Bunhill Quaker Gardens

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

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Lying fallow

Soil for bushes
Originally uploaded by davidjennings.
Here, in the foreground, is the soil where bushes or small trees will be planted.

There is no work on site during the four days of Easter — probably the longest break the site will have until the work is finished.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


You may imagine that I do nothing all day except peer out of the window, photographing anything that moves. That's not true — though when I'm in the mood for being distracted, it's consoling and convenient to be able to wander to the window and see what's going on.

However, I witness the work on the Quaker burial ground much more with my ears than my eyes. The timbre of the sounds has changed this week, with the departure of the digger. There's much less motor rumbling (the shovel-buggy has also been on light duty), and thankfully fewer big thumps too. This week we've had the return of the buzz-saw (used a lot in the first week, when the railings were being cut down), and a large amount of hammering, associated with the carpentry work going on in the Meeting House Garden. Then there are subtler sounds: the shaker percussion of the small cement mixer, or hand-held spade work, either scraping the gravel under the ball court fence, or shovelling some black soil, via a wheelbarrow, to the gap between the court fence and the Chequer Street border.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Meeting House Garden
Meeting House Garden
Originally uploaded by davidjennings.
The character of the work has changed now that the big digger has gone. The daily developments are on a smaller scale, as detailed work continues on the border for the Meeting House Garden.

A further concrete 'ridge' has been put along the bottom of the ball court. This makes me think that ultimately the inside of the ball court will be 'filled in' until the surface is flush with the top of the ridge. This would cover and anchor the foot of each fence post.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

More fencing arrives

More fencing arrives
Originally uploaded by davidjennings.
The day began dark, gloomy and ominous.

This fencing arrived, presumably for the playground. The Meeting House Garden woodwork was extended.

Monday, March 21, 2005


Meeting House Garden fence
Originally uploaded by davidjennings.
I noticed something missing today: the big digger (and its driver). It must have been taken away last Friday.

At one end of the site, today, there was a lot of carpentry as the fence for the Meeting House Garden was constructed — or, more likely perhaps, this is the wooden mould into which more concrete will be cast.

At the other end of the site, it turns out the brown pile that was delivered last Tuesday is cement mix, which was mixed up and then spread in the small wooden moulding on the far side of the ball court.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Palm Sunday

About 35 years ago, Alan Watts wrote that "[t]he Roman Catholic Church recently made the serious mistake of having the Mass celebrated everywhere in the vernacular, so that it could be 'understood,' and added insult to injury by having some person standing with a microphone beside the altar to 'explain' what was going on, thereby depriving Christendom of the last widespread stronghold of mystery".

So presumably he would have approved of the Mass sung in Latin, which Lucy and I attended this morning at St Ethelreda church — the oldest Catholic church in Britain. The service began in the crypt before a short procession, each of us with a small palm leaf, along Ely Place and into the main church. Beautiful singing by the choir and of the St Matthew Passion. To quote Watts again, "[f]or many people, the contemplation of God, of the Ground of Being, is most easily reached through the contemplation of pure sound".