The boat on top of Haggerston Baths

I cycled down Whiston Road last week and spotted this amazing boat, high up above the roofs. Today I returned to sketch it, and investigate further.

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Whiston Road E2 is in Hackney, going off the Queensbridge Road.

I sketched outside Bryant Court. Then I went down “Swimmers Lane” and had a look at the back of the building. It’s a huge place. Clearly a former swimming pool, hence, presumably, Swimmers Lane.

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On the front is the Foundation stone, laid in 1903.

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Foundation Stone (click to enlarge image)

There are also huge entrance doors labelled “MEN” and “WOMEN”.

The whole place is sadly neglected.

I went and looked at the ship from the other side.

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Boat on Haggerston Baths, from the Queensbridge Road

While I was drawing, birds settled on the rigging.

At home, I found that this is “Haggeston Baths”. It closed in 2000, due to underfunding and neglect. Many were sad and they protested. In November 2017 Hackney Council accepted a proposal to redevelop the building. But it will not be a pool any more. Here is the Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, writing on the Hackney website November 28th 2017: 

“Hackney Council has chosen a preferred bidder to refurbish and redevelop the Haggerston Baths building. The agreement to lease will allow Castleforge Partners to apply for listed building consent and planning permission for a scheme to incorporate space for businesses, shops and a café, as well as community uses such as a clinic, health centre, day care centre or public hall.”

Mr Glanville continues:

“I know that local residents were keen to restore the swimming pool, so the council spent the best part of a year negotiating with a bidder whose proposals included a pool. As I said when we consulted on the shortlist, we could not get the reassurances we needed that the scheme with a pool would actually be delivered.”

He makes no mention of the boat. What will happen to it?

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Stone, art, in Swimmers Lane

Someone found some money for strange stone artworks, clearly referencing the pool.

Both sketches done on location, the first one about an hour, the second one 35minutes.

 

Brunswick Place N1

Brunswick Place is a seam in North London, joining the fin-tech offices of Old Street to the social housing estates of the 1950s.

Here is the North side of Brunswick Place, seen from Charles Square.

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You see the Prince Arthur pub in the foreground, behind the ‘No Entry’ sign. The pub looks as though it has been there forever. In “pubshistory.com” (an amazing resource) licensees are listed back to 1841.

In the background, The Atlas Building is under construction.

In between, the pinkish building is an old office block with iron-framed windows, called “Jordan House”, occupied by 4 different businesses. Behind this is a brand new brown building, with groovy vertical windows making little triangular prisms.

A man came by with two bulky bags of shopping. He told me about the brown building in the picture. He said it was originally built to house Kings College staff and students. But that didn’t work. Now it is shared office space on the ground floor. “You know,” he said, the type where you just get a cubicle, battery hens!” And on the top, he said “it’s mostly women…”, he paused, “…from Korea”. The brand name on the side of this building is “Scape”, I had been looking at it. I didn’t put the writing in the picture. The man continued, “And you know the Q hotel? On Corsham Street? The Chinese are in there.” He paused again, waiting to see my reaction. I did my best to look interested. I was wondering where he was going with this. “We don’t get Anti-Social Behaviour!” he said. Good international relations in Shoreditch, evidently.

He had been living in the area for 40 years, he said, working for the Health Service. He had watched that brown building going up. The people in the building opposite, Vince Court*, had complained about the noise. “They were pile driving” he said, “Saturday, Sunday.”.

He pointed to a bright silver anti-climb device on Vince Court, all curved spikes. He had no time for the Local Authority, who had apparently sanctioned this device.  “It’s awful,” he said, “gives a very bad impression.” It did. Not only did it look awful, it was also ineffective. I had a look on my way home after the picture. The spikes are on top of a wall. But you can easily walk around the wall.

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Screen shot from ‘Scape’ website: Is this Korean?

When I was home, I looked up “Scape” on the web. They provide accommodation for students. You rent a room for a year (“51 weeks”). The website is in English and another language.

My drawing is a bit lopsided, with only the right side of the street showing. That is because a white van obscured the left side. While I was drawing, the engine started, and the van stayed there, by the kerb, with the engine running. It was still there, engine running, when I left. I never saw anyone get in or out.

Outside the Prince Arthur pub, there are a collection of bollards. One is shown in the picture. Two of these bollards are cannon. In the background of the middle picture you see the offensive anti-climb spikes on Vince Court.

About 1 hour. Drawn and coloured on location. 6 degrees C.

I have drawn the Atlas Building before. See: this blog post from 16 March this year.

*Vince Court is off the picture, to the left.

A peregrination in De Beauvoir Town

I went for a long walk North.

De Beauvoir Town and De Beauvoir Estate are next to each other.

Here is a quick sketch of the very pretty houses on De Beauvoir Square, De Beauvoir Town. A tower block near Dalston Junction is just visible.

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Just around the corner is the lovely St Peter’s Church, designed by WC Lockner, 1830s. In the basement of the Church, they serve lunch every Friday.

Then I walked back South, along De Beauvoir Road.

Here is a view looking West. The houses in the foreground are on De Beauvoir Road. In the background is Portelet Court, part of the De Beauvoir Estate, 1960s, Hackney Homes.

I drew Portelet Court as reddish. When I went into the estate to find the name of the block, I saw that the cladding is a dark grey. It only looked red because the sun was setting.

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Portelet Court, over the rooves of houses on De Beauvoir Road.

I drew this picture sitting on the pavement on De Beauvoir Road. About an hour. As I was getting up a cyclist stopped. I must have looked a bit awkward. He asked if I was ok. I said yes, puzzled. “I thought you had fallen over” said the cyclist, “you don’t often see people sitting on the pavement.”

I guess you don’t.

Towers of North London

I have a project to draw all the towers I can see from my window. These are the towers of Finsbury, Hackney and Camden in North London.

To identify the Towers, I made an etching of the sky line. This is the view from my window. I look North.

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This is an aquatint, made at East London Printmakers. Later I am going to put all the names on.

Here’s an earlier stage of the same picture.  This is the hard ground etching.

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This is Charbonnel Doux printing ink on Fabriano Unica Printing Paper from Great Art. Copper plate etched in Edinburgh etch for 25 minutes.

 

 

“Anthology” and Bridport Place N1

From our flat we can see this core against the skyline.

It is Phase 3 of Hackney Council’s redevelopment of the Colville Estate. Two towers, called “Anthology” 16 and 20 floors “solely for private sale, to help cross subsidise the construction cost of the remaining social rent buildings”.

I drew this from Shoreditch Park. It rained. I walked around a bit. The sun came out. I started again. It rained again. I got back on my bike and went home and finished the colouring on my desk at home.
12:10, 1 hour intermittent on location and half an hour at home. I’m quite pleased with the tree.