A hoard of history, arts, industry and culture
Have you spied our new hoarding installed along Endeavour Square and Turing Street at International Quarter London? It’s a collision of ideas and colour pulling together local stories, big and small, past and present to celebrate Stratford. Plus – we think it looks pretty awesome! So here are just a few of the stories we’re telling.
If you haven’t seen it – take a trip down and see what other nods to Stratford’s history you can capture.
Stratford’s journey to what it is today began in Roman times. The name evolved from “Straetforda” (the Roman for “ford on a road”) - perhaps the first hint of its future as a transport hub.
Later, it was an agricultural area due to its proximity to London’s markets, before the Industrial Revolution transformed the area with the arrival of factories, canals and industry.
The Victorian era ushered in rail and the nearby docks and, by the 19th century, Stratford was an important transport hub into London. In the 1840s, a railway works and engine depot opened, providing employment to the local community.
Since then, railway has evolved through steam and diesel to reach electrification which finally meant the closure of the depot in 1991. But this wasn’t the end of Stratford’s reputation as a transport hub, as Stratford International Station is still a key gateway to Europe via St Pancras.
The striking visuals of steam engines and canal boats making their way along our hoarding are a fitting celebration of Stratford’s place in London’s industrial revolution.
When it comes to arts, Stratford is set to become the heart of cultural London. It’s been used as a location for movies and has shared the silver screen with both Batman (in 2005) and The Beatles in their Penny Lane music video. Bowie and Jagger even did some dancing in the streets of Stratford in their eponymous video.
So the hoarding gives a nod to them, and the other creative names who have walked and visited Stratford’s streets. Want to see it for yourself? Keep your eyes peeled for Stratford-born designer Alexander McQueen’s trademark skulls.
There’s even a connection to EastEnders - Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park shares its E20 postcode with the fictional district of the soap’s Walford. And did you know that “Walford” is derived from a combination of two east London areas - Walthamstow and Stratford?
Stratford’s links to the arts will be made stronger with the arrival of Sadler’s Wells, BBC Music, the Smithsonian and the V&A at East Bank. Futuristic ballerinas and whimsical characters dance through our hoarding to recognise the importance of the arts to the local Stratford community.
Stratford also has a stellar line-up when it comes to sport.
The 2012 Olympics saw Stratford welcome the greats of the athletic world to the newly constructed Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The venue also hosted the inaugural Invictus Games, which were set up by Prince Harry, in 2014.
The legacy of the 2012 games continues. Olympic Park is now used by West Ham Football Club and welcomes a host of football fans every match day. The Park has also hosted the Rugby World Cup, the IAAF World Championships and the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships.
Offering Olympic-grade swimming and diving pools, Stratford’s London Aquatics Centre has welcomed over 2 million visitors through its doors. And the Lee Valley Velopark, created for track cycling events at the 2012 Olympics, now offers a range of cycling trails for a range of ages and abilities.
If you’re more interested in what the gym has to offer, head to the Copper Box Arena and try one of its classes for a high-intensity gym session. Or grab some friends and try Yoga, Boxfit, Body Conditioning or Dance Aerobics.
Stratford’s sporting facilities are truly worthy of a gold medal or a world cup - and we think we’ve recognised that with some quirky looking athletes across the hoarding.
Our hoarding effectively blends Stratford’s mix of the arts, sport, music and industry together, and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Don’t forget to share your pics on social - we’ll be running photo competitions across our new Instagram channel for your chance to win!