1. This behind the scenes video shows the process of the Walls Have Ears project, from our first workshops right through to the final painted murals.

  2. The mural is finished!

    After several months of interviews, research, meetings, workshops and design stages in the build up to the painting of the mural – followed by a week of hand painting by the Bread team (some long hours painting in the rain and the dark!) – we are happy to say that it is finally up.

    We will have ‘The making of’ pictures up on our blog site shortly (www.thedailybread.co.uk), and look out for a final video and photography on here and also on the Bread Collective website soon (www.breadcollective.co.uk)

    We are really happy with the response from the public and residents, we’ve had literally hundreds of messages, emails and encouraging comments – it’s great that so many others care about Hackney Wick as much as we do. We really enjoyed the painting experience and the opportunity it gave us to meet so many different people in the Wick.

    Here’s some further explanation of the mural and its meaning: 

    We deliberately designed the mural to be ambiguous and hopefully intriguing, in the hope that passersby would question the words and be interested to find out more about the history of the area. Many of the positive words that people gave us at the research stage, such as ‘creative’ and ‘community’ began to sound saccharine and also non-specific to Hackney Wick, so we chose to avoid these. (Scroll down to read further posts to explain the link between the words on each section of wall and Hackney Wick.)

    The content has a mix of positive and negative connotations – we don’t advocate the products or factories etc mentioned (eg. ‘Fridge Mountain’ reminds us of an enormous rubbish dump) but we think it’s important to mention them all the same, as it reflects what went on before. 

    The reason for focusing partly on the industrial history of the area is because this is what led to making it what it is today, in its geography, architecture and the current community. In the past, many people lived here to work nearby, and in recent decades, the artist community made its home here because of the cheap rent in a somewhat disconnected, barren landscape. 

    Recent comments people have sent us since the murals have been up, talk about passing through the area in the 1970s and smelling all the smells from the industries, both pleasant and unpleasant, or about their parents or grandparents that worked in the factories. (We’d love to hear more, please email us at twheproject@gmail.com if you have any comments or stories for us.)

    We wanted the style to fit with the content, and we were inspired by the large-scale, traditional old typography on the old factory buildings in the area, much of which still stands today. On some of the walls we have also used more updated typefaces to give it a modern twist. The paint that we used is from the Forest Recycling Project (FRP) in Walthamstow, so this had some influence over the colours that we were able to use. We chose a range that seemed to fit with the graphics of yesteryear. 

    Currently, everything in Hackney Wick seems to be focussed on the 2012 Olympics, it’s clearly having a massive impact on the area. Our personal view is that there are many things about the Olympics that we feel could have been done better, however, it is also creating some great opportunities, and we hope that this will continue after this summer… 

    As the area is nowadays such a vibrant and creative centre, we wanted the mural to help make this immediately visible when you arrive in Hackney Wick. This project is also a pilot scheme, we’re hoping that if the wall is able to remain for any time, then the council will consider making more walls in Hackney Wick available for street art projects for other artists, as they do in places like Barcelona. Unfortunately, if they continue to be graffiti-ed over, then the council will continue to whitewash the walls, we’re aware it’s quite likely that this will happen.

    We look forward to hearing more of your views on the project and we’d like to thank everyone involved for their help.

    Many thanks,
    Bread Collective

  3. Parkesine

    The Parkesine Company was established at Hackney Wick in London in 1866

    Parkesine is the trademark for the first man-made plastic. It was patented by Alexander Parkes in 1856. The Parkesine Company was established at Hackney Wick in London in 1866 with the aim of supplying Parkesine in quantity at a cost much below that of India rubber or gutta percha.

    The company, however, failed due to poor product quality as Parkes tried to reduce costs. Parkesine’s successors were Xylonite, produced by Daniel Spill (an associate of Parkes), and Celluloid from John Wesley Hyatt. Parkesine was made from cellulose treated with nitric acid and a solvent. The generic name of Parkesine is pyroxylin, or Celluloid. Parkesine is often synthetic ivory. The Parkesine company ceased trading in 1868. 

  4. 30 Hackney Wick & Pickles

    30 Hackney Wick

    The number 30 bus runs from Hackney Wick to Marble Arch.

