Sunday, 13 June 2010
Fournier Street - E1
Fournier Street is without doubt one of my favourite London streets - although I am a bit concerned that the relentless gentrification of the Spitalfields area (there's a freakin' Strada on Commercial St!) will start to edge in. I was disturbed today to see a Timberland shop next to the Ten Bells pub and then I got sucked in by some cool old fashioned shoes they were selling and realised I was perpetuating a common inner urban experience - the areas you loved for their mix of coolness and edginess start to attract big name brands, you hate it but you like the fact you don't have to go into the West End so you start to spend, more brands move in....before you know it the area you loved is a carbon copy of every bland High St. Sigh - I suppose you can't stop progress but part of the charm of Fournier Street when I first fell in love with it and when I lived just round the corner, was that several of the houses looked derelict and so you really did feel as though you were in an older, darker London. Anyway - enough doom and gloom - it's still a wonderful street and an almost perfect example of an early 18th century Georgian Huguenot street. It is home to Gilbert & George (which was how I first heard of it and had written it on my "things to see when I arrive in London look") - I would sometimes see them at their front door as I walked past. I was tempted to offer my bodily fluids for their artwork but perhaps wisely, never did. The start of the street is flanked by the wonderful Christ Church Spitalfields and the Ripper-famous Ten Bells pub. At the other end of this shortish street is Brick Lane. And in between is a little slice of Georgian London that makes me very happy.