains why I’ve never been convinced by such arguments as might be found in Thomas Acquinas’ Summa Theologiæ.

Now: listening to Vladimir Horowitz work his way through some Chopin to de-buzz.

PS: Brick Lane Sunday Market + Backyard Market:

Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market Brick Lane Coffee. Brick Lane Sunday Market
Brick Lane Sunday Market

Regent’s Canal – Mile End to Angel/Islington

September 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Regent's CanalAfter a crazy first week in London, was under strict instructions to do no work at all on Saturday. So woke late, wandered dishevelled downstairs to find both the kitchen and garden filled with people chattering as might be expected at the Associates’ House at brunchtime. Hurriedly fixed up a yoghurt + British summer berries + nuts + Chia seeds snack, but not before several people came over to talk, politely trying very hard not to look at the state of my hair.

After getting into a relatively more presentable state, had a nice little meander by Regent’s Canal from Mile End to think and pray about the week. After Mile End’s Millennium Park, the waterway starting near The Palm Tree (127 Grove Road or is it Haverfield Road?, Mile End. Traditional East End boozer innit.),

Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal

and thereafter Victoria Park (and nearby Victoria Park Village) and Broadway Market, was lined with lovely houseboats,  and graffiti by the spray-paint truckload.

Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal

Popped up for a bit of a gawk at the Broadway Market in Hackney. Surely I must return, with reinforcements, for F. Cooke’s jellied eels.

Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal

Then past riverside cafes and slightly tipsy boating parties, and even a Slovakian kitchen in a houseboat (Vareska), and shopping trolleys in the towpath,

Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
to emerge at the far more tidy houses at Angel, Islington,

Regent's Canalwhere i scored Noam Chomsky’s Profit Over People at Oxfam Books for 1.99 for a read on the return trek (“Nothing like a little heavy reading for the weekend eh,” said the nice shopkeeper).

Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal

With a nice warm glow from the setting sun, a slight change of scenery on the way back. Different angle on the “street art”. Boating party even more tipsy.

Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal Regent's Canal

Well-designed student accommodation at Queen Mary and Westfield University – Pooley House and Chapman, Chesney and Selincourt.

Was thinking about how thankful I am for possibly the best week of my life, doing not only what I love but what is right to do:

Sunday: first Sunday with new church family – a very warm welcome at morning service with everyone who had been praying for me being happy to finally put a face to the name (and were hopefully not too disappointed), fantastic lunch + conversations including something about someone’s travels in North Korea, encouraging exposition on Psalm 73 at evening service, curry dinner with evening church at Brick Lane.

Monday: bank holiday welcome barbecue. Many nations and cultures and backgrounds, same God. Lovely.

Keys to the ChurchTuesday: practical briefing – loads of passwords, procedures, and a personal set of keys to the church (and my name’s not even Peter) building. The building manager was a magnificently God-fearing man who explained how arranging the chairs exactly so everyone could sight the pulpit and how locking up properly would help gospel proclamation. Then helped at lunchtime service for cityworkers. And after, a lovely whole staff meeting with introductions and a bit about what everyone did over summer + preview of Sunday’s sermon + 1 Corinthians 12 + prayer during which The Cook encouraged us greatly with God-centred petitions.

Wednesday: breakfast bible study – amazing turn out considering the time of the day, with everyone raring to get stuck in in the Word. Then IT training with another wonderfully Lord-dependent man who was also responsible for the mp3s we benefited so much from in the last few years. His deadpan wit cracked us up – “This printer won’t print anything. Not even a sausage.” and “Here, you will find everything you need for identity theft.” Later, a tour of the buildings – up creaky spiral wooden stairs that had been there since the Vikings, into bell-towers, onto rooftops, but not into not-so-secret secret passage ways. Fascinating.

Staff Lunch Staff Lunch - Dessert

After staff lunch, a good explanation that ministry is all about God and getting people to love Jesus, not leading quality bible studies or giving top-class talks. Then a whole church evening talk/study. Birthday drinks after.

Thursday: practical work setting tables and chairs for events. Then changed out into smart stuff for the lunchtime service – had a good long conversation with an old boy on the sovereignty of God, suffering, being on patriarchal councils etc until all the tables were cleared around us. Then back to practical work clothes for good spot of toilet cleaning.

Clock hung by a ladleFriday: The Cook drilled us in food hygiene and safety, explaining also how godly hospitality and neighbourly love should inform our actions. Utterly dry wit. We sat an exam after to be certified by the state to handle food. Then walked across town to a welcome dinner and good chat about the church situation in Scotland, unofficial service in the church body, cultural.

Saturday: DAY OFF! Housemates and I had a good talk about how we can encourage each other and pray for each other, being wary of the trials and tribulations of living in close proximity and also being careful that things might get competitive.

Sunday: we were introduced to the church family. Morning service with sermon on Luke 3:1-14 (repentance), delicious lunch with The Rector and family, evening service with sermon on righteousness. Was pleased to have had the privilege of welcoming several newcomers. Dinner of bangers and mash with the whole church after.

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