Postcards from London

We started off the day with coffee, of course. It's hard to argue with the signage.

We started off the day with coffee, of course. It’s hard to argue with the signage.

Today was our last day in London until the end of July. It was a full day, bits and pieces of which I’m hoping to share in what follows.  Enjoy!

We took the tube from our 'hood to East Aldgate, where I visited St. Botolph's-outside-the gate, where my mentor-friend Ken Leech was Theologian-in-Residence for many years.

We took the tube from our ‘hood to East Aldgate, where I visited St. Botolph’s-outside-the gate, where my mentor-friend Ken Leech was Theologian-in-Residence for many years.

The center of our day was spent on Brick Lane, which has for centuries been a fascinatingly diverse area, always dominated by one distinct ethnic group after another: ghettoized 19th-century Londoners, 20th-century Eastern Europeans Jews, 21st-century Indians and Bengalis.

If you’re not familiar with Ken Leech or his work, you might want to be. You can start here.

St. Botolph's hosts a lot of wonderful art. This is my favorite, title "Sanctuary" and dedicated "To all victims of oppression."
St. Botolph’s hosts a variety of wonderful art inside and out. This is my favorite, titled “Sanctuary” and dedicated “To all victims of oppression.”
We walked from St. Botolph's along Whitechapel Road, and passed the famous Whitechapel Bell Company. This is the oldest continuously running business in England (if not the world) and was the manufacturer of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Whitechapel bells come with a lifetime guarantee, and when a clever tourist complained that the Liberty Bell was cracked, the manager at the time said "of course we'll replace it, so long as you return it in its original packaging."
We walked from St. Botolph’s along Whitechapel Road, and passed the famous Whitechapel Bell Company. This is the oldest continuously running business in England (if not the world) and was the manufacturer of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Whitechapel bells come with a lifetime guarantee, and when a clever tourist complained that the Liberty Bell was cracked, the manager at the time said “of course we’ll replace it, so long as you return it in its original packaging.”
keep calm ramadan
We passed the East London Mosque, London’s largest and most influential mosque. I visited it in 2002 as part of a tour group, on a day when I found myself the only woman on Whitechapel Road without a head-covering. (The staff of the women’s entrance at the mosque happily provided me a headscarf to wear inside.)

 

We left the Whitechapel/Brick Lane area and walked for what seemed by the to be a very long way to Roman Road, where we passed St. Barnabas, where I spent six weeks as an intern of sorts in 2002.

In the park near St. Barnabas, we found a great addition since our 2002 visit: a playground for grown-ups, probably added in anticipation of the 2012 Olympics.

IMG_1687

Yes, there is some writing happening these days!

And lest anyone wonder whether I’m doing any writing at all….we found a fabulous cafe in Bethnal Green before leaving the East End to head back to the place we’re staying, and I worked for about an hour.

The day ended with a trip to Euston Station to buy our tickets for tomorrow’s journey north to St. Bee’s, where we’ll dip our toes into the Irish Sea in preparation for our Coast-to-Coast Walk.

Like a lot of East End churches, St. Barnabas was bombed in the second World War. Hence the truncated steeple.

Like a lot of East End churches, St. Barnabas was bombed in the second World War. Hence the truncated steeple.

We had Bengali food on Brick Lane, which we've been looking forward to for months and months. Yum.

We had Bengali food on Brick Lane. Yum.

Here was a great collection of durable, outdoor resistance equipment, including a pull-up bar which seemed to do wonders for Mark's bad back.

Here was a great collection of durable, outdoor resistance equipment, including a pull-up bar which seemed to do wonders for Mark’s bad back.

The playground for grown-ups.

Another view of the playground for grown-ups.

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