A FEW decades ago Hackney council announced a drive to promote the neighbourhood as a tourist destination. It met with derision.
The idea of an apparently deprived — and, with much drug-led street crime, clearly depraved — district luring Ella-Mae and husband Joe-Bob from Atlanta to its seemingly dangerous streets and alleys caused laughter throughout the land.
Nobody’s laughing now, as Broadway Market echoes to the exotic accents of millennials and other tourists from around the world. So a guidebook entitled East London: an Opinionated Guide will raise few if any eyebrows.
Written by Sonya Barber, a news editor at free London listings magazine Time Out, and with pictures by German photographer Charlotte Schreiber, it includes folding maps and 57 what-to-do suggestions, listed by shop, hotels, coffee, food, outdoors, culture and nightlife.
At 16cm x 11cm, it will fit easily into a tote or a manbag. Publisher Hoxton Mini Press (HMP), of London Fields, admits the guide is “skewed to book-loving, gallery-visiting, food-munching tastes”, which will give you an idea of what to expect in its itinerary for “a perfect weekend”.
How did the book come about? Ann Waldvogel told Loving Dalston: “Martin (Usborne, husband and co-publisher) and I had been thinking for a long time about publishing something on where we live, an area we love, so we approached Sonya, whom we had met and who lives in the area.”
HMP has developed a niche topic, (north) east London and its books are high-quality. She and Usborne must be doing something right: they are thinking of expanding to the US.
David Altheer 300517
* East London: An Opinionated Guide, by Sonya Barber and Charlotte Schreiber (Hoxton Mini Press), paperback £9.95. Other guides include Inside Hackney, a free 2015 pocketbook well-written and photographed, by Helena Smith and still available at some Hackney council and other venues.
* Backstory: Out of the traffic, a Hackney photographer. All pictures on this page are from the book.
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained. Most photographs can be visually enlarged by pressing on them.