Home » Art Life » Brightening up the High Street – Aberfeldy Street in Poplar

Brightening up the High Street – Aberfeldy Street in Poplar

Photograph by Laureen Katiyo

Over the last few weeks, the nice weather has enabled people to come out of their homes and enjoy being outdoors. Long time regular contributor, Laureen Katiyo made her way into Poplar and came across a fun and innovative way of brightening up the ‘high street’.

Photograph by Laureen Katiyo

The programme called Start Here has provided a visual transformation of Aberfeldy street in Poplar. Building frontages have been painted in a patchwork of colours and decorated in patterns inspired by fabrics donated by members of the largely Bangladeshi community in a nod to the Kantha tradition of recycling old textiles to make something new. The intention is to bring colour and artwork onto Aberfeldy Street, highlight the high street and celebrate the cultural identity of local people.

Photograph by Laureen Katiyo

As part of the programme, Aberfeldy Street gives businesses or individuals the opportunity to start and trial their ideas on the high street. The aim is to develop an active high street that provides opportunities for local people whilst serving the local community.

Photograph by Laureen Katiyo

One community initiative is ‘The People Speak’, which a project that encourages people to speak to each other. The formats look familiar at first: a chat show , a game show or even a soccer kick-about, but once people are involved, there’s no limit to where they can take each other. No instruction manual is required, and they like to have as much fun and get just as involved as everyone else.” They are hosting another socially-distanced roundtable community discussion on the street next Thursday (27 August) evening from 7:30pm – 9pm, which is open to everyone.

Photograph by Laureen Katiyo

Laureen also visited The Tommy Flowers micropub named after Tommy Flowers who not only played a major part in codebreaking but also developed what many consider to be one of the first electronic computers.

Tommy Flowers was born in Abbott Road, Poplar where he developed his interest in engineering. In 1941 Tommy was asked to work at Bletchley Park with Alan Turing on a project to decode German messages. However it was in 1943 when Turing introduced Tommy to Max Newman that work began on the project that would make their name.

Photograph by Laureen Katiyo

It is easy to become downhearted with the present crisis but it is not all doom and gloom, many organisations and individuals are looking for new and innovative ways to create a pleasant community environment and offer opportunities for people to develop their community and business ideas.

Many thanks to Laureen Katiyo for the photographs.


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