Sunday, 29 December 2013

Fish Island

Fish Island, Olympic Park, London, Dace Road, Forman's Fish Island
You can smell the bagels from here!
Fish Island, literally a stones throw away or should that be a javelin's throw away from London's Olympic Park, is in the process of rapid urban and cultural transformation. But, this is nothing new for an area renowned for being a factory town not unlike something straight out of a Mad Max film. 

In previous lives this whole area has been a wasteland, a cities gutter, a bomb aimers drop zone, a whore's street corner and a fly tippers paradise for defunct white goods. It was even mentioned in an episode of DR WHO.

Now, gated apartments, painted in matt colours of red, orange and grey reach for the sky planted between terraced houses and derelict industrial buildings much like rotting teeth in a vagrants mouth. Many of those terraced houses have long gone but business is still booming with skip hire and scrap yard merchants on every corner.

Take the overground train from Platform 1 at Stratford International Station, I didn't think I'd hear those words in my lifetime, and after one stop disembark at Hampton Wick station to enter an east end world. Apparently, Hackney Wick station, was the scene of the first railway murder. Let your imagination wander and you can almost feel the Kray twins eyes on you as they wait ominously on the corner of Dace Road, ready to break your kneecaps or cause some other bodily disfigurement far too grisly to describe. Fish Island is now a conservation area. 

Urban Street Art, London, Fish Island

Many of the terraced houses and old industrial buildings cling on but they're not making toilet paper (The British Perforated Paper Co.) or mint creams (Bassett's Clarnico) anymore, but music. Dance and artists' studios have literally sprung up everywhere ensuring these important buildings are just not pulverised by over exuberant housing developers all in the name of progress. 

Fish Island, Olympic Park

And before the whole area is cleansed beyond recognition why not take a Street Art tour, just follow the link.

The Redchurch Brewery, Bethnal Green. E2
Enjoy a handcrafted beer from Redchurch Brewery
One of the big employees on Fish Island is H. Forman & Son, who have been smoking salmon since 1905. The current family owner, Lance Forman, has plenty to say about the Olympic effect and how it has actually slowed down progression. Read what Lance had to say, just follow the link. Interestingly, H.Forman & Son has survived fire, flood and relocation by LOCOG who spent £10bn on building the Olympic Park, obviously they are set to remain here making the best of it. 

If all this talk of doom and gloom is making you thirsty then you'd better retire to Forman's restaurant for a glass of Shoreditch Blonde or Hoxton Stout and enjoy a delicious fish cake from the Brunch menu.

Now all the hype has died down and TV crews have left look at the Olympic Park from the corner of your eye and you'd be forgiven for thinking a UFO had just landed on an east end world.

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