I recently spent the week in London with my mom and extended family. It was such a good time, because as many times as I have gone to the popular English city, I don’t know much about it. Having my family there with me, and as they too were newbies, gave me the perfect excuse to take up some tours. After some heavy “googling”, I stumbled upon Unseen Tours and it sparked my interest because of its premise. The award winning company uses guides who are homeless or were formerly homeless to show folks around. For me, that is such a beautiful idea. They are paid tours, but 60% of the proceeds go directly to the guides. Knowing all of this definitely made me feel good about participating in the tour. Not only this, but I was sure we would get a peek into another side of London, from someone who knows the streets intimately. The route I chose was the Brick Lane excursion, which lead us to Pete as our guide. He told tales of Jack the Ripper and how much the now gentrified area started out in a drastically different form.
Pete liked me an my peoples so much, he even told us about these abandoned train tracks called Nomadic Community Gardens. The transformed abandoned area places raised beds of garden allotments amongst a village of tents, vans and dens of upcycled wood and canvas houses. I could sense the creative energy steaming from all areas of the park as it is packed with graffiti, sculptures made of tires, a repurposed shacko in an opera house, and other dope pieces of art. The place is magical. It reminded me a bit of if Sanford and Son’s junkyard landed somewhere in the land of Oz. To think, we would have never found this place without good old Pete.
The magical Nomadic Community Gardens
Unseen Tours Contact Information