My Secret London: Boundary Estate

We all have our favourite spots in London, maybe Postman’s Park, Dennis Severs House, or The Wallace Collection.

One area that I love to stroll around in the sunshine is the Boundary Estate in Shoreditch.

Arnold Circus

Boundary Estate the UK’s first council housing project, built in 1890 on the cleared ruins of the infamous Old Nichol slum – made famous by Arthur Morrison’s 1896 novel A Child of the Jago.

The listed Arts and Crafts estate is made up of five storey red- and yellow-brick buildings which look resplendent in the sun.

The estate was built along philanthropic principles with a school, shops on Calvert Avenue, churches, workshops to provide employment and a central laundry.

The streets of the estate fan out from the central bandstand, Arnold Circus and are bordered by beautiful plane trees.

Recently, the bandstand has been refurbished by The Friends of Arnold Circus, who organise music events and summer fairs around the Circus.

Boundary Estate

One of the founders of The Friends is Leila McAllister, proprietor of Leila’s Shop, a grocery and café located a stones-throw from the Circus on Calvert Avenue and known for its brilliantly curated supply of international foodstuffs.

On the opposite corner of the Circus is the old Rochelle School, which is now home to artist studios, a gallery and Frieze Art magazine. Rochelle attracted people from fashion, arts and music – and slowly a community has emerged. Fashion designer’s Luella Bartley and Giles Deacon have used it as a base.

boundary estate 3

Hidden behind the wall of the school, is the Rochelle Canteen, a cult lunchtime restaurant run by chef Margot Henderson and Melanie Arnold – highly recommended!

Alison Lloyd, founder of Ally Capellino had her first studio in one of the workshops on the estate, and now the brand’s studio is in the old weights and measures building. I took a browse in their Calvert Avenue shop, which stands where the original parade of shops once were.

I would thoroughly recommend the area for a sunny Sunday stroll!

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