Sunday, 9 September 2007

Ginger's Guide to London Streets #6: Silk Street (EC2)

London is so steeped in history from such a range of periods, that there are some wonderful street names out there. So when I recently found myself in the vicinity of Farringdon, in the City, I was looking forward to exploring Ropemaker Street, Silk Street, and other such delightfully named places that my map had to offer. I hoped to see traces of previous commercial enterprise, and maybe some of it persisting into the present.

The reality was a bit of a disappointment. The area, assuming it was once a hive of rope- and silk-trading activity, is now largely office based. It is consequently depressingly quiet and closed on a Saturday. So much so that during the ten minutes I was there, I only saw a handful of cars and was quite able to stand in the road to take some of my photos.

Anyway, in terms of what actually was there: well, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. I was slightly surprised to see it there as it seems a fairly uninspiring area, and I tend to
envisage arty types as better suited to more boho areas (such as RADA in Bloomsbury). But each to their own I guess. I'm sure its students don't complain about being offered places.

Besides, I guess it makes sense to have a music and drama school situated so close to an arts centre. The Barbican Centre is located somewhere above this road, although there is an entrance on Silk Street. Which is nice given that it looks about as easy to navigate as the Hayward Gallery. Oh the joys of
Brutalist architecture. Ahem. At least the bollards are pretty.


Steve said...

You do have to know where to go in Farringdon, but there are a number of interesting areas there. And then there's the Barbican.

Farringdon road has a printing history ( I work in Caxton house there ). Smithfields is also a fascinating place, if you avoid the business side of it.

Mat said...

You're right, Barbican is not a mecca for artsy types, but it's the most wonderful place to study, focus, live, function, and experience public space. And no, it's not pretty, but it is beautiful! There are a few of us who feel really connected with it.

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