Looking for a break from the stress of living in East London? You might have heard about Hackney City Farm and the borough's numerous parks, but there's another, less-known green space ready for you to chill out in in Hackney. An oasis of calm and green amid the never-ending building works and the hustle and bustle of nearby Kingsland High Street. The Dalston East Curve Garden is located on Dalston Lane, right next to the Ray Walker's famous Hackney Peace Carnival Mural (pictured)
. It's also only a minute's walk away from Café Oto and the Arcola Theatre, on nearby Ashwin Street. The Curve Garden is ingeniously constructed around the derelict old Eastern Curve railway line, which linked the previous version of Dalston Junction Station (not the current hi-tech one) to both a local goods yard and the North London Line. The Eastern Curve railway line closed in 1944, its tracks removed twenty years later. Fast forward to 2009, and the site was used by architectural collective Exyzt, who built the temporary Dalston Mill. They returned the following year to establish a garden flanked by a wooden pavilion, which is what you walk through when entering through the front-door gates (pictured below). The pavilion was built by apprentices from Forest Road Youth Club.
(pictured), the pavilion serves some extremely reasonably priced tea, coffee, mint tea and lemonade, along with a smattering of bottled beer (see menu picture, below) as well as little cakes for £1 which, a sign informs us, were "made with wine berries from the garden."
With flyers and posters lying around the pavilion advertising child-friendly and family events (including a current pumpkin lantern show for Halloween), along with homemade potteries and tables for children's drawing, there is a strong community feel to the pavilion. The workshops involve everything from planting herbs and biodiverse fauna to carving gargoyles to screen printing; there's even one that invites you to make pizza from scratch in four hours. There's also the chance to get involved with designing furniture and, on some Sunday's, be part of 'African Tango Picnics' (the picture below should give you an idea).
Revellers tango away (image courtesy of the DECG's website)
If that's not enough, there's also a beautiful glasshouse adjacent to the pavilion, which has been dubbed the 'Dalston Pineapple House.' Inside, tropical plants and fruits grow, including – yes – pineapples, which according to the DECG's website are "a traditional symbol of welcome."