Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book Review

Iain Sinclair's Hackney biography is like an investigation. People are tracked down - Roland Camberton to Herne Hill, Jean-Luc Godard to St John's Wood. Things are connected up - Lauriston Road and Julie Christie, the German Hospital and Joseph Conrad. Stories are recovered - the Labyrinth on Dalston Lane, Astrid Proll and the Matchbox Toy Factory. Now and then the detail threatens to reveal a bigger picture; coincidences that might be more, geographical patterns, the outline of an explanation. And Sinclair's investigation is personal. He's lived in Hackney for 40 years and he wants to know what he's been doing. Idea filled, wide ranging local history.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The German Hospital

The German Hospital features in Iain Sinclair's Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire: A Confidential Report (London, 2009). He notes it was once an asylum for orphans, and then a hospital for the German community in the area. Now it's a block of private flats. The photograph shows an extension built in 1936.