Spitalfields Lament

By M@ Last edited 215 months ago
Spitalfields Lament
Bishops Square.jpg

We found this cryptic remark lying askew amongst the limited foliage of Bishops Square. That’s the recently opened public space and office/retail complex near Liverpool Street Station, which has attracted a particularly bohemian class of nimby. As you’re probably aware, the site nestles right up against the tatty but historic buildings of Spitalfields Market, parts of which were demolished to make way for the wider scheme. The insipid, great-glass blocks are more of a nude envelopment than new development, and its easy to see why they were so strongly opposed.

To be fair, it’s not so grim as you might think. The open space did have some vibrancy about it on our visit, and there’s a rather inspired collection of peculiar sculpture dotted around the site. But the endless iteration of glass and steel, Foster and Fosters, lattes and ciabattas is starting to get a little charmless. What’s the alternative? Don’t ask us, we just moan here.

It looks like someone, more poetic than us, agrees. At least the way we read it, the little plaque sounds like a lament. 400 years of colourful Spitalfields history (or petty crimes, prostitution, filth and poverty, if we’re being uncharitably accurate about much of that history) have been defaced by the soulless modern. Look away now if you agree.

Last Updated 25 April 2006