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Summer At Arnold Circus

July 22, 2020
by the gentle author

In my opinion, Arnold Circus is the heart of the East End. As you walk up the steps towards the bandstand, with the London plane trees towering overhead, it is as an inspirational space – as if you are entering a vast green cathedral. The depth of the planting enfolding the park is such that you feel a forest has been transplanted into the city.

For more than a decade, the volunteers of the Friends of Arnold Circus have been tending the gardens around the bandstand under the inspirational supervision of gardener Andy Willoughby. It was here that the renewal of the Boundary Estate began when Andy took over the husbandry, enriching the planting with an imaginative range of lush shade-loving varieties. Once the gardens on this once-neglected Estate began to look beautiful again, it encouraged the renovation of the bandstand under the initiative of the Friends.

During the pandemic, funds for the gardens have disappeared and so now the Friends have launched a campaign to raise the money.

Click here to protect the gardens at Arnold Circus

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Gardening on the Roundabout in Victoria Park


9 Responses leave one →
  1. July 22, 2020

    This is a wonderful space in the East End’s heart. I do hope the funding for maintenance can be found. Also nice to see my fellow artist and friend Melissa Scott-Miller out on location, I know it’s one of her favourite spaces, her paintings can be found here:
    Thanks GE for the post.

  2. July 22, 2020

    I too love Arnold Circus. And to know that the central mound is built on all the rubble from the miserable streets that used to stand here, beauty from all that deprivation, is somehow cheering. It needs to be kept as a beacon in our strange and greedy world.

  3. July 22, 2020

    I have never been to this place but it looks spectacular. Love the scenery which is so colourful. Thank you for sharing

  4. July 22, 2020

    A shame modern aesthetic and building standards are nowhere near this

  5. Cathy Unwin permalink
    July 22, 2020

    How lovely to see it looking so lush. I used to go there to eat my sandwiches when I was working in Drysdale Street in the 80s. It was a peaceful place away from the office but a bit sad and neglected. Looking forward to returning when I’m feeling safe to travel again.

  6. July 22, 2020

    I recall that on 16th March 2013 your daily “Spitalfields Life” blog featured The Friends of Arnold Circus and in particular the hollyhock seeds which were then available at Leila’s Shop near Arnold Circus.

    My grandmother lived for many years in one of the flats in the Boundary Estate, my mother grew up there and her wider family also lived in many of the neighbouring buildings. I recall visiting my grandmother often, with my mother and brother, when I was young – back in the 1950’s. In 2013 I bought some of Leila Shop’s hollyhock seeds and I can report that they’re doing very well in my garden.

    There are indeed some lovely hollyhocks featured in your article of today (July 22nd 2020).

  7. July 22, 2020

    Simply lovely. Nature can be counted on to lift our spirits. Thank you.

  8. July 22, 2020

    What a Gorgeous “Circus”!!??????????

  9. July 23, 2020

    Please let’s remember Naseem Khan, who for many years was Chair of the Friends of Arnold Circus and who did so very much to preserve the space and make it more beautiful. All these plants and flowers are a testament to her love and commitment.

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