If you go past a bridge over the Regents Canal on the Kingsland Road you might have noticed a series of odd-looking totem poles.
You might think they’re some recent hipster art thing, and while they’re indeed art, they date from 1994 – as part of improvements works along the Hackney stretch of the Regent’s Canal carried out by the Dalston City Partnership, British Waterways and LB Hackney.
Not totems, but a lighting sculpture by Freeform Arts, who also did some murals further down the canal.
If you look closely though, they have an industrial feel to them, with gears and cogs making up some of the designs, with tunnels and bridges and locks on the other sides of the poles.
Today, the lighting bit seems to have long since been switched off — or at least has never worked when I go past. The signs explaining the heritage are painted over by local graffiti artists, who have also turned their attentions to some other parts of the poles.
A lick of paint wouldn’t go amiss, although with their design, being essentially hollow cutaway tubes, they’re quite easy to miss and their landmark status diminished.
Now, full the core up with something solid — or with a block of light, and then they’d stand out proud marking the location where road traffic and canal cross each other.
Location map and local interesting places
- 7] Wilks Place
- 8] Cotton's Gardens, E2
- 9] Sebright Passage
- 10] Shepherdess Walk
- 11] Shepherdess Place, N1
- 12] Fairchild Place
- 13] Pedley Street Arch, E1
- 14] Fleur de Lis Street