This week, the Commuter Club is back in Hatton Garden. Learn all about the fascinating history of the area with local historian Chris Walker; meet Elizabeth Line artist Simon Periton; visit a flower stall on bustling Leather Lane with Louise and meet Robert Morgan, Services Manager at Deaf-led organisation, Remark! This episode is brought to you by Hatton Garden BID and Primera.

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Introduction

You’re listening to The Commuter Club podcast, transporting you from your train carriage to a rooftop bar in the city.

From your seat on the bus, to tranquil gardens squares.

From the Northern line, to the kitchen of a Michelin starred restaurant.

We’re so pleased to have you along for this week’s edition of The Commuter Club podcast.

This week you’ll be listening to voices from Hatton Garden area, as we hear stories from the characters that make London a vibrant and wonderful place we all love.

Louise

‘Hi, my name is Louise. I’m the owner of The Flower Stall Leather Lane. I’ve owned this for the last six years, ‘though I’ve been in the Holborn area and down Leather Lane for far longer than that; like nearer 30, but we won’t go there!

Yeah, I love this. I love the market. I love my business. I get to meet such an eclectic mix of people. You can go from from knowing the solicitors, the barristers from around the corner that come down; that you wouldn’t ordinarily meet, obviously unless you need them, to advertising guys.

Then you’ve got the jewellery people from Hatton Garden. Whether they own the shops, or whether they’re the craftsmen that are making the jewellery; I love all of that, it’s great.

It’s such a real mix; and then you’ve got a lot of local people, local community, diversity of ages.

Yeah, it’s a really great, a real community; so community gem I would say around here.

You do have such a lot of different people, a lot of different people, different cultures, everything

is different.’

Chris

‘Hi, my name is Chris Walker. I wrote a little book a few years ago called, “101 Moderately Interesting Facts about Clerkenwell”; and I’m standing in Hatton Place, very close to Hatton Garden, which is one of the oldest streets in these parts.

Really interesting history, both modern and older. It actually takes its name, Hatton Garden takes it’s name from Sir Christopher Hatton; who was the Chancellor.  Chancellor to, and favourite of Elizabeth the first. He was he was her special friend; he would write, “Your heart is full of rare and royal faith, the writings of your hand do raise me to joy unspeakable”, which is very nice. And she she found him to be a good dancer, so I don’t quite know what that implies.

But she gave him some of the land of the Bishop of Ely, who wasn’t too pleased. He had a big orchard in Ely Place. So this led to the name being changed from Ely Palace to Hatton Garden, and the Bishop was cross!

Christopher Hatton and Elizabeth were said to have danced around a tree, which still stands in Ye Olde Mitre, which is cracking little boozer around the corner. That’s a great pub.’

Louise

‘So I’ve noticed a lot of changes in my time of being here. Over the years the market has changed incredibly.

They…’ “Hello sir, you all right there? Yes, I’ve got some, they’re are a pound, but I’ve only got a few left.”

“Okay”

“I’ll show you them. I’ve got a couple there.”

“Yeah, okay then”

“Did you need them…”

“Yes.”

“Yeah, okay…

Lovely, that’s two pounds then, please”.

‘So the changes that I’ve seen in the area over the years, this market has gone from being a real mixture of clothes stores, perfume stalls, bedding, toys, all sorts, to now being a food market. It’s a total mixture of every possible type of food you could have from all corners of the world. So it’s great; it’s great for the food lovers, most definitely, for the lunchtime crowd that comes down here.

And there is a real just a handful of the original people, one day myself. Then you have a guy down there selling men’s underwear that’s still here, and guy selling ladies clothes, and a couple of fruit and veg stalls. And they are, literally, the original ones from like 25-30 years ago.

So yeah, there’s just a few of us. But everything else is is all food and a great variety of it; and that definitely seems to be the new thing I think with markets now. I think they’re all changing. You’ve gone from the traditional market where you could buy everything, to everyone wanting food. They don’t stop eating!’

Chris

‘Very close to here is the nicely named Bleeding Heart Yard, which was named after the 17th century myth of Lady Elizabeth Hatton, daughter of Christopher Hatton. Legend had it that Lady Hatton made a pact with the Devil to secure wealth, position and a mansion in Holborn.  But during the housewarming of the mansion, the devil dance with her, then tore out her heart, which was found is still beating in the courtyard the next morning.’

