One of the first place I ever wandered when first moving to London just over four years ago was the area of Middlesex Street better known to some as the central location of the famous Petticoat Lane Market.
It wasn’t the market that caught the eye though, it was the shutters, some up, some down but most painted with slightly fading letters of the Alphabet. I was to learn soon after that this was the work of one of East London’s most famous artists, Ben Eine.
Much has gone now, redevelopment has laid claim to a number of the pieces which were originally painted in 2010, whilst natural progress has accounted for the others. The alphabet is still there but no longer quite as full as it once was. According to the Spitalfields Life blog, the paintings also just about coincided with Eine’s outing as a major artist having achieved international fame, when one of his works was given to Barack Obama as a gift from David Cameron.
Because they are all painted on shutters, seeing them during the day can be challenging. The market also gets in the way of a good view as does the normal bustle of life around these parts.
So it was here that we decided to visit on the one day of the year it was going to be empty and at a time when all the shutters were guaranteed to be down. That day, was of course, Christmas Day and although London isn’t entirely vacant, it’s the one time when it’s near as it could be. So, for this post, we thought we’d take a look at the alphabet of Middlesex Street and Petticoat Lane Market, or what’s left of it anyway.
The alphabet of Middlesex Street was photographed on Sunday 25 December 2016. For some more posts featuring the work of Ben Eine have a look at this post featuring his work at the Olympic Park. You can also see these more recent posts on his work with the Big Issue and his Grenfell Tour Dedication Mural.