Friday, September 05, 2014

Lunch in a Loo

Thursday was another day for exploring new places. My day started on the overground, traveling to Hackney Central. I walked south from the station, past the Hackney Empire theatre to the Hackney Museum to see a marvellous exhibition of photos by Colin O'Brien. He started taking photos when he was a young boy, and has captured little moments of a long-gone London.

A quick walk north brought me to Sutton House, which is the biggest Tudor home in London, or the finest, or some other superlative that I can't remember. I mistakenly thought that it was the home of Thomas Sutton, the founder of the Charterhouse (see my post about my tour there on Tuesday), but it isn't. So why the heck do they call it Sutton House? Seems Thomas Sutton lived in a house next door, which was demolished so that the Charterhouse could build a row of 16 Georgian terrace houses on the property. Originally the Tudor home was known as Bryck Place, as it was one of the first brick houses in the area when it was built in 1535. I think I was the only punter in the place, so I was able to wander alone throughout the house, from cellar to top floor. It's amazingly intact, given how many families -- and a bunch of squatters in the 1980s -- lived in it through the centuries. 

For my lunch, I headed to a place I'd read about in a Londonist article on bars and restaurants in converted public toilets. The Convenience in Brooksby's Walk is run by a group of women over the age of 55 (the "Nanas") who make and serve comfort food in a former toilet block. I had a lovely bowl of carrot and parsnip soup on their rooftop terrace. The restaurant is in the former gents' side of the loo. The ladies' is now unisex, with fixtures that look like they date from the 1930s or 40s. On the back of the stall door, I saw a notice from the Hackney Council on how to prevent and treat venereal disease that must have been there at least 60 years.

Next, I hopped on a bus that took me up to Stoke Newington Station, the meeting point for Sam Roberts' ghostsigns tour. I'd known Sam via the internets for years -- following his blog and contributing photos of ghostsigns to the archives he founded through the History of Advertising Trust -- but had never met him in person. He is passionate about these fading adverts of days gone by, and gives an enthusiastic and enjoyable tour of about 20 of them around Stoke Newington High Street and Church Street.   

The number 73 bus took me from Stoke Newington Town Hall to the Photographers' Gallery, passing a couple of ghostsigns on the way (one in Newington Green and the other in Grays Inn Road near the Pentonville Road). At the gallery, I had a quick look at an exhibition of colour photos from Russia. Ho, hum.  

Pushing on, I arrived at the Hoop and Grapes in Farringdon Street for a meet-up with friends from Flickr and Ipernity. It was a lovely evening, and I'm so happy to have met and stayed in touch with this lot over the past years. 

Sorry this post has been a little thin on details and observations, but I've got to take a shower and head out soon for my long walk in Poplar. I'll try to write a more extensive post tomorrow. Here's a teaser:  Ships ahoy and Call the Midwife!

£3.50 Sutton House 
£3.50 lunch in the loo
£12.50 ghostsigns walking tour
£7.50 beer and falafel burger

17,034 steps, 6.72 miles


  1. Maggie Jones3:42 AM

    I'm definitely going to have to spend a penny in The Convenience! Never knew it existed so thanks for the info MJ ☺

  2. Enjoying vicarious travels with you. Fun trip. Things are fine here. Just a little achy and a funny story for when you get back.

  3. Great to meet you M.J. See you again when you're next over. Happy travels! Sam