I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now. I volunteered for the Open House Architecture Festival back in 2011, where I took visitors on a tour of the former Commonwealth Institute before its renovation into what is now the new Design Museum. In my old blog post, you can see that we were initially told the full transformation would be completed in 2014. This did not happen but finally the Design Museum’s brand new shiny doors have been opened in 2016.
Before in 2011:
After in 2016:
I previously blogged about being a researcher for the building history, design and architecture project. (See my last post about it here.) This project can now be seen as a new exhibition called the ‘Panorama High Street East’ showcased in the CASS Gallery in London.
The project is described on the gallery website as: “This exhibition introduces the Building Exploratory’s photographic panorama of 600 buildings along both sides of Whitechapel High Street, Mile End Road and Bow Road. The exhibition will feature high quality photographs of the panorama’s main terraces, significant buildings and public spaces.” The photography of the building’s panorama is taken by Jon Spencer.
You can see it from Tuesday 11th March to Friday 22nd March 2013. Opening hours are: Tuesday 12th – Friday 22nd March open 12 – 5pm, 7pm on Thursdays, 11-4pm Saturday.
An image from the gallery website:
Below are some photos taken of the exhibition. The top photo on the display includes some of the buildings in my section which I researched. (Like the former Wickhams Department store).
Other photography work accompanying the Panorama East Project:
Here is some more photos of my assigned research section of the road. It is a gloomy exit out of the Anchor Retail Park.
The Adams House pictured below dates back to the Georgian times. It was part of the Anchor brewery.
The Tower Hamlets Archives proved to be a valuable place to research. The old maps that ranged from as vast as 1996, 1994, 1989, 1962, 1948 on the smaller maps. And 1938, 1913, 1894, 1873, 1870 for the larger scale maps. The most notable changes is evident in the Anchor Brewery structure. The images collection contains old photographs, postcards and newspaper cuttings. There is even an original sketch of a section of Mile End road.
I’m starting voluntary work as a researcher for a charity that supports the learning of architecture, the built environment and design. This work will be for a new online community heritage resource available for the public to use. Each researcher will be assigned a section of the road anywhere from Aldgate to the 2012 Olympic Park. Every building in the particular section will be documented – providing both historic and contemporary information. “The resulting website will be a wonderful multi layered resource featuring: a photographic panorama of every building on the street, information on the history of the buildings, current and historical images, local people’s views and memories.”
An example of a building that I will research into is the Genesis Cinema. I’ve been looking at some old photographs of the previous uses of the cinema. It is so interesting to see its development from the first opening to present day use for over 150 years. (From the Eagle Public House, Lusby’s Music Hall, Paragon Theatre of Varieties, Mile End Empire, ABC Mile End to finally as it is today known as the Genesis Cinema.)
Another building that I have been looking at is the former Wickhams Department Store. The old lettering is removed but is still evident.
I volunteered for the Open House Architecture Festival. It was very exciting to see the new location of the Design Museum before it gets renovated. Researching and learning more about the Commonwealth Institute was interesting. I can’t wait to see the full transformation in 2014!
A photo of the Commonwealth Institute interior that was opened to the public for the last time before the renovation: