Treasures Celebrate The Heritage Of Newington Green

by Roz Tappenden | 27 October 2005
A bronze sculpture of a row of terraced houses

Numbers 52-55, thought to be the oldest surviving terrace in England. Image courtesy: The Building Exploratory.

The real-life treasures of Newington Green are being celebrated with a special project commencing on November 5 2005.

A series of ‘talking artworks’ on the Green will highlight some amazing and some more ordinary treasures that have been important parts of local life.

Eleven bronze artworks will play sound clips when pressed including a poem written by local children and an excerpt from Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, who attended a local school for dissenters from the age of 15.

The launch event will take place on Saturday November 5 between 4.30 and 6pm. Celebrities and community leaders including poet John Hegley and Islington Councillor, Meral Ece, will also be joining in the fun.

John Hegley, will be reciting his poem ‘N1 ‘99’. Hegley was born in Newington Green in a maternity hospital that was situated on the south side of the green itself and continues to live nearby.

A bronze sculpture of a boars head

The wild boar's head recalls Newington Green as a medieval village. Image courtesy: The Building Exploratory.

The event will be hosted by Building Exploratory – a Hackney-based arts group – who will introduce visitors and special guests to the artworks. Visitors will also be given torches to help them in a treasure hunt.

Nicole Crockett, Director of the Building Exploratory, said: “Like all treasures, ours are there to be discovered.

“They are placed around the Green and people will either chance across one or two, or can set off on a hunt for all eleven. However they do it, they will find lots of interesting connections to the Green and surrounding area.”

Newington Green is an area steeped in history – Henry VIII’s hunting lodge was sited at Newington Green. So was Bishops Palace – home to his concubines.

A bronze sculpture of a flower head

The flower treasure represents the artificial flower trade that flourished in the area. Image courtesy: The Building Exploratory.

Mary Wollstonecraft also lived here in the 18th century; she was a feminist and author and was also the mother of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein.

The ‘treasures’, which were jointly funded by Islington Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, were chosen and developed with the help of local adults and children.

They represent the past and present images of Newington Green such as the number 73 Routemaster bus, an abacus and a piano.

Funding has been secured to maintain the treasures for at least ten years, meaning the installations can be enjoyed long after next week's launch.

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