London lived up to its old name, The Big Smoke, when I arrived late after circling several times due to the fog. After checking in to the hotel, and sorting out some “housekeeping” things, I started out the explore the neighbourhood. I selected the area because it was close to several markets, including Spitalfields, Brick Lane and Petticoat Lane. Although Sunday is Spitalfields’ biggest day, things were hopping when I arrived on Friday afternoon. Most of the stalls that were open were individual artists and craftsmen. This gent from the Scottish highlands made funny little critters from old tweeds. As I watched, he sat and cut and sewed more characters.
Across from the market is the Christ Church Spitalfields, which has just undergone a massive renovation after being in disrepair for a number of years. The building was designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, who worked with the great architect Sir Christopher Wren. Hawksmoor also designed Castle Howard and Blenheim Palace.The last congregation left the church in the late 1950’s and the church was left to ruin, although a few hardy souls worked at keeping it from demolition. Beginning in the 1990’s, a long period of restoration was started, first strengthening the infrastructure and then restoring the details. In 2004, the church reopened and its congregation returned.
After lots of walking around on my bum knee, and getting no sleep on the flight due to a howling baby, I had an early night and rested up for my next day’s adventures. Stay tuned!