Robert

‘Hi there. So my name is Robert Morgan, and I’m the Training and Access Manager at Remark.

So I’m talking today through my Sign Language Interpreter, who’s Annie O’Shea.  And Remark are based in Leather Lane, which is a very busy area of Hatton Garden.

Remark was set up in 1999. However, we’ve been at our building in Leather Lane since 2010.

Remark is a Deaf-led organisation and we provide a wide range of services from Sign Language Interpreting, to supported living. We provide BSL training, with lots of BSL courses; and we ensure that companies have a commitment to providing accessible content through our Access department, where we provide In-vision, Interpreting and Translation, and Subtitling.

We also have Remark Community, which is our charity arm; to make sure that nobody is left in isolation.

And we also have Remark Events, where we provide lots of meeting rooms in our very unique building.

So BSL, ultimately, is at the heart of what we do.

BSL is British Sign Language, so that’s the language used by most deaf people within the UK, and has recently become a recognised language in the UK Government in 2003.

However, this year has been a very, very big year for us, because the BSL Act has made legal recognition of Sign Language, so, hopefully, that’s going to be quite a nice positive future for us, as it’s now an official language. So it’s a very visual language and it’s not a spoken language.’

Louise

‘So my flower stall has a selection, a good selection of cut flowers and plants. I do indoor and outdoor plants; I’ve got a lot of perennials, also annuals because people like to switch their planters up.

I do a lot of function work, I do a lot of gift bouquets, I do occasional weddings. I’ve done some really big functions, my biggest been at the Royal Exchange in the City. That took me a week to complete; It was a really really big wedding and I made that pretty much all on my own. But it was it was really good, It was a fantastic experience.

I’ve done the Renaissance at St. Pancras; I’ve decorated their venue there, again with wedding flowers. That was a really big event.

And then you’ve got a local church here which is lovely, St. Andrew’s Holborn Circus. Whenever they have event they get in touch with me, it’s a lovely team there. And I do a lot of a lot of big displays for them, which is nice; it keeps my floristry in, I keep up with that.’

Chris

‘Yeah, we’re just coming up to Saffron Hill, which is just next to Hatton Garden. In the late 1800s, Clerkenwell was famous for being in a hotbed of invention; the Greenhouse invention it was called. And here on Saffron Hill, Hiram Maxim perfected the machine gun. So that’s where the machine gun was created.’

Robert

‘Remark work with lots of different companies to ensure that their content is accessible. So we provide subtitling and transcripts. We’ll have our hearing content editors, who can listen to to different mediums and create, kind of, an accessible medium for everybody.

So we’ll use In-Vision Sign Language translation as well. So we’ll have a translator who will read the information and they can translate that into British Sign Language, so it means that, for those people who are deaf, who might not feel confident with English, as BSL as their first language, it means that the translator will be on screen so it provides a deeper level of access for them.

At Remark we offer so many different services. No question is too big or too small, and we also offer free BSL classes, which runs once every month and that’s in our leather Lane office, which is two hour course.  And it’s a free BSL taster, just to give you an understanding and an overview of what BSL is like.

So we offer that as well as basic deaf awareness, which is included in that, and it’s an introduction to British Sign Language to see how to communicate effectively with deaf people. And that’s once every month and that’s free.

So by all means, come along, have a look, join in and if you like it, you can do the level one course. And here we provide level one all the way up to registered Sign Language Interpreting.

So if you’d like more information, then have a look at our website.  And that is www.remark.uk.com

So by all means have a look through, we’ve got lots of media on there, and it’ll be nice to have you come along and visit us.’

Louise

‘Every morning, so actually throughout the day, but mainly the morning, we’ll be setting up and a good friend of mine, David, would be on his potato waggon stall; he’d be selling his jacket potatoes.

So we’d be preparing and he’d get here early, same as me; we’d sort of be here for about seven in the morning. Have a cup of coffee and a quick chat, and then he’d start singing, mainly George Michael songs for the whole morning, which was fabulous because I really quite like George Michael.  And I’ve got to be honest, he had a really good voice.

