The Quirkiest Things That Lurk In The Overground's Arches

Harry Rosehill
By Harry Rosehill Last edited 9 months ago
The Quirkiest Things That Lurk In The Overground's Arches

The London Overground has made it to double digits. As of 11 November 2017, TfL's ginger stepson has been with the family for ten years. To celebrate this momentous occasion here's a roundup of some of the strangest businesses that lurk in its railway arches.

Board game cafe

One of the better known quirky businesses beneath the Overground arches is Draughts in Haggerston. London's first board game cafe came about thanks to a Kickstarter campaign. It's the perfect place to spend an afternoon with a few mates, sipping on beers and playing exciting games helpfully explained by their gurus. The trains rumbling overhead only serve to amp up the tension as the endgame nears.

Draughts, 337 Acton Mews, Hackney, E8 4EA

A boxing club

London Community Boxing is a charity boxing club based in Peckham. Their aim is to get people boxing for personal development and to increase social cohesion. There's strong evidence that boxing has an effect at reducing crime and reoffending among the most marginalised and vulnerable parts of society. Also, the noise of the trains is the perfect — if a bit intermittent — imitation of a crowd roaring you on in the championship rounds of a big fight.

London Community Boxing, 3-4 Bellenden Road Business Centre, Peckham, SE15 4RF

Knife forgery

Railway arches are a noisy place for a business. There's so much clanking from the trains echoing above that certain businesses are better suited than others to living beneath train tracks. For instance, you wouldn't want a library down there.

Blenheim Forge is a much more natural fit; there's a lot of noisy banging that goes into making knives. All their knives are handmade with so much craft and care, they can only create a handful a week. But when they're this pretty, who cares?

Blenheim Forge, Arch 229 Blenheim Grove, Peckham, SE15 4QL

A post shared by Blenheim forge (@blenheimforge) on

An urban winery

There are so many beer brewers in the Overground arches. It's like all the hipsters decided that the ginger line is the absolute coolest and want to get as close to it as possible. They're so countless, they might soon outnumber the garages that have dominated the arches for so long. So how about a winery to change things up?

Renegade London Wine is one of only two wineries in London, and makes a few different types of wine in its Bethnal Green arch. The only downside about Renegade is that is doesn't advertise the extra kick its wine surely gets from fermenting beneath the Overground. They could market the drinks as having 'Railway Essence'...

Renegade London Wine, Arch 12, Gales Gardens, Bethnal Green

5-a-side Footy

Powerleague Shoreditch

We admit it, these aren't proper arches. But this is worth a mention. Beneath the raised modern concrete tunnel section of track between Shoreditch High Street and Whitechapel, there's a smattering of Powerleague pitches. It's a bit of a dystopian setting for a game of 5-a-side, which is why we love it so much. Oh and if plain old football isn't your jam, how about a game of bubble football?

Powerleague Shoreditch, Braithwaite Street, Shoreditch, E1 6GJ

A cinema

If you're the type of person who gets annoyed by someone rustling through a bag of crisps in the cinema then the Institute of Light isn't for you. You'll have to deal with a lot worse, in a cinema that literally shakes every 10 minutes. If you can get over that, the cinema has an eclectic lineup of films to see, from blockbuster hits to arthouse shorts.

If you don't fancy having your film 'improved' by Overground trains, there's a bar in a shipping container round the back, and they also do pop-up residencies in the kitchen in case you get peckish.

Institute of Light, 376, 10 Helmsley Place, London Fields, E8 3SB

An art gallery that does wrestling

Photo: Pro Wrestling EVE

Resistance Gallery isn't your typical art gallery. Your typical art gallery doesn't have professional wrestlers, diving off the top turnbuckle onto their opponent. Like we said, this isn't your typical art gallery. Not one, but two different wrestling promotions regularly run shows here — Lucha Britannia and Pro Wrestling EVE.

If wrestling isn't your thing, there's still plenty of weird and wonderful art to enjoy. In their own words, they love "the kind of diversity that comes from the underground". Well you can't get much more 'underground', that beneath the Overground, can you?

Resistance Gallery, 265 Poyser Street, Bethnal Green, E2 9RF

Know any other unique businesses residing beneath the Overground? Shout them out in the comments beneath.

Last Updated 05 November 2018