Pocket London: East London Printed Tour Guide

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This is an architectural tour of East London – suitable for cycling and long-distance walking – which showcases ambitious public sector housing developments which sought to provide a better quality of life for residents across the modern London boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets

It is a paper self-guided version our popular East London Architecture Cycle Tour led by up-and-coming historic conservation and preservation expert David Garrard.

The East London Architecture Cycle Tour is part of a new series of live events, printed tours and OH Friends-only on-demand audio tours celebrating the very best of public housing design across the four corners of the capital.

Focussing on the most visually-striking and memorable modernist achievements of progressive boroughs in north, south, east and west London – the tours show how spacious design, health and quality of life are once again in the spotlight as our city moves forward out of the pandemic.

Highlights of East London Pioneers include Britain’s first public housing development – the arts and crafts-inspired Boundary Estate in Shoreditch – along with Brutalist landmarks such as the semi-demolished Robin Hood Gardens by Alison & Peter Smithson and the Balfron Tower by Hungarian émigré Ernő Goldfinger.

Representing a series of prominent landmarks amid the rapidly changing townscape of east London, these unique locations will be brought to life to reveal the fascinating details behind their construction during a moment of unparalleled optimism and idealism for the future.

Owners of the printed tour will discover the extraordinary stories of diverse and previously overlooked architects who brought a fresh wave of talent and ambition to the design of public housing.

Guide by David Garrard, 2020

Meet the author
David Garrard is a Senior Lecturer in the School of the Built Environment at Oxford Brookes University, where he is director of the popular and long-running MSc course in Historic Conservation. Over the years he has held a variety of roles across the historic environment sector, at organisations including English Heritage, the Victorian Society and the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Having originally trained in philosophy, his academic interests concern the ethical and political-theoretic aspects of conservation and heritage practice – themes on which he is currently writing a PhD at King’s College London.

Born and raised in Manchester, he came to London in the mid-2000s, spent several years as a resident of the Barbican Estate (where he developed a strong love-hate relationship with Brutalist architecture), and now lives in Tower Hamlets. He joined the Open House team in 2014, and has run tours on the architecture of the East End and the Lea Valley, as well as on Brutalism, Art Deco and the Baroque.