urban landscapes

Mike Seaborne:


London Landscapes
The Square Mile
High Street London
The North London Line

mike seaborne


Hartwell Street

Hoxton St

Mundy St

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This project, started in 2004, is about London’s inner city - the ‘zone of transition’ – where the effects of a constantly shifting population are reflected in the urban fabric. Much of inner London (especially in the south and east) is made up of old residential, industrial and commercial properties, many built in the Victorian period or earlier, which have become rundown and are relatively cheap to rent or buy. This makes them attractive to the less well-off, including young people, new businesses and economic migrants, but eventually these areas start to change as the result of new economic activity and social processes such as ‘gentrification’ and ethnic concentration. This seems to have accelerated over the past 15-20 years with the result that certain parts of the inner city have taken on a new aura – that of being regarded by the fashionable as one of THE places to work or live (eg. Clerkenwell) or of a location with a clear ethnic identity (eg. Brick Lane, also known as ‘Banglatown’).

However, there are still areas where this process hasn’t yet progressed far enough to have had such a marked visual impact and others where there are still individual or small groups of ‘unregenerated’ buildings in an otherwise transformed environment. It is only a matter of time before these also undergo changes in line with the emerging new character of the area.

The photographs in this series document the appearance of these buildings prior to refurbishment. Usually they are derelict and often they have ‘To Let’ or ‘For Sale’ signs on them indicating that they won’t remain in that state for much longer. I expect many of them to have been transformed within a matter of months and my aim is to re-photograph them afterwards to create a series of ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots. At the moment it is a race against time to capture as many of these unregenerated buildings in as many different locations as possible.

Mike Seaborne
February 2005