Gazing at Graffiti in London’s East End

The writing was on the wall that the Leighton Buzzard group’s graffiti tour of London’s East End was destined to be a success. Sixteen of us travelled to Shoreditch for a conducted tour which also took in Brick Lane and Spitalfields.

It was led by Jamie who was brought up in the area and really knew his stuff. We learned about the individual artists who, these days, are often commissioned and paid for their work, the history of graffiti art, and the renegades who ‘tag’ existing work with additions of their own.  

The work is often beautiful and striking, but ephemeral.    The longest lasting work has been there six years but some don’t make it to six weeks.    There is a wonderful work of a cat, by an artist called Mr Pink, which will disappear soon because the building is to be demolished.

One huge, commissioned work covers two thirds of a college building; another depicts the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet on the site where the Burbages, who first employed Shakespeare, had their original theatre. There is something for everybody, including an homage to Diane Ross.

As we finished the tour by Brick Lane, famous for its Indian restaurants, nine of the group had a late lunch there which they thoroughly enjoyed.  

If anyone wants to book a similar two hour tour, let us know and we will tell you the company which we used – but ask for Jamie if you do!