A cool July. Wet and windy with outbreaks of sun; occasional sunny days.
Took a trip to London and found myself near Arnold Circus in East
London, not far from the city. Once the sight of a notorious slum, Old
Nichol, the area round and about was so impoverished in Victorian Times
it was said to be worse than St Giles. Following demolition, this was to
become the site of the first ever council estate in Britain: The
Boundary Estate. Remembering the estate from the excellent BBC/Open University programme, The Secret History of our Streets, the social history geek in me couldn't resist taking a look.
The grade II listed buildings are a testament to the enlightened
thinking of late C19th social reformists. Although my sister commented
on the slightly institutional feel of the design, I think they stand
comparison with the middle class mansion blocks around the back of the
Albert Hall, near Kensington Gore.
The topography of London continues to fascinate me. Sitting on top of
the mound at Arnold Circus, it felt very peaceful. Later, I read that,
although the mound is made of the materials from the old slum, there has always been a mound on the spot and some believe
it marks the end of the Strand ley.
The Boundary Estate The Secret History of our Streets