As the East End of London continues to undergo a major process of change, is there a danger that the voice of traditional communities will be lost? Not if the likes of The Decorators design collective have anything to do with it. Keen to preserve the East End way of life, the group’s Chrisp Street on Air project is on a mission to record and broadcast the goings-on at the long-running Tower Hamlets market and around the nearby Lansbury Estate.
The Chrisp Street market has been an important part of the community since Victorian times, and was modernised in the early 1950s to become the first pedestrianised shopping centre of its type in the country. Like most markets though, superstores and out-of-town retail parks have hit trade hard, and new ways must be found to sustain the Chrisp Street market into the next chapter of its life. Chrisp Street on Air has set up a recording studio in a vacant shop unit, producing a series of podcasts featuring local people that will act as both archive material and a source of ideas on how the area can evolve in the future. Live music, film and food events are all in the works, as well as boxing – a pursuit with strong connections to the East End. An outdoor boxing tournament in the market square on 29 March, accompanied by a special Chrisp Street menu, kicks off a short series of Saturday events; more details are available from the organisers.