Category Archives: Outdoors

The greening of Dalston

Amid the cranes and dusty footpaths and tower blocks, with their balconies cleverly rebranded as ‘winter gardens’, pockets of leafy green are sprouting at Dalston Junction.

First up is Farm:Shop. When this first appeared I thought it was a hydroponics shop. But once they added a bit of signage I discovered it’s a cafe, workspace and arts venue. There’s an aquaponic fish farm out the front, where they are growing (breeding? spawning?) tilapia & prawns – apparently a supper is planned for later in the summer when they’ll all be eaten – a polytunnel out the back, chickens on the roof and quite possibly the most attractive staff you’ll encounter in East London – glowing examples of the term ‘rude with health’.

Then, just across the road, we have the Eastern Curve Garden. This has been here for a while, but it’s now looking more established, and this summer there are a series of events planned, including tango classes and a Family Fun Day this Saturday (July 9) with free entry. The Hackney Borough of Sanctuary Group are also holding a Garden Party on July 15 (next Friday) with food baked in the garden’s clay oven.

And Ashwin Street, just off Kingsland Road, has a newly planted perennial border. Home to the new Arcola Theatre & Cafe Oto, it also has a rooftop garden, which I’m yet to visit.


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Spring at the Columbia Road Flower Market

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Hackney embraces the Tories… not

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Even Graham Road has its charms on a snowy evening…

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Ed’s Shed in De Beauvoir Town by David Adjaye











If you’ve visited The Idea Store in Whitechapel or the Dirty House and Rivington Place (here’s my review) in Shoreditch, then you’ll be familiar with the work of David Adjaye. And in 2007 he designed this private home for photographer Ed Reeve 

A sunken cube clad with stained cedar, it was partly prefabricated so the builders were apparently on site for only one week. And, one a bright Sunday morning during London Open House he opened it to the public. I admire the simplicity of it, and that decking looks like a lovely spot on a summery day, but as I write this – surrounded by books, notebooks, magazine clippings, teacups and an overflowing bin – I know I never could, and indeed never will live in a house like this…. I mean, where does Ed put all his crap? 

















And, as a fine example of the many characters of East  London, just around the corner from Ed’s Shed is the home of William Lyttle, aka The Mole Man, who – for reasons known only to himself – has spent the last forty years digging a 60ft network of tunnels around his huge, dilapidated Georgian mansion.

It is now covered in scaffolding and Mr Lyttle has been placed in a hotel while the tunnels are filled – apparently structural engineers had warned the council that a double-decker bus could go through the road if they didn’t deal with the situation. 


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