Bunhill Quaker Gardens

Charting the redevelopment of the Quaker Gardens between Banner Street and Chequer Street, London, in 02005.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

New surface for the playground

This photo looks along the eastern edge of the site. In the foreground is ball court, then the playground, and behind that the bluebell ridge in the garden.

The mounds of shaley pebbles you can see were delivered this morning by the site entrance, then the digger transferred them into the shovel-buggy, which distributed them around the playground area.

Between the smaller tree in the foreground and the one behind it (click the photo for a larger version) you can see the concrete platform for the slide that will go from the upper level on the right down to the playground. The new surface material has been spread, with a space, round this to bring the ground flush with the platform. By contrast, the concrete platform on the left is still raised above the surrounding earth.

Friday, March 11, 2005

The last concrete?

Originally uploaded by davidjennings.
There were a couple more deliveries of concrete today. As well as filling in the final platform, a couple of holes were dug by the far edge of the ball court, and then filled in. There's also a concrete base for the slide at the other end of the site.

I think the woman standing on the concrete in this picture may be landscape architect Marianne Park. (I'm just guessing from the way she was gesticulating with one of the men in yellow jackets!)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Ball court fence posts

Ball court fence posts
Originally uploaded by davidjennings.
Lots of people on site today. Earlier, another shipment of concrete arrived, so now all the playground platforms bar one are complete. The fence is being erected and boys walking past are starting to realise that the ball court is going to be a ball court. I wonder if they will be tempted to try it out before it's properly finished?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Delivery for the ball court

Delivery for the ball court
Originally uploaded by davidjennings.
This morning a three-wheel fork-lift truck made this delivery for the ball court. It looks like it might be part of the fencing.

In other developments, there was another delivery of concrete for the playground, and the men in yellow jackets did some more measuring and marking.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Marking out the quiet garden

Marking out the quiet garden
Marking out the quiet garden
Originally uploaded by davidjennings.Playground in progress
Originally uploaded by davidjennings.
The men in yellow coats were back today, and in this picture you can just about make out the yellow lines they've drawn. They've written MOUND inside these lines, so I think this must be the inner flower bed of the quiet garden. The ridge in the middle foreground is the inside border of the path, and the blubell ridge is closest to us — all of this is in the top right quadrant of the plan. On the right-hand border of this picture is the George Fox memorial stone.

Earlier in the day, the girders used yesterday to bound the concrete were removed, now that the concrete has set, and redeployed on other to-be-concreted areas of the playground.

The orange tubing, seen in a coil under the tree, was cut into short lengths and then each of these is planted round the Border of the concrete surface. Here's a ground-level picture. I don't quite understand this. I assume the tubing is to allow water to drain, or to allow the earth under the concrete to 'breathe'. But if that's true, wouldn't it make more sense to put it near the centre of the concreted area, rather than round the border where draining and breathing is less constrained?

Monday, March 07, 2005

Concrete for the playground

waiting for the cement mixer
Waiting for London Concrete
Originally uploaded by davidjennings. dispensing the concrete
Dispensing the concrete
Originally uploaded by davidjennings.
Here's the digger, engine running, waiting for the London Concrete cement mixer to come trundling up the Chequer Street cobbles. You can see the iron grid that will reinforce the concrete.

It took two cement mixers to deliver enough for the first two squares. The lower picture shows the digger dispensing some of it.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Zen gardens and memories

Zen Garden, San Diego
Originally uploaded by davidjennings.
This photo is of a zen garden five and a half thousand miles away in San Diego. At the Quaker Meeting today, an Islington Tribune article about the burial ground redevelopment was passed round. There I read that Marianne Park, the architect of the new development, cited zen gardens and their sense of quiet as an influence on her design for the Bunhill site. As well as this photograph, I've uploaded a set of others of zen gardens in Portland and San Francisco from a trip I made up the West Coast in 02001.

I met Olive Yarrow, who has been coming to the Bunhill site since before the old adult school and coffee tavern were bombed in the Second World War. She was married in the present Meeting House in 01953. Here are some of her memories of Quaker childhood. In answer to the question I posed a week ago, I understand that there are several Quaker Braithwaites associated with the area, and Braithwaite House is named in tribute to all of them.

At the end of the Meeting, I was asked about this site. It's very much intended to complement the existing sites and histories relating to the area — see the 'Related Sites' links on the right — and anyone is welcome to make comments or suggestions. Click 'comments' on any of the entries, or send me a message.