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Tag Archives: East End

Up the Common People

Luxury apartments‘… forgive me, but it has to be said. I’m sick of them. Sick to the back teeth. Sick to death. Sick as a dog and yes, sick as a parrot too.

A vision of Battersea Power Station...chock full of unaffordable flats.

A vision of the upcoming Battersea Power Station development…chock full of grossly unaffordable flats.

The hoardings are up everywhere. Every corner I turn. Glossy boards surrounding clattering building sites, all plastered with the same cliches; ‘Phase one underway’, ‘quarter’ this and ‘village’ that. One site in Hackney offers investors the chance to ‘own a piece of London’s history’- the building in question was once a children’s hospital.

The former Queen Elizabeth Children's Hospital.. envisioned here as redeveloped luxury apartments

The former Queen Elizabeth Children’s Hospital, Hackney… envisioned here as redeveloped luxury apartments

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against development. My father is a carpenter so it’s good to see tradespeople employed- although it’s unlikely that those toiling on such sites will ever be able to afford to live within at least a 20 mile radius of the city.

The thing is, many of these new builds are destined for ultra-rich offshore investors and are therefore likely to remain empty. As such they are thrown together cheaply and quickly; glorified Meccano sets which will inevitably force out locals, eradicate heritage and purge the soul.

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One such place under threat is the George Tavern on the East End’s Commercial Road.

The George Tavern, Commercial Road

The George Tavern, Commercial Road

A developer wishes to level this site and plonk down even more lifeless apartments upon it. Tower Hamlets Council are more than happy for this to go ahead; they’d make a nice few quid from it after all.

This piece of land has been home to an inn since the 17th century. In its present form the George Tavern dates back to the 1820s.

Since then of course, towers have sprouted across the City and at Canary Wharf, both of which are within spitting distance of the George. Whilst the price of land here has now therefore rocketed, the value placed upon heritage has clearly not.

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In the 1970s a club was added to the George Tavern. Now closed, the extension is a forlorn site when viewed from the roar of Commercial Road.

The former 'Stepney's' night club

The former ‘Stepneys’ night club

Named ‘Stepneys’, this club became famous for its light up disco floor which drew in thousands of revellers over the years.

Stepney’s finest hour occurred 20 years ago in 1995 when Sheffield band, ‘Pulp’ recorded the video for their anthem, ‘Common People’ in the club…

Over the past few years a fierce campaign has fought to save the George Tavern. You can read more about it here… please give them your support, the common people need you.

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Candid Capital: Blasé Bicycle

Blasé Bicycle

Blase Bicylce

Grimsby Street E2, Autumn 2013 

The Pride of Poplar Returns… London’s Latest Statue

On Friday 16th May 2014 London acquired its latest statue… a sculpture of Teddy Baldock, the East End lad who rose to fame in the 1920s by becoming Britain’s youngest ever boxing world champion- an accolade which remains to this day.

Teddy Baldock... London's latest public artwork.

Teddy Baldock… London’s latest public artwork.

As promised in an earlier post about Teddy’s life and career (please click here to read), here are some photographs from the unveiling…

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Teddy’s statue stands directly opposite Langdon Park Community Sports College which is situated beside Landgon Park DLR station.

Langdon Park DLR. Teddy's statue stands just to the right of this view.

Langdon Park DLR. Teddy’s statue stands just to the right of this view.

The weather on the day was glorious… and as 3pm approached, a large crowd gathered to witness the ceremony.

A crowd gather to see Teddy's statue unveiled.

A crowd gather to see Teddy’s statue unveiled.

Until the moment arrived, the statue (sculpted by Staffordshire based artist, Carl Payne) was draped in a golden shroud… which threatened to billow off with the wind on more than one occasion!

Before the unveiling...

Before the unveiling…

The statue was finally unveiled by Pam Baldock; Teddy’s daughter.

Pam Baldock unveils the statue of her father.

Pam Baldock unveils the statue of her father.

Although wee on first impressions, the statue of Teddy is in fact life-sized…he was a tough little fighter!

Teddy Baldock

Teddy Baldock

A plaque on the statue’s plinth informs the public of Teddy’s achievements.

Teddy's plaque

Teddy’s plaque

After the unveiling, a group of ex-boxers gathered beneath Teddy’s statue for a fun photo-shoot.

Former boxers gather in honour of Teddy Baldock.

Former boxers gather in honour of Teddy Baldock.

When he died in the early 1970s Teddy was a tragic figure; penniless, homeless and long-forgotten, his funeral poorly attended.

However, thanks to the wonderful campaigning carried out by his grandson, Martin, the legacy of one of the East End’s finest sons has been revived; the huge turnout for the unveiling  bearing testament to Teddy’s achievements.

As well as the statue, Teddy’s memory will now live on in the Teddy Baldock Sports Benevolent Fund; a charity which supports former sportspeople who have been disabled by physical or mental injury or are suffering from general hardship. Please click here for more information.

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Teddy Baldock, the ‘Pride of Poplar’. 1907-1971.