This interesting building has been beautifully re-purposed to be a performing arts venue with a cute cafe/bar and the patronage of Sir Ian McKellan.
But, it was built in 1859 as a Presbyterian church to cater for the influx of Scottish Presbyterian migrants who came to the area to work in the shipyards – this is the docklands area after all.
There had been a mission in the area since the 1840s but they had not had the number to require a permanent place of worship and they didn’t have this congregation for long!
When the shipyards were closed in the 1960s and 70s the worshipping population declined severely and the church closed in 1972.
The St. Paul’s Art Trust was established in the 1989 and took over the now-vacant building. A lot of work has been done to restore it. Now visitors can enjoy a very detailed facade with lovely stain glass. Architecturally, it is revered for its demonstration of early use of laminated timber.
Worth checking out for the building, its story and the good it is now providing the local community!
Best nearby: The Space’s resident cafe/bar the Hubbub.
You have not truly lived the earnest East London yuppie/hipster/organic-conscious combo until you have visited Broadway Market. While the bustling Saturday market is a great place for all your food and drink needs, the street has interesting shops, great cafes and old boozers which can delight seven days a week.
While this area looks old and cute, it has changed it’s face a few times in its history.
Broadway Market was originally called Duncan Lane when the area around London Fields was established in the early 1800s as the population of London spread further out. We know that the street was there by 1811. A smaller street, Duncan Road, runs off Broadway Market to the east and is a reminder of its humble beginnings.
The area around Duncan Lane was interesting in that it sat between a middle class and mixed housing area to the north-west up along London Fields, and a much poorer area on the south and east.
It was renamed Broadway in 1881 and it became a market from the 1890s when produce sellers set up there. The street’s name became Broadway Market in 1937. Sadly, by the 1950s, the market life had all but died. However, 2004 saw it reviving in its current state as the popular Saturday hot-spot we know today.
Fun facts: the pub on the north end, at the intersection of Broadway Market and Westgate Road is called the Cat & Mutton because Westgate Road actually used to be called Mutton Lane.
Best nearby: the Saturday market, coffee at Climpson and Sons or brunch at The Bach.
The Blue Plaque on the outside of 55 Graham Road (between London Fields and Dalston Junction) commemorates Marie Lloyd, a “Music Hall Artiste.” Seeing as I have walked so much in this area and not seen many of the famous plaques on small residential streets, this one caught my eye.
Marie Lloyd (1870-1922) was born Matilda Wood and chose this stage name in 1886. At 16, she was performing all around the East End in venues in Bethnal Green, Hoxton and Old Street. Soon she had a West End career and a solid income to match.
She appears to have been a ‘scandalous’ character, with three very publicly unhappy marriages and a songbook full of saucy lyrics and double-entendres. This worried organisers of the 1912 Royal Variety concert so much that they refused to invite her to perform. In sassy style, she sold out a theatre nearby instead!
Named the “Queen of the Music Hall” she was not only a commercial success but played for troops and factory workers in World War One to boost morale.
I wonder what she would make of the sometimes scandalous popstars who now live in this trendy part of town!
Make a detour on your way to/from Dalston or London Fields