As a Londoner who goes out a fair bit in East London, it felt a bit funny joining a tour of an area I thought I knew well as though I was a tourist. However, I am so glad I did as I learned things about East London I had no idea about! Our tour guide was Doug, who was funny without being annoying, and who kept the tour going at the perfect pace, so the afternoon never dragged or felt rushed. Doug openly admitted at the start that his background was not in art or history, and although I have to admit I would be interested to take the tour with Gary the company founder to see if he provides a more in depth history into the art and artists, Doug had clearly done his research and learned a lot about the culture and I trusted that all he had to say was accurate.
What was amazing about this tour is that it is obviously not just a set route with set stopping points that the guides have visited a hundred times, a lot of the work we were shown was created in the last couple of weeks which really felt exciting and underlined the fleeting nature of street art. It also means you could go on this tour again and again and see new things every time. It showed that the tour guides really have their finger on the pulse, and made Doug's only recent involvement in that world even more irrelevant.
Something that stuck with me was the way in which that side of London is being developed on so quickly now, and the charm of London's "poor" east is being swallowed up in fancy high rise buildings and shopping centres. I find this to be incredibly sad, as this tour completely highlighted a side of London that is totally unique to anywhere else. I recommend going on this tour before East London's street art scene all but disappears.
P.S. the tour is free but I would put mentally put aside at least some money to give your tour guide at the end, they really deserve it
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