Out and About in Shoreditch

Out and About in Shoreditch: Why do people make Shoreditch their home?

10.45am – 1.45pm Saturday 13 February, 2016 Geffrye Museum 136 Kingsland Road, London E2 8EA

Come and explore the creative and social aspirations that make this part of London such a dynamic hub. Join Andrew Stuck of Rethinking Cities and Martin Fidler from Ruskin Walks in an introductory workshop followed by a wander through hidden streets and alleyways.

This event will involve using basic skills to assemble our experimental travelogues to record both contemporary and historical aspects of this intriguing area.

We look forward to you joining us in this three hour event from the workshop in the Geffrye Museum to the end of our journey in the heart of Shoreditch.

The cost is £20.00 and £10.00 for students. Please meet at 10.45am in the entrance to the museum. Bring a friend and you each receive a 10% discount as a cash refund on the day.



John Ruskin was a prolific diarist and keeper of travelogue journals, many of which were the basis for print books.  Many say he was the father of cultural tourism as his travelogues and Drawingcoverwritings, encouraged others to visit and explore the many places he visited. Martin and Andrew  frequently make their own handmade notebooks and sketchbooks, but this workshop is going to be even more hands-on and experimental and every participant will get the chance to make their own journal as a keepsake.

Find out more about previous events under the Ruskin Walks’ umbrella.

Walking in Step with:


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Home Fronts – a Ruskin Walk in Shoreditch

Ruskin Walks coverHome Fronts – a Ruskin Walk in Shoreditch

10.30am- 1.30pm Saturday 27 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 Walkin part to explore places where Shoreditch has provided shelter for the homeless, in part to establish how current was 19th Centrury, 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.

Book: 10.30am- 1.30pm Saturday 27 June, 2015 


Price £25 for a 3 hour event starting with a particpatory walk from Shoreditch High Streetoverground 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.

Find out more about the Geffrye Museum, Martin Fidler, the Museum of Walking or Unto this Last


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Ruskin Walks in Shoreditch: Home Fronts

Ruskin Walks cover

Looking forward to seeing you in June 2015, when Ruskin will be out walking in Shoreditch again, this time complementing the “Homelessness” exhibition at the Geffrye Museum.  Further details regarding start time and date will be announced shortly.

Ruskin Walks in Shoreditch: Sheltering Shoreditch

If you missed joining us on Saturday 7 February, you can get a glimpse of what took place by listening in to Resonance 104.4fm between 8-9.00pm GMT on Wednesday 18 February 2015, as their reporter Ana Xavier joined the walk and makery workshop.


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Ruskin Walk: Sheltering in Shoreditch

Ruskin Walks cover10.30am – 1.30pm Saturday 7 February 2015

Geffrye Museum, London E2 8EA

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 accomadate 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 one of our venues 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.  

Book online here: 


Price £25 for a 3 hour event starting from (and finishing at) the Geffrye Museum – hot liquid refreshments included


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Where Ruskin walked in Shoreditch

P1020288To mark the anniversary of John Ruskin’s birthday, Martin Fidler and Andrew Stuck organised a Ruskin Walk in Shoreditch on Saturday 8 February 2014. 

It may have rained a little but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of some 20 people on the look out for ways in which John Ruskin‘s life and work had influenced the way in which  people have lived and worked in Shoreditch.

Here are some of the comments made and images from the walk –

P1020239 – Good way to spend Saturday morning: bit of architecture, bit of drawing, bit of Ruskin, bit of design ‘puzzling’.  Fab!

– Eclectic day full of inspiring ideas and surprising connections. 


P1020256 – 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!

P1020291– 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!  

P1020378We would like to thank the furniture shop and workshop premises of Unto This Last, in Brick Lane, run by local entrepreneur Olivier Geoffroy who not only contributed a warm venue for the start of the walk but also an intriguing sketch board for each participant. The walk ended at the fascinating Geffrye Museum, who kindly provided an art studio, in which participants came together to share their discoveries and assemble some 3D structures from the sketch boards.  

Further Ruskin Walks will be announced shortly.

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Celeb8Feb – Ruskin walks in Shoreditch – Saturday 8 February 2014

Saturday 8 February 10.00am – 1.00pm
Start Shoreditch High Street Overground station.
Finish: Geffrye Museum (close by Hoxton Overground station)
Price: £25 Book: http://ruskinwalksinshoreditch.eventbrite.co.uk

Ruskin Walks coverTo mark the anniversary of John Ruskin’s birthday, Martin Fidler and Andrew Stuck invite you to a Ruskin Walk in Shoreditch on Saturday 8 February 2014. It also marks the launch Celeb8Feb a 5 year campaign of Ruskin Walks building to 200th anniversary of Ruskin’s birth in 1819.

