Our 10,000 square feet of internal and external working space lies in the heart of the Elder Street Conservation Area, an Area of Archaeological Importance, and a Scheduled Ancient Monument area.
Things haven’t changed much since the road was built in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, with the street outside a mixture of small businesses and residential properties.
Back then, these tall town houses were popular as adaptable buildings that could serve equally well as homes, shops or small industrial spaces. Our winding staircase suggests a colourful past as a multiple-occupancy residence and combined workshop.
In the late 1800s, famed philanthropist Charles Booth studied levels of deprivation in East London and created a Poverty Map, classifying streets according to seven colours, depending on their level of wealth.
Black stood for ‘lowest class, vicious, semi-criminal’. Yellow was for ‘upper class, wealthy’. Elder Street came out near the top, as one of the red, ‘well-to-do’ locations.
Our scaffold garden is a wonder to behold. This verdant wall was designed with the help of Campaign Design, garden designer Stephen Woodhams and garden construction specialists Morgan & Neal to include a variety of plants specifically chosen to attract wildlife such as bees, butterflies and birds.
Among the greenery are a mixture of herbs, such as coriander, thyme, mint, Moroccan mint, dill, parsley, basil and chives, and vegetables, including potatoes, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, aubergine, lettuce, leeks, courgettes, cucumbers, radishes and French beans.
Every year we open up it up as part of the National Open Garden Scheme to let everyone explore this thriving garden space, with all proceeds going to charity. Our roof garden is also home to more than 60,000 lively honeybees whose hives produce honey with a colour and taste that is unique to the pollen gathered from our plants.
‘The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library’ – Albert Einstein
When you visit our Elder Street home, you will find The Waiting Room, an enlightening space filled with a curated collection of texts. Serendipitous thoughts can often be lost in digital research and this room provides a space away from predictive online environments.
The space hosts a theme that changes every three months. The 15 selected titles cover a range of genres and styles, and have been chosen to inspire ideas and trigger conversations. The Waiting Room aims to engage visitors in the physicality of reading and stimulate exploratory thinking.