Monday, 11 June 2018


It started with a hole in the ground. On a very hot day in May three workman braved the noise and dust of their drills and were digging up the paved area beside ECBM. Was it to replace a gas pipe? Or to mend an electrical cable? Who knows?

Well there my interest ended because, as anyone who lives in London knows, there is often something being dug up or filled in. However, even though such things are common place, in 1962 comedy performer Bernard Cribbins recorded a comedy song called ‘Hole in the Ground’ and it went to 9th position in the charts, so maybe there is more to digging and filling holes than we might imagine. Here is a snippet:
“Don't dig there, dig it elsewhere, you’re digging it round and it ought to be square. The shape it's wrong, and it's much too long, and you can't put a hole where a hole don't belong.”

Moving forwards a day or two, the workman had built a triangular concrete platform in the hole, and surrounded it with a low block wall. Curious! “It’s for a sign” one of them told me. He couldn’t tell me what kind of sign, but a sign none the less, and all he knew was that he should build a triangular base.

Fast forward to this week. Mystery solved? Well not quite. The sign was now up: a green triangular metal cage somewhat like those triangular chocolate bars you see in airport shops. “They’re going to grow ivy up it” one of the workmen told me, and sure enough ivy was planted. And then, on all three sides of the cage were the letters ‘LEN’; large, bright blue and three-dimensional.

LEN? What’s LEN? The mystery had deepened; but it didn’t last long as Google had the answer, and just when I was beginning to enjoy the intrigue!

LEN means 'Low Emission Neighbourhood'. It’s all about new schemes that are being developed to make parts of London greener, cleaner and nicer. It is supported by the Mayor of London as a kind of blueprint for future town and city planning. Evolution is at work in Shoreditch which will make it a better place to live, work and have fun.

If you follow this link you can see exactly what is happening here – and importantly not just being talked about – and how already it is changing the quality of our lives.

When I grew up on the grimy, uninteresting Shoreditch streets of the 60s and 70s I could never have guessed that one day those same streets would be home to imaginative retail businesses, great food and drink outlets, streets brightly painted and planted, and an atmosphere or youthful optimism. That is the wonder of our futures: there is so much yet to discover.

Evolution is fresh and exciting, whether it is on the streets or in the classroom. I live with evolution every day, in the positive atmosphere of my evolutionary students. Come and evolve with us – it’s great!

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