The New Curiosities of Hackney Wick

January 18, 2012

Arts and Culture, London Sights

Even with its entirely industrial past the promise of the Olympics is effecting some remarkable changes in Hackney Wick.

The most intriguing of these transformations can be seen at Stour Space, an art collective and café occupying an old warehouse which probably has the most commanding view of the Olympic Stadium of any building in the area, sitting as it does just on the other side of the canal – the art here is rather avant garde, Dan Ainsworth’s ‘Cock and Ball’ being a case in point! They do a rather mean breakfast here too, and salmon also features heavily on the menu for a reason I will go on to explain.

Dan Ainsworth's 'Cock & Ball' Lamp

In preparation for the redevelopment of the Olympic Park many people don’t know that several long-established businesses were displaced – one of these was H.Forman & Son, a traditional salmon smokery.  Now these guys were  very wily in their negotiations with the authorities, because their new timber-clad building also faces the Olympic Stadium over the canal. They’ve also clearly considered the implications of the Games being on their doorstep as there is a second floor gallery, restaurant and event space that I imagine will draw in some very big players during the summer…

A view through to salmon being smoked at H. Forman & Son

Elsewhere in Hackney Wick you’ll also find a new theatre, the Yard, which is reopening for the Spring and several art galleries including the Elevator Gallery and Performance Space. Of course Hackney Wick already has lots of art in the open air, mostly courtesy of celebrated graffiti artists ‘Cyclops’ and ‘Sweet Toof’…


We were shown around the area today by local artist Hilary Powell who has her own interesting take on the upcoming Olympics – a film from 2007 called ‘The Games’ which you could say mourns the passing of the ‘old’ Hackney Wick and surrounding area, and she’s also the creator of ‘Olympic Spirit‘ – a concoction made with berries gathered from the Olympic site after the blue boards went up around it but before the diggers arrived. Hilary also recommends the Wick Curiosity Shop website for people interested in what’s happening in the local arts scene. Welcome to the Wick, as they say…


About The Londoneer

Pete Stean is a keen blogger, amateur photographer, singer and ham radio enthusiast in his spare time... Google+

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  1. London Fringe Theatre Round-Up - Londoneer - April 20, 2012

    [...] of London’s lesser-known theatres can be found in the arty surroundings of Hackney Wick, in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium. The Yard Theatre opens for its second season on 28 April [...]

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