Day 3 of ArtBox hunt. With only 15 boxes found so far, I was keen to get on with my challenge. I had a free day but no spare cash for travel so I checked to see if there were any boxes near where I live in East London. And there were.
The map said that two boxes were on Cambridge Heath Road. About a 30 minute walk from where I live. It also said there was one in Shoreditch, one on Great Eastern Avenue and two on Commercial Road. And like the child whose eyes are too big for his belly, I thought I could walk to all those places. Armed with water and snacks I set off. It was blazing hot summer’s day in June.
Cambridge Heath Road means Bethnal Green. Whenever I hear that name I remember my South London primary school teacher who had said, “Bethnal Green, triple f ” (He was mocking a kid who pronounced their ths as fs. Hearing it aged 6, it stayed with me.) The boxes were outside the V&A Museum of Childhood.
I felt a thrill as I glimpsed their jolly coloured designs through the railings. A group of school children were having a lesson in the sunshine. “How idyllic” I thought, as I snapped away.
Bethnal Green Road took me to the Shoreditch Boxpark mall where I assumed the next box would be. It was. I was a bit disappointed as I approached. It looked like another plain white box.
As I got close-up, I was pleased to see some faux graffiti. A lady was standing near the box waiting for someone inside one of the shops. Did she want to be in my shot or not? She didn’t.
Across the Shoreditch High Street, on Great Eastern Avenue was where my next box should be. According to the map. It wasn’t. “I know,” I thought, “it’ll be up by that brightly coloured pub with the square in front of it.” It wasn’t. I sat and munched my snacks, wondering which direction to go in. Then I traipsed as far as Old Street roundabout. And back. And the streets surrounding the junction with Shoreditch High St and Gt Eastern Ave. Nada. Plenty of great graffiti though.
This is just how I felt. Grrr. I admitted defeat. I thought about heading home, I was so hot and tired. But that greedy eyed child in my head said,” Commercial road isn’t far. Lets go there. You’re here now.”
Of course they weren’t on the main road outside the Nicholas Hawksmoor church. Thankfully I just headed into Old Spitalfields Market across the road and instantly found one. It was so beautiful, it lifted my flagging spirits briefly. I was tired though and didn’t enjoy snapping it. My head pounding, I sat on a step for a while, before deciding to head home. Then something caught my eye and I looked away from the exit and saw my second box! I had nearly missed it. And it was equally pretty, in a very modern, high tech way.
I headed home with only one box missing from my list. Cursing my thriftyness which meant I hadn’t carried my oyster card or any cash, I had no choice but to walk. And I was a lot further away than when I started out.
Slideshow in the next post, with the day’s spoils.