The People’s Panorama is an ambitious project to create a community heritage resource recording and documenting the six-kilometre stretch of road from Aldgate to Stratford in East London. The project will celebrate the High Street at this historic point in its development and act as a record of the route from central London to the 2012 Olympic Park.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Panorama Live!

We are currently testing the Panorama - you can view it here:

If you have any comments or information you would like to add to the Panorama, please do send us an email and let us know!

Friday, 27 July 2012

The research process

The Panorama research volunteers have taken a variety of approaches to their research, and it's fascinating to see how some have found out about the buildings along High Street 2012. Below, you can see some of the resources that volunteers have been using, including maps, articles and photographs. You can also see how one of the volunteers - Lucy Schofield - has approached her research in a very visual way. 

All photos by Lucy Schofield

Monday, 11 June 2012

Scenes from Whitechapel

Judit Ferencz, one of the volunteers researching the histories and stories of High Street 2012, chose to record some of the scenes that she witnessed whilst she explored Whitechapel High Street. Below are some of her beautiful illustrations, which record her experiences of visiting the Whitechapel area.

Illustrations created and owned by Judit Ferencz

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Our Whitechapel Market Stall in pictures

Here are some of the pictures from our Whitechapel Market Stall on Saturday (all taken by Jon Spencer).

To add your experience of High Street 2012 to our collection, take a photo of your favourite building along the high street and send it to, or send in a sentence about what you think about High Street 2012 to the same address. You can also visit us our next Whitechapel Market Stall on 23rd June, which will be outside the Idea Store, Whitechapel from 10am-4pm.

Friday, 18 May 2012


Panorama High Street 2012: Whitechapel Market Stall
Saturday 26th May 2012

The Building Exploratory is hosting a market stall at the Idea Store Whitechapel to celebrate the architectural heritage of this historic high street. Our team of experts will be on hand to talk to you about its buildings and introduce you to our vote for the peoples’ favourite building.
Come and take part in activities that will inspire you to look more closely at the 600 buildings and their architectural features.
Take photographs of building details using your mobile phone for our project gallery.
Guided tours exploring the high street’s buildings and public spaces, take place at 12 noon and 2pm, beginning at the market stall.
Vote for your favourite building from our 16 “People’s Favourites”.
The event is part of the Building Exploratory’s Panorama High Street 2012 initiative, an ambitious project creating a photographic panorama of the high street and documenting the six-kilometre route from Aldgate to the Olympic Park. We hope to meet local residents, shoppers and visitors to the high street and listen to their opinions and experiences of this remarkable London thoroughfare.

Join us at the market stall, at the Idea Store Whitechapel on 26 May, and again on 23 June, between 10am and 4pm.

Idea Store Whitechapel
321 Whitechapel Road
London E1 1BU

The Idea Store, Whitechapel. Photo by Jon Spencer

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Significant Buildings

The Panorama High Street 2012 volunteers have spent the last two months undertaking detailed research of 150 ‘Significant Buildings’. Rakan, one of the volunteers, reflects on what the Post Office Directories reveal about Bow Road…

Who lived here?

No. 1 Bow Road
Photo by Jon Spencer

My section of the High Street 2012 survey focuses on a row of listed early Victorian Terraces on the last stretch of Mile End Road and the beginning of Bow Road. While the buildings themselves are wonderful they aren’t especially architecturally unique and on the whole have mainly been used as homes for nearing their 200 years of existence. This presented a challenge. As opposed to someone who was tasked with researching a cinema or a hospital, these houses at first look (give or take a uPVC window here and a concreted front garden there) are pretty much as they were built.

With this in mind I settled into Tower Hamlets Archives. With 80 years worth of Post Office Directories at my disposal I was sure I could come up with some interesting histories of these terraces. The Directories (or Kelly’s Directories, the name under which they were published) are a fascinating series of volumes dating back to the early 1800s which among other things attempt to list every inhabitant or workplace at every address in London.

The directories provide a fascinating picture in micro-detail about who lived and worked in this part of London throughout the building’s history. What I was able to learn from following the directories through the years was that the houses were initially occupied by private residents. While a few were used as schools or nurseries (easy to run out of a home environment) it wasn’t until later that other cottage industries started to set up in these buildings. Tailors and related crafts people were probably the most predominantly found inhabitants of the buildings between 415 Mile End Road and 23 Bow Road. However there were also several occupants from the medical professions, with 1 Bow Road in particular being a home to physicians for well over 100 years. This could have something to do with the nearby presence of St. Clements Hospital, but is also a comment on the relatively well off nature of inhabitants of these terraces whilst the area was still seen as desirable.

It is also interesting to see that most of the names of inhabitants throughout the 1800s seem to be of English descent but in the first half of the 20th century a number of other ethnicities seem to crop up, especially those of Eastern European descent. This helps to paint an interesting picture of the Mile End Road in relation to events in Europe and the world at the time.


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

On researching Queen Mary University

Queen Mary University of London is a truly fascinating place to research.

Queen Mary University Administrative Building.
Photo by Jon Spencer

One architectural wonder is the Humanities Building designed by Wilkinson Eyre. These architects teamed up with artist, Jacqueline Poncelet, to produce a blue, book motif decorated facade. This book-themed pattern acts as a symbol for the collecting, sharing and increase of knowledge. And the Humanities department remembers the important matter of sustainability by incorporating ground source heat pumps into their design in order to create renewable energy.

But by far the most beautiful piece of architecture at Queen Mary’s is the Octagon Library, part of the main Queens Building, a magnificent Victorian three-tiered hall with an elegant, cross-vaulted ceiling. Its eight walls are furnished with Neo-Grecian iron galleries. Gleaming, golden busts of literature’s finest writers peer down from their columns from Chaucer, to Shakespeare, to Byron. From the very beginning women held key positions at the library which was rather unexpected in the Victorian era, such women were Constance Black and Minnie James.

There are so many interesting features of Queen Mary University and I am looking forward to exploring more…

Kimberley Chen