So yeah, I miss him terribly that he’s not here anymore, because that did used to make our mornings.  But yeah, everyone used to come along, and some people would even make faces or they’d, like, join in or whatever. So yeah, I miss him.’

Chris

‘Hatton Gardens, of course, is famous as the centre of London diamond trade, and was home to the famous Hatton Garden raid back in 2015; where £15 million was stolen from number 88 and 89.

The average age of the gang was 63, the ringleader was 77, and turned up to the raid on the bus, using someone else’s pensioner Freedom Pass, apparently.  The getaway driver was 75, suffering from arthritis, diabetes and memory loss.  And Billy “the Fish” Lincoln was a 60 year old, with two replacement hips, who had to keep leaving the dock to go to the loo during the trial. So, a slightly different robbery that one.’

Robert

‘Right now, Robert and I are going to take you for a little walk around our building.

So first of all, we’re going to take you so you can come have a look at our studio. And that’s where we do a lot of our filming for In-Vision translations. So we’ve got our set up, auto-cue, our green screen, so you can see how we provide that In-Vision service for deaf people. Come this way.

We’re going down the stairs now, and as you can see to the side of us we’ve got a very large spiral staircase that actually runs through the whole of our building all the way up to the very top floor. And although we see it as, kind of, a pain to our legs, when we’re looking at our desks are on the top floor; it’s definitely the soul of our building.

So if you follow us down into our basement, through here we have our studio. So it’s a state of the art studio, that was recently refurbished; and we have full equipment, including lighting, 4k cameras, our auto-cue and our surrounding green screen.  And we use this a lot when we’re creating accessible content for other organisations.  And this is also available for private hire, so we do ensure that other people have this offer of accessibility to.’

Simon

‘My name is Simon Periton, I’m an artist.  And I am one of the artists who was selected to do one of the stations for what was originally called the Crossrail project, which is now been renamed the Elizabeth line.

There are about eight or nine stations that go across central London, and each one, as I understand it, each one was given to a particular gallery, based in London mostly.  And the gallery that I show with, Sadie Coles HQ, was given Farringdon.

The thing about Farringdon, which is kind of peculiar, is that there are two ticket halls; there’s the western ticket hall, which was the first one that I was given images of, designs for, to come up with an artwork proposal.  And the proposal that was chosen in the end was based on a cut-out that I had made, a paper cut out from some time before, that reference to diamond.  And I think that the idea really was, in terms of me proposing it and then kind of accepting it, was because that related quite well with Hatton Garden, which was in close proximity, and obviously the diamond district of London.

But it was also just a kind of abstract geometric pattern in some ways, and it worked quite… the reason I liked it as well is it worked quite nicely with the architectural soffit detail of the ticket hall there. So that was one of the proposals that I made for the western ticket hall, which is the one that you can now see, a kind of developed version of in the ticket hall there.

But they also were keen to develop an eastern ticket hall.  And the idea at Farringdon is to have a ticket hall over the other side of Smithfield Market.  And it was, I think, an attempt, sort of culturally to draw in the Barbican Centre and sort of draw it, drag it back towards Smithfield Market, which is also going to be redeveloped, or is in the process of being redeveloped as a kind of cultural quarter.’

Robert

‘So we’ve got our auto-cue here, and we will have our translator usually stand on that spot there to ensure that they’re central to the camera, and we’ll have a person sitting there, who will also, we’ll have one person running the auto-cue.  And we’ll also have one other person who’s monitoring the BSL, to ensure to make sure that it’s all accurate.  And we can also provide In-Vision animation as well by using our green screen.

So now we can take you to go and meet our Access team, so you can have a chat with them about the services that we provide as well. So they provide subtitling, and they’ll provide the In-Vision translation, to make sure the audio content is accessible for deaf people.  Come this way.

So we’re just going upstairs now; now you get to experience the spiral staircase. This here is our Access office, and we have five staff who work here every day. Doing content editing, reading scripts, checking subtitles, audio description; everybody say hello.

“Hello” (everybody)

So over here, we have Zuheb and Spiros, currently working on one of our projects. And we have Chris here too. Chris, are you happy to have a quick chat?’

