Today I nearly choked on bus fumes in Mare Street in Hackney. Basically that bit from Marks and Spencer north – it’s a shopping street but not pedestrianised, and buses and cars pass through this narrow street. Because it was quite warm today, walking along at around 5.15pm I inhaled plenty of dangerous fumes, especially from buses, and the warm stale air made my head feel dizzy. There was also plenty of dodgy-looking folk walking about, and generally it felt like walking through a slum in Dickensian London (stinky and dodgy, with the poor and mad going about their business).
Seeing that I have been reading London: A Social History, I tried to see the positive aspect of living in Hackney and have thus discovered some Hackney Walks which look very interesting indeed. I want to do the Hackney Central one first, and then the Shoreditch one. Those two walks cover the area I live in, and the area I work in. I really like the Hackney Walks site (web 1.0 rules!) and the best thing is that:
All of the pages necessary for the walk have been designed to be printed out as A4 pages and may be used to guide the walker.
I might just be able to negotiate my disgust with foul, smelly, modern Hackney, and alleviate my pain by connecting with the place through history.
edit: note that the house in the top picture of my blog, Landsdowne Club, is an attraction or ‘sight’ (no. 22) on the Hackney Central walk.