Ruskin Walks

RuskinWalkscoverHome Fronts – a Ruskin Walk in Shoreditch

27th June 2015 

Start with a walk from Shoreditch High Street overground station, via ‘Unto this Last’, Brick Lane,to  finish with a workshop at the Geffrye Museum 

Complementing the Homes for the Homeless: Seeking shelter in Victorian London exhibition at the Geffrye Museum, we invite you step out on a Ruskin Walk in part to explore places where Shoreditch has provided shelter for the homeless, in part to establish how current was 19th Century, John Ruskin’s philanthropic approach to providing homes, and in part to draw on the Geffrye Museum’s substantial furniture collections to make imaginative furniture of your own.

Join  Martin Fidler, creator of the Ruskin Walk and Andrew Stuck, founder of the Museum of Walking in this combined walk and furniture making workshop.  Participants will uncover the shifting trends in the ‘spirit of the home’ and in buildings that  provide shelter in and amongst the streets of Shoreditch.




Price £25 for a 3 hour event starting with a particpatory walk from Shoreditch High Street overground station, via furniture-maker Unto this Last in Brick Lane, and finishing at the Geffrye Museum, to view the Homes for the Homeless exhibition, take part in a maker workshop, and enjoy refreshments from the Museum’s restaurant.

Read about previous Ruskin Walks this year:

Ruskin Walks in Shoreditch: Sheltering Shoreditch

Took place on Saturday 7 February – you can listen to a feature on it recorded by Ana Xavier of the EastCastShow first broadcast on Resonance 104.4fm between 8-9.00pm GMT on Wednesday 18 February 2015

Some comments from people who took part:

  • Very insightful about the area and facts about the past.  Discovering London in a more ‘active’ way was great to engage with art and different groups of people.  Everything was great.
  • I like the range of activities interspersed with the walk.  Nice how it all slotted together at the end.
  • So enjoyed the morning. Learned a lot about the area. Appreciated the very well planned links – the furniture workshop and its ethos – the shelter theme and our workshop back at the Geffrye Museum making use of the “drawing boards’ to make our own shelters.


Martin Fidler writes: “Our visit to the streets and houses around the Geffrye Museum in Shoreditch are the setting for this year’s special event marking the birthday of John Ruskin.

Shoreditch was home for people who had to live outside the control of the city of London. This unique place has been a shelter for the displaced and homeless, the adventurous, lost, and, wreck-less. In 1714 The Geffrye Museum was originally alms houses built to accomodate the poor and needy. Two hundred years later the museum was established in 1914 to chart the development of the home and its furnishings.

During our Ruskin walk from the Geffrye Museum we will discover the contemporary and historical use of housing where people have made their homes and sheltered from times changing circumstances. John Ruskin’s interest in buildings, stones, geology, and, philanthropy will form part of our ramble and exploration before returning to the museum’s studio to take part in an experimental ‘makery’ workshop based upon the museum’s collection and our findings from our journey.

The cold and damp during last year’s anniversary walk on Ruskin’s birthday was held at bay by fortifying hot drinks. We hope a visit to the furniture factory ‘Unto This Last’ or quirky curio ‘A Portuguese Love Affair’  on our travels will provide us with a warming brew. At this time of year the fingers will not be perhaps be so resolute in recording or writing as observation and reflection may prove enough to unite head, hand and heart.

Images from the 2014 Ruskin Walk in Shoreditch & Makery workshop at the Geffrye Museum:

Video Download (50MB): ‘Makery’ workshop from the 2014 Ruskin Walk in Shoreditch: Ruskin walks in Shoreditch – making

Comments from Ruskin Walk participants:

  • Eclectic day full of inspiring ideas and surprising connections.
  • Good way to spend Saturday morning: bit of architecture, bit of drawing, bit of Ruskin, bit of design ‘puzzling’.  Fab!
  • Very informative – will visit area again. Super-organised. Plenary session great to finish a really enjoyable morning. Loved the connection with boards and creating a 3D piece.  Great opportunity to create. Thanks Martin & Andrew.  Will come on another walk! 
  • Most interesting, makes me feel I want to explore more of the area.
  • Hugely enjoyable – Ruskin still rocks in the 21st century.
  • As usual, it was the doing that was the most interesting. Looking and drawing at Unto this Last, drawing at Arnold Circus, but most especially building and sharing drawings at the Geffrye Museum.  Again the ‘active gift’, the board, make the walk extra special. Enjoyable and effective.  Well done!
  • Excellent, “off the London Wall” experience amongst an eclectic bunch of individuals. Great way to spend the day.
  • Excellent day! Nice group of people and enjoyable walk.  Some fascinating places en route!
  • Excellent atmosphere and original ideas for this ‘constructive’ and instructive walk – will come again! 
  • Another successful Ruskin Walk. Loved the East End location and the links with Ruskin’s ethos.  Give us more! Thanks Martin & Andrew
  • Ruskin walking today has been amazing to grab info on the world of his thoughts and ideas.  I could share a lot of aspects with others and people were all enjoyed. Well organising the route and warm welcome group!! Thank you Andrew & Martin!!.

Find out more about Ruskin Walks from our blog and follow us on Twitter @RuskinWalks

Walking in Step with:

MF1 GMlogo Portuguese Love logoUntoThisLastlogo