The community of people living and working in Shoreditch have a rich heritage of culture, craft and small scale industry. The livelihood and well being of Shoreditch people has links to the many varied interests of Victorian philanthropist John Ruskin. His life long concern with social reform and fulfilment through aesthetic concerns in the visual arts and manufacturing industries have a relevance today.

Join us to uncover Ruskin’s enthusiasms in the links between historical and contemporary issues about work, living and wellbeing in the streets, houses, shops, as well as, places of work and exercise, that dot the Shoreditch of today.

These Ruskin Walks will take the form of rambles that focus upon individual exploration and participation in small group activities discussing evidence gathered and recorded during the course of a three hour programme.

Our start will be at Shoreditch High Street overground station, from there you will be taken on a short pre-ramble to the furniture shop and workshop premises of Unto This Last, in Brick Lane, run by local entrepreneur Olivier Geoffroy. A chance to warm up with a hot drink, a short tour of the workshops, and an introduction to the enthusiasms of John Ruskin. Together we will draw up a list of issues gathered from a short tour of the premises that will match the evidence of things to lookout for in the rambles: trade, making, craft and art, open spaces and social housing, graffiti and free expression.

Exterior in Autumn.3The Ruskin Walk ramble will begin setting off around Shoreditch, Brick Lane and nearby Hoxton. You will learn how to use and create ‘observation’ and ‘mapping’ methods inspired by Ruskin, and will set out in small groups to explore the local area. Our finish will be at the Geffrye Museum of housewares, furniture and household interiors, where we will come together to share our discoveries  and map the influence of John Ruskin to this fascinating area.

The Geoffrye Museum is also celebrating anniversaries – it’s 100th since opening and the building it which is housed was built 300 years ago in 1714.  So lots to celebrate!

To be certain of a place, please book on our Eventbrite site

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Ruskin and the Fabric of Life – Leighton House Museum – Ruskin Walk 3.30pm 23 June

IMG_1144Join the latest Ruskin Walk at Leighton House Museum, Holland Park, London (coming soon) – book your place here.

Leighton House is a gem, with sumptuous interiors and exquisite decoration, and on the top floor, the recreation of Sir Frederic Leighton‘s studio, where he and other members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) came to paint and be painted.  This summer, the house will also be displaying fabrics from around the world, collected by Essie Sakhai, evoking the appearance of the house from Sir Frederic Leighton’s time.

You will encounter the house much as John Ruskin would have done on one of his visits there.  Ruskin was a keen promoter of the works of the PRB and was also a supporter of artisan craftsmanship of which the carpets in the Essie Sakhai collection are amongst the world’s best examples.

Once you have popped in and seen the “Fabric of Life” exhibition, then why not join a Ruskin Walk around the gardens and surrounding streets – the Holland Park neighbourhood that Ruskin and members of the PRB would have walked through.  Martin Fidler (creator of the Ruskin Walk) and Andrew Stuck of Rethinking Cities, will lead a Ruskin Walk in the vicinity of the Museum in August / September (dates to be confirmed).  You too will observe and explore the neighbourhood as if through Ruskin’s eyes.

As a participant on a Ruskin Walk, you will be introduced to John Ruskin and key members of the PRB – you will receive a unique hand-assembled learning journal to which you can add your own notes and sketches.Ruskin journals I

Martin Fidler has work showcased in the “Critics Secrets” exhibition at the Mall Galleries and currently has a solo exhibition at the UpDown Gallery in Ramsgate.

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Ruskin Walks in Ramsgate and beyond

Ruskin Walks coverWe are delighted to announce five Ruskin Walks in the early summer, with a commission from the UpDown Gallery in Ramsgate, Kent to undertake four walks in the surrounding area.  We will be returning to Leighton House, Holland Park Road in London since the InTransit Festival in 2012, offering a Ruskin Walk over the mid-year solstice weekend.  Booking details for each Ruskin Walk are available below.

Ramsgate has witnessed the opening and rise of the UpDown Gallery, whose Director, Kate Smith, has for a long time been an admirer of the work of Martin Fidler, (who also happens to be the creator of the Ruskin Walk).  UpDown image

The gallery is to host ‘Changing Horizons’ a major exhibition of Martin’s work from the 18 May to the 15 June, and has commissioned Martin and Ruskin Walk collaborator, Andrew Stuck from Rethinking Cities to devise and lead four Ruskin Walks on the 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th June.