Chris

‘My name is Chris, I work for Remark Access, and I am a Communication Support Worker.

Okay, so I’m a CSW; I’m a Communication Support Worker, and I work with Spiros at the minute. Spiros, next week is off; he’s finishing, he’s going to a new job.  So I usually support… I support Spiros, check emails, answer the phone; just made sure his English is is up to the standard. And that’s about it; apart from that I do the edit, subtitling, filming and graphics.’

Simon

‘Both pieces for the ticket halls are ceramic ink printed on glass.  And although it looks quite, sort of light, and if it’s, you know quite a sort of thin veneer there’s, there’s a heavy chunk of glass in both of those ticket halls and some of that is to do with bomb blast concerns because they are above ground or in big public spaces.

And there’s a big concern about any sort of bomb attack and things like that. So everything is really thick and chunky and almost kind of over engineered. It’s not. I think one of the things about Farringdon for me is that I know how kind of sturdy and strong everything is and yet it still retains a kind of lightness in the space which is quite interesting. So when you’re in it feels voluminous and big and like a kind of big pavilion or something that you walk around but I know that everything is just a little bit stronger and a little bit thicker than it probably would normally be in a in a building but because it’s a public structure and so the ink is in the western ticket hall. Tumbling gems. The, the artwork is ceramic ink, which has been digitally printed on one of the internal faces of a sandwich about I think it’s maybe four different layers of glass, which is then also put into a kiln and it’s fired. And because it’s ceramic ink, we never really, you never have a really good control of how the colours are going to come out.

So we had lots of lots of tests and attempts to kind of get colourings working. Some colours work better than others and also, things react on glass differently than they say would on ceramic or something.

In the end the, the Western Hall ‘Avalanche’ that piece was pretty straightforward in getting fabricated, but the one for the Eastern ticket hall is I what I what I was trying to get initially was possibly something that referenced those very heavy cut, Victorian pub glass windows, you know, the ones that are sort of passively frosted, and they’re, I mean, they’re beautifully cut, but obviously that wasn’t possible to do because of all sorts of issues.

So we had to do it as a print and the one at the Eastern ticket hall ‘Spectre’. It ended up being the most complicated one to fabricate even though it’s only printed in one colour. And that’s because of the way we were trying to get the sort of perfect percentage of opacity so that you could still see through it but also it would give enough of a shadow onto the ticket hall floor.

And it was you know, it wasn’t, wasn’t particularly complicated idea from my point of view, but actually achieving it was quite complicated and in the end for fabricators who are both in Germany and sort of Eastern Holland had to do a kind of screen print pull of the ink and it was the best way to do it.

They were really concerned because when they printed it, there was a sort of gathering of ink you know, when you do a pull, and it happens kind of slightly thicker residue at the edge of the design and they thought that I was going to be displeased with this. But strangely, and it’s one of those kind of happy accidents actually gave it that kind of edge that made it look like it was kind of an engraved pub window in a funny sort of way.’

Chris

‘So at the moment on the screen, we have a project that is going out to an external organisation and we’ve got a translator translating the information that’s on the website to ensure that it’s fully accessible for a deaf audience. Rather than them having to read copious amounts of complex English, they can watch the BSL translation to make it more accessible.’

Spiros

‘My name is Spiros. I’m talking through the same interpreter that Robert was using just to avoid confusion. So my role is a Content Editor. We create In-vision, we provide subtitling and we make sure that content for external organisations is accessible.

So for example, we booked translators to come in and we can ensure with our CSW that all of the information is accurate and is of a high quality before we pass it on to the external organisations to use for their own projects. So that’s my role.’

Robert

‘We own all five floors, but we share one of the floors with an external company, and they provide leadership training. So yeah, we’ve, we’ve done a lot of renovation to the building and it’s, it’s just a lovely place to be. We provide meeting rooms as well that are available for hire for external companies to come in. Use our very, very unique and I think you can agree quite quirky meeting rooms’

Simon

‘I came to London when I was 17. I mean I’ve been coming to London for quite a few years before that and my history is you know, travelling around the tube and wondering how Paolozzi at Tottenham Court Road or you know, Robyn Denny, maybe that’s at Embankment. I can’t remember which one that is but there’s also you know, the, the artwork on the underground at Charing Cross and, and all the stations which was sort of built in the 20s and the 30s and it’s got an outer line stations with a really beautiful kind of art deco styling.