    On 7 July 2005 at 09:47, a Dennis Trident 2 double-decker bus (30 route) was involved in a terrorist attack perpetrated by Hasib Hussain, a bomb in whose rucksack exploded, killing 13 other passengers as well as himself. The explosion ripped the roof off the top deck of the bus and destroyed the back of the vehicle. The detonation took place close to the British Medical Association building in Tavistock Square. The bus was off line of route and on diversion due to earlier multiple attacks on the London Underground system. The bus was replaced by the first Alexander Dennis Enviro400 produced, named Spirit of London to symbolise the courage of Londoners.


    Brother Bungs was located in Hackney and was responsible for the local residents being greeted with ‘the wonderful aroma of pickles in the air’.  The large factory was demolished in the early 1970’s to make way for a council estate to be built. 

  5. Petrol & Shellac


    Oil distiller Carless, Capel & Leonard, credited with introduction of the term petrol in the 1890s was based in Hackney Wick.

    Eugene Carless established his distilling and oil refining business in 1859 at Hackney Wick, on land adjoining White Post Lane. Here he constructed the Hope Chemical Works. In 1860 William George Blagdon joined as a partner, emaining with Carless for ten years. After the dissolution of the partnership Carless became the leading distillery in Britain for the newly imported American crude oil, and made advances in refining coal tar and shales, from which derived benzoline, paraffin oil, burning naphtha and carburine.


    Shellac, a natural polymer was manufactured at the Lea Works by A.F. Suter and Co.at the Victory Works. 

    Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes, which are dissolved in ethyl alcohol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a brush-on colorant, food glaze and wood finish. Shellac functions as a tough natural primer, sanding sealant, tannin-blocker, odour-blocker, stain, and high-gloss varnish. Shellac was once used in electrical applications as it possesses good insulation qualities and it seals out moisture. Phonograph (gramophone) records were also made of it during the pre-1950s, 78-rpm recording era.

  6. Fridge Mountain

    Fridge Mountain was the area’s biggest landmark pre-games. Towering qbout 20 ft into the air the monument of domestic appliance waste, was the biggest heap of fridges in Europe. 

    The mountain was the first thing to go when development began on the Olympic site.

  7. Peanuts & The Cut


    Fish Island is home to the Percy Dalton Peanut Factory a London peanut processor, notable for their production of roasted nuts in their shells. The company began at this site, in Dace Road, in the 1930s, but is now based in Suffolk.

    The old factory has now been largely converted into artist studios.

    The Cut

    The Hackney Cut is a 3km artificial channel of  water that cuts across the marshes in Hackney Wick, east London, from Lea Bridge in the north to Old Ford Lock in the south. It was dug in 1770 as a river canal, avoiding the shoals and bends of the old River Lea and providing much improved navigation.

    The Hackney Cut’s use as a vital navigation and trade route has shaped the identity and character of Hackney Wick and the area is intrinsically tied to the river canal, supporting a rich industrial, physical and social heritage.


  8. Oxygen

    The 2012 Olympic site has claimed industrial premises formerly used by British Industrial Gases (later British Oxygen Company, BOC) to manufacture oxygen and acetylene.

  9. Mint Creams

    The confectioner Clarnico is synonymous with Hackney Wick. The company, known as Clarke, Nickolls, Coombs until 1946, arrived in Hackney Wick in 1879. Despite being taken over by Trebor Bassett, the name lives on in Bassett’s Clarnico Mint Creams and also in the CNC Property company. 

    Just after the second world war, Clarnico was the largest confectioner in Britain but moved further across the Lea to Waterden Road in 1955 where it survived for another 20 years. The company had its own brass band in the early 20th century.

  10. Meldola’s Blue

    Meldola’s Blue dye was invented in Hackney Wick by British chemist and entomologist Raphael Meldola. Meldola was a Professor of Organic Chemistry in the University of London, 1912–5.

    This dye is used in textiles, paper, and paints, mainly as a pigment. Meldola’s Blue has been used as a component in redox sensors for detection of materials such as NADH, pyruvates, hydrogen peroxide, glucose, and 3-hydroxy- butyrate. It has also been used in electrochemical experiments involving DNA wherein the dye mediates electron transport.