Dalston’s Secret Green Space – The Eastern Curve Garden

Next to the well-known Hackney Peace Carnival mural, painted in 1985 on a gable end in Dalston Lane, you’ll find the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden.

The garden is built over the route of the old railway line which used to link Dalston Junction with an old goods yard up until the 1960s, and this forgotten patch of land was then used for storage for many years. In 2009 architecture collective EXYZT acquired the site for the construction of the temporary ‘Dalston Mill’ (seen here on the Barbican’s page from that year) and in 2010 the garden appeared.

Today the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden features a popular open air cafe, raised beds for the growing of vegetables and flowers and lots of green space in which to relax – something that’s in short supply in the centre of Dalston. The most recent addition to the garden is the Pineapple House, a much-needed greenhouse to allow the green-fingered volunteers to propagate new plants before they’re introduced to the harsh Dalston climate! The garden plays host to lots of organised activities too, for both children and adults – see the events calendar for more details.

The garden is in a very unusual spot, hemmed in by buildings on two sides and a car park on the other – it’s a lovely little oasis of calm with a ‘secret garden’ quality to it, given that you enter via an anonymous door off the main road. In terms of its unique features, it can certainly lay claim to having the most unusual scarecrows in London and there’s also a rather unique take on the ‘firepit’ concept over on one side! The garden also features a couple of works by street art favourite, Stik, as well as some unusual stone heads that are dotted around here and there.

If you’re local, the voluntary group that runs the site is always looking for helpers, whether you’re comfortable pouring tea or handy with a trowel – you’ll find the sign-up form here.

In a rather troubling development, the Hackney Citizen reports that the future of the Eastern Curve Garden is currently in doubt, as there’s been a lot of new development in the immediate area in recent years and long-standing proposals call for the removal of the garden and its replacement by a shopping street. Let’s hope that local councillors see sense and leave it exactly as it is – this is a wonderful resource for locals and visitors alike. I imagine that it will be absolutely thronged with people this weekend if the warm weather arrives as promised…

About Pete Stean

Pete Stean is a London-based writer and photographer. He can also be found on Twitter and on Google Plus.

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