London features an alluring and fascinating selection of Light Locations, and East London is home an array of creative shoot spaces. Let’s look at the area and delve into a few of our favourite Light Locations in the neighbourhoods of Hackney, Whitechapel and Bethnal Green.
East London is renowned for its gritty and often grim past. Its reputation grew in the 16th century with urban acceleration, the formidable Tower of London and numerous crime-riddled backstreets. But the East London of today is trendy, spirited and arty. And by clinging to notable elements of bygone eras, its regeneration has successfully maintained its industrial character, resulting in a down-to-earth appeal.
East London is home to many well-known markets – Spitalfields, Brick Lane, Columbia Road Flower Market, Billingsgate Fish Market and Greenwich Market. And these markets typify the vibrancy of the area. The surrounding architecture is a fascinating mixture of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian styles merged with the rejuvenation of industrial warehouses and period homes. As a result, you’ll find shoot spaces with bags of character.
Bethnal Green is a down-to-earth area in the East End, home to young professionals and a large Bangladeshi community. With massive investment in recent decades and swathes of gentrification, it still retains its charm. With a welcoming sense of community, it’s a vibrant and friendly neighbourhood.
Bethnal Green was severely hit in the Second World War, which destroyed many of the tightly packed Victorian terraces. But you will still find a few hidden gems, such as The Flower Factory. Set amongst a run of Victorian shops dating from the 1860s, this creative space sits along the bustling Sunday Columbia Road Flower Market, where Covert Garden traders would sell their leftovers.
Bethnal Green also had a thriving wood tuning business, and the Flower Factory was purpose-built for this. Its past is evident with a light industrial feel and incredible triple-aspect windows. There are, in fact, 23 windows across the two floors, which provide charming views over the cobbled streets of London.
This creative lifestyle studio space is quirky, versatile and loaded with photo shoot potential.
Whitechapel is synonymous with 19th-century poverty, overcrowding and the infamous murderer Jack the Ripper. But its turning point came during the Blitz of 1940. Rebuilt, refashioned, and reinvigorated, it’s now a buzzing, multicultural district teeming with trendy galleries, vibrant markets and a diverse Asian food scene.
Whilst the Blitz destroyed much of the Whitechapel slums, a variety of alleyways, pubs and distilleries from its poverty-riddled past remain. And many of these have been revitalised for the modern age. One such location is the impressive Gin Distillery. This warehouse space is now a contemporary open-plan studio. Packed with notes of an industrial past, it boasts Critall windows, heavy black beams and plenty of steel and concrete. But unlike the darkness of a bygone era, it’s designed to flood with light.
Hackney is a super trendy East London village which has enjoyed a transformation from the old East End of another era. Clever design and urban regeneration have produced a bright and cultural hotspot oozing with quirky charm. Teeming with history, Hackney is home to the 1901 Hackney Empire theatre, the Grade I medieval St Augustine’s Tower, the borough’s oldest building and 1298 more listed buildings.
The area of Hackney was subject to extensive post-war redevelopment, but plenty of Georgian housing and Victorian terraces remain. To witness a beautiful transition, look no further than London Fields. This renovated and remodelled Victorian terrace is stunning. A triumph in blending modern and unusual textures and materials, it uses marble and concrete to create a striking photoshoot location.