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Open House in Tower Hamlets

Open House is the Capital’s largest annual architecture festival. The aim of the festival is to celebrate all types of buildings from different periods within the city by giving people non-limited access–for free. With a quarter of a million people taking this opportunity each year and hundreds of building being listed, we came up with a list to help you decide where to visit, specifically within Tower Hamlets.

Bow Church – St Mary’s and Holy Trinity: 1311

We start with the oldest building on our list; churches have always been recognised for their beautiful architecture, and there are not many buildings more beautiful than the St Mary’s and Holy Trinity Church in Bow. As a medieval village church it is enriched in history already, however it also got caught in the crossfire of WWII and had to be restored after suffering bomb damage, making it an even more historic building within the East End of London. As a grade II listed building it is one you do not want to miss.

Open 11-5am (16th) and 12-5pm (17th), with tours being given at 1pm, and 3pm each day.
Bow Road, E3 3AH

Crossrail Place Roof Garden: 2016

Roof Garden’s much like long weekends in that they are to everyone’s liking. Thus what better place to see on your tour of London, than Crossrail’s first new building to open? The garden showcases unusual plants from all across the globe that is encased in a lattice roof.

Saturday 16th September, tours every 60 mins (10am-4pm)
One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, E14 5AB

Wilton’s Music Hall: 1859

Wilton’s Music hall is the oldest grand music hall in the world, and it is right here in Tower Hamlets. Featuring papier-mache balconies and barley-sugar iron columns, the hall makes for a unique but beautiful atmosphere. Furthermore, the hall is a RIBA award winner and one that is perfect to show off in architecture festivals like Open House.

Saturday 16th September, 10am-1pm
Graces Alley, E1 8JB

Kingsley Hall: 1928

Kingsley hall was a pioneer community centre founded by peace campaigners Muriel and Doris Lester. With links to Gandhi and George Lansbury, as well as being the set of Richard Attenborough’s academy award winning film Ghandi (1982), it is another building which has been particularly influential within World History that is based in Tower Hamlets.

Saturday 16th September, tours every 60 mins (12-5pm)
Powis Road, off Bruce Road, E3 3HJ

Sandy’s Row Synagogue: 1763

This hidden gem is right in the heart of London. Although it was originally built as a chapel in the 1700’s it has been continuously used a synagogue since the 1800’s but it still manages to show off 18th century architecture beautifully.

Sunday 17th September, history of synagogue every 60 mins by author Rachel Lichtenstein (11am-4pm)
4a Sandys Row, E1 7HW

Oxford House:1892

Last but certainly not least is Oxford House. The first university settlement to open, Oxford House has been transformed into a community, arts and heritage space since then. The building boasts a beautiful secret Victorian chapel and pocket park right outside. The Victorian chapel is simply breath-taking and is one of many things that makes Oxford House a perfect place to visit on your tour, regardless of your age or background.

Saturday 16th September, (10am-4pm)
Derbyshire Street, E2 6HG

By Thufayel Ahmed
Volunteer blogger