I mean, yeah, I mean, I mean I’m a big fan of public transport. And anyway, it’s quite interesting to be in that kind of context and slightly, slightly humbling, I suppose to be in those things. Same sort of context as that. One of the strange things was that during the project lots of people were talking about, you know, how I felt about that legacy and as an artist, how you can kind of plan for that. And of course, you can’t, you know, you can’t possibly imagine how something’s going to be received in 10, 20, 30 years’ time. But at the same time, you sort of have to kind of try and guess what that’s like, because you’ve got to kind of try and work with an idea that’s going to be received and responded to so you have to sort of have, be one eye on it.

But the scary question that somebody might send to me was, people were talking about, you know, what did I think about my, you know, my kids going to see it and I was saying, that’s really great that they’ll be able to come when they’re older. If they, if they study in London or something, they’ll, they’ll travel through Farringdon and see their dad’s artwork or something. But the scary question was when somebody said how do you feel about the idea that someone that’s not even been born yet is going to see your artwork conversation? And that was quite a sort of a weird moment to try and work. I mean, there’s absolutely no way you can policy legislate for that.’

Louise

‘I love how home this area is, it’s like I said, I like the fact that the area is, is very diverse in every single aspect of that word. In terms of the of the people that it attracts, the type of jobs that people have here. You know, all the different cultures, I think, all come together here. Everyone brings a little bit of their selves as you go along just the foods that as you can see that. Yeah, it’s just it’s just everything about it. I think this the place is steeped in history. I mean, as far as I’m aware, this is the oldest street market in London. I think I’m right in saying that there is a an order that this can never close, unless you have to go to the Queen about it. As far as I mean, you’d have to, someone would have to look that up. But as far as I’m aware, this this has got to say open this market. He’s got a real lot of history here and the area here the areas just steeped in it.’

Simon

‘I was a sort of teenage punk I moved to London and lived in a squat and did all that sort of stuff. And then was sort of always kind of creative and interested in those kinds of things. And then it wasn’t until, oh no five or six years after I’ve moved to London that I even thought about going back into college. Yeah, it was one of those. It was the time when there wasn’t you know, there wasn’t any work around it was kind of you know, the, the high point of factors Britain. And, you know, we yeah, we didn’t have any regrets, like that. So we will kind of messing around doing stuff in London and then eventually, it became really difficult to kind of do stuff like that without some sort of resource.

And I wanted to do filmmaking actually and photography. So I ended up going to St. Martin’s but originally to do fine art film, which was based in Longacre in Covent Garden I think. And then for a series of accidents, not to do with me actually, but to do with the Post Office misdelivering stuff and things. I ended up doing foundation and then completely changing my kind of worldview about, about art and what I wanted to do and I probably wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you now if the postman hadn’t misdelivered my application for my degree course.’

Robert

‘This area, we love it really because it’s just very diverse. And every day we’ve got the market right on our doorstep and there’s so many different things and there’s just such a variety of different people. I feel like leather Lane really is kind of a heart of Hatton Garden, because it’s just such a very busy street. And there’s just so much that Hatton Garden, especially Leather Lane has to offer. And all of the businesses kind of in this area know each other well. And obviously most of it is, is jewellers, but there’s, there’s so many different organisations here that we get on with so well and it’s just so diverse. And the area just contains so much history as well, it’s brilliant.’

Louise

‘So I love to walk through to the Thames. I love that, I love walking along the Thames. So generally if my family that now all live out of London, I’m the only one left here. So when they come up to visit we’ll, we’ll have a little wander down here go along the Thames, head to Covent Garden. Everything is such a stone’s throw from here. You know the City is only like a 20 minute walk. You’ve got 10 minutes and you’re in Covent Garden. You know you can’t you can’t knock this area for how central it is fantastic and Kings Cross is like revamped. Who would have ever thought Kings Cross would ever look like that. It’s great!’

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