The Architectural Sporting Heritage of Hackney Marsh




Site of the London Olympic Stadium, July 2008 (Photo: Alan Tucker).

I am very pleased to announce that my guided walk, “The Architectural Sporting Heritage of Hackney Marsh”, features in the London Festival of Architecture 2017.

This circular walk from Stratford looks at some of the 2012 venues, which are in daily use, but soon steps back into the past to visit the sites of two former running tracks, a greyhound stadium, and a big sports clubhouse which have all disappeared.

The theme for LFA 2017 is memory and across the East End of London, memory is often all that exists. You can look around you today, and you’d never guess…

I live exactly 1km from the former Olympic Stadium in Bow, and I’m delighted with the improvements that have been happening nearby. The wide open spaces of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park are a great asset to the local community. In April we had relatives visit from Glasgow and we were able to send them for a reasonably priced swim in the Aquatics Centre. How cool is that?

I’ve lived in Bow since 1985 and used to walk along the canals with my camera exploring the run-down industrial wasteland between Bow and Stratford. It was dramatically transformed by people with vision for the 2012 Olympics. I thought I knew the area –  until I started visiting research archives. I had no idea of the rich architectural and sporting heritage which was once here.

Eton Manor sports ground 1960 – image from Bishopsgate Institute archive.

I’ll be bringing my research papers out with me, old maps, drawings and photos, to show you what a fascinating place this really was.

Do join me on one of these walks if you can. You can enjoy the present architecture and landscape, we can discuss the future, and I think you’ll be amazed by the past.

The walk runs on Tues 6th June at 6.30pm, Sun 11th June at 11am, and Sun 25th June at 11am. It costs £10 per person. Please book using the Get Tickets button.

The London Festival of Architecture was founded in 2004, and has become Europe’s biggest annual architecture festival. LFA 2017 runs from 1-30 June and there are a huge number of other events for you to explore on the London Festival of Architecture website.