I've blogged quite a few times about Shoreditch, its Town Hall, the Arnold Circus bandstand and the Boundary Street area. Jean Locker has responded to some of my blogs, and I'm posting her comments:
The Shoreditch Town Hall was only saved from private development due a huge community effort 12 years ago. It took 3 years for the community to prove to Hackney Council that it could run the building and The Trust, made up of local people, (employing a Chief Exec and staff team) have been running it ever since.
The Friends of Arnold Circus have been ‘highlighting’ the bandstand for many years by using it for bands, summer events, educational and artistic projects. Tower Hamlets were finally forced into restoring this historic site with the input of The Friends of Arnold Circus and the work was finally completed in 2010. The events are all run by volunteers. We have a gardener and volunteers to care for the plants and keep the garden looking at its best.
Despite the nightlife and the artists that appear to give this area an appeal there is the struggle by local people to at least retain some of the historic past that made Shoreditch great. The Church, The Regenerating station (now Circus Space), Passmore Library (Kingsland Rd) now flats. The Town Hall could have gone the way of the Gainsborough Studios……..no longer in existence….. if it was not for the patience, persistence and determination of local people.
Arnold Circus, perhaps the loveliest bandstand in London, is 100 years old. An event to be celebrated! It was built a century ago by the London County Council amid the still fairly new Boundary Street Estate in Shoreditch. The bandstand itself is nice enough - what makes the spot particularly enchanting in a locality not known for enchantment is the landscaping of the small hill which once stood in the middle of the circus. Now Arnold Circus has been spruced up to celebrate its centenary - and very nicel too,
Next month the circus will be the venue for the annual 'sharing picnic'. And the Friends of Arnold Circus have organised a busy summer programme of events.
The Boundary Street Estate was built on the site of the Old Nichol - the area that the novelist Arthur Morrison described, and damned to perdition, as the criminal slum of "the Jago". One of the most evocative remnants of Morrison's "Jago" - the little snicket of Boundary Passage - is a short stroll away.
This photograph of Arnold Circus was posted by LoopZilla under a Creative Commons license.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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