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Summer At Arnold Circus

August 13, 2017
by the gentle author

At this time of year, the canopy of trees over-arching Arnold Circus is an awe inspiring sight to behold, as if a forest clearing had been magically transported and placed at the centre of a maze of city streets. From within the tiny park you see the towering red brick mansion blocks framed by trees, imparting an atmosphere of lyrical romance entirely in tune with the Arts & Crafts ethos of Britain’s first Council Estate.

Yet, if you wander further within the Estate, you come upon satellite gardens contrived by the residents using old baths, canes and twigs as a means to create temporary vegetable plots among the yards between the buildings. The idiosyncratic forms of these curious contraptions hung with glinting things offer a sympathetic complement to the regularity of the architecture and it makes your heart leap to see cherished home grown vegetables nurtured so tenderly in unexpected circumstances.

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6 Responses leave one →
  1. August 13, 2017

    Yes its green stuff day today. I like lots of greenery within the city which has to cheer Londoners up, that’s it people more green the better it generates more clean air. London is greener than you think the city still deserves a better environment that will happen when there is only electric cars. I know London Plane trees are doing their stuff removing pollution. We are seeing more motivation green-wise n town now that’s nice, end of rant. Poet John

  2. Dean Armond permalink
    August 13, 2017

    Arnold Circus is always glorious but the photos of the vegetable gardens created by locals were wonderful.

    Another great article, thank you Gentle Author!

  3. Wendy Lowe permalink
    August 13, 2017

    One of my favourite places. Wonderful photos and article. Thank you.

  4. August 13, 2017

    I came to Arnold Circus on my personal off-beat tourist trail, a few years after watching the marvellous the BBC/Open University’s ‘The Secret History of our Streets’, an update on Booth’s C19th survey of the Life and Labour of the People in London ‘. Whilst it was of real interest to see the capital’s first ever council housing, what really surprised me was how utterly peaceful it was to sit on a bench in the little raised park. At the risk of seeming fey, I later discovered that, according to London folk law, the circus marks the end of ancient ley line. Perhaps that explained it, or perhaps it was the combination of a well established community combined with enlightened architectural and social planning.

    Mystical, municiple or the result of some kind of urban alchemy, the circus is a true city oasis.

  5. Greg Tingey permalink
    August 13, 2017


  6. Marcelle Garner permalink
    August 14, 2017

    I think that the history of Arnolds Circus is a sad one .It was originally built to house people from the slums but the rent was far too high for the majority & very few people were able to go there .They ended up in even more crowded slums as theirs had been demolished to make way for these flats.Now I believe that they are privately owned & cost a fortune to buy .As usually those who are in desperate need miss out.

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