Spitalfields Open Gardens: behind the shutters

In June 2014 I spent a delightful morning looking at a selection of Spitalfields gardens.

20 Fournier Street
21 Princelet Street
21 Wilkes Street
31 Fournier Street
34 Hanbury Street
7 Fournier Street


It’s the bit of London sandwiched between Liverpool St and Brick Lane.  It’s where the Huguenots lived, where the Jewish community settled and where the Indian community made their home.  Somehow the large Georgian homes had survived.  They may have been divided into tiny flats, or even made into a Synagogue (see my post here on 19 Princelet Street), but in the last few decades the houses have been restored and now sell for millions.  When I questioned some of the residents, they told me that despite the proximity to the City, bankers generally still live in West London and Spitalfields attracts more architects, TV people (Kira Knightley lived there), creatives and historians (Dan Cruickshank lives there).

Honestly, I was more interested in the glimpse of interiors as I was passing along the side corridor from front door to rear courtyard gardens.

What struck me was that some have gone all new and contemporary (in a very stylish way), like the house below at 21 Wilkes Street: there is a white-themed gardens (they inspired me to have white hydrangeas), a dug out with water feature to allow light into the sitting room in the basement, a metal and glass bridge across the gap, and a lovely kitchen behind a wall of glass, where all the plates and paraphernalia of modern live are displayed on open shelves as there are only lower cupboards.

Source: NGS

There was the middling house, where the garden felt dated, to have been planted in the 1980s (so I didn’t take any photos).

Then others had gone all Georgian and stripped their floors bare and created an eclectic environment where a bit of dirt wasn’t out of place.

Oooh, how the other half live.

When visited: June 2014

Website: http://www.ngs.org.uk

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