Ramsgate was home to August Pugin, architect and designer, from 1848 when he moved in to St Augustine’s Grange, a property he designed in the Victorian Gothic style, and which was rescued from dereliction by the Landmark Trust in 1997.  Last year marked the 200th anniversary of Pugin’s birth and there is strong local support for the architect and The Grange.  However, John Ruskin who visited Ramsgate, in promoting JWM Turner’s drawings of the harbour and sea front for the Harbours of Britain series, was unimpressed by Pugin and his architecture.  Sir Kenneth Clark is noted in saying that: “If Ruskin had never lived, Pugin would never have been forgotten.” 

The series of experimental and challenging walks will explore and record the local environment of buildings and open spaces of Ramsgate in a manner similar to John Ruskin, artist, critic and social reformer. People participating in the three-hour long walks will be encouraged to take a different view of their surroundings, inspiring fresh observations, which can be recorded as notes and sketches kept in a small hand assembled journal provided for the Ruskin Walk.

The Ramsgate walks will take place on Saturday mornings from 10.00am on the 1st & 8th of June and Sunday afternoons from 2.00pm on the 2nd & 9th June starting at the UpDown Gallery.  They finish with an invitations to accompany Martin on a brief tour of his exhibition.  The participatory walks are priced at £25 per person with limited spaces available.  Please call the UpDown Gallery on 01843 588181 for further details and to book.

Further details on the 2-hour Ruskin Walk from Leighton House, Holland Park Road, London at 3.30pm on Sunday 23 June will be posted shortly, to book please click here

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5 years since the inaugural Ruskin Walk in Camberwell

On Wednesday 11 July, Martin Fidler undertook a reprise of the Ruskin Walk that was commissioned by the Camberwell Festival of Arts in 2007.  Since the original ‘Drawing the Ruskin Walk’ took place, the Ruskin Walk has developed in ways that Martin scarcely imagined at the time.  The greatest impetus has been in the last 18 months, since Andrew Stuck of Rethinking Cities and curator of the Museum of Walking, commissioned a Ruskin Walk for an event held at the South London Gallery in March last year.

Andrew saw the potential of broadening the audience and appeal of the Ruskin Walk – in which participants, step out as if in the character of John Ruskin, Victorian polymath and long time resident of Camberwell to investigate and explore a neighbourhood.  Martin led a group of housing and public health professionals through the streets of Camberwell from Denmark Hill station to the South London Gallery, encouraging them to observe their surroundings as if they were John Ruskin.  It proved so popular, that Andrew and Martin have won commissions from the Geologists Association, MUF Architects, University College London’s Bartlett Planning School and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea to undertake further Ruskin Walks.

Ruskin’s life in Camberwell and how his critical techniques have influenced our approach to artistic interpretation, continue to intrigue as was witnessed on the latest Ruskin Walk.

Participants expressed their enthusiasm for the topics discussed as well as the opportunities to practice their drawing and improve on their observational skills.

Great fun. Very relaxed. Nice people. Learned a lot.”

 “Wonderful walk. I would like to join again.


John Ruskin’s influence was much more than in his interpretation of architecture or understanding of how neighbourhood layout could influence housing and improve residents’ well-being.  He is well known as the champion of W. S. Turner and an acknowledged promoter of the works of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

So it is an exciting opportunity for Martin and Andrew to present a Ruskin Walk from Leighton House Museum in Holland park as part of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea’s acclaimed InTRANSIT art festival.

Leighton House is one of the most remarkable buildings of the 19th century. The house was the former home and studio of the leading Victorian artist, Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896) and it was extended and embellished over a period of 30 years to create a private palace of art. Leighton house became a focal point for the pre-Raphaelites and John Ruskin was one of its most public admirers. This summer it is exhibiting works from the Schaeffer Collection of Pre-Raphaelite art, a taster of course, for Tate Britain’s widely anticipated Pre-Raphaelite show opening this autumn.

All are welcome to join the Ruskin Walk from Leighton House Museum in Holland Park Road at 6.00pm on Thursday 26 July – on line booking is essential:


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Ruskin’s take on planning

Planners from the Bartlett School at University College London accompanied Martin Fidler, creator of the Ruskin Walk, on an investigation around the residential streets of East Dulwich, Herne Hill and Camberwell in June.

After the exertions of undertaking PhDs in Planning, the Ruskin Walk lived up to being a fun and informative walk with students commenting that their eyes had been opened to the ‘what lies beneath, and behind in the past’.  Clearly, although many had heard of John Ruskin, few had any idea of how his interests had influenced how they themselves ‘framed’ their planning practice.

Students at the Bartlett School are an international bunch.  They brought a diverse variety of ideas to the discussion, and learnt about the scale of London, and the speed at which these suburbs grew in the number of residents – in part, the reason for Ruskin leaving Camberwell in his early 50s.

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