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Library of Obscure Wonders present : Blithe Nook Exhibition & Performances at St John Bethnal Green Art Opening September 5th 2013

Opening Night – Thursday 5th September Closing performance Thursday 3rd October St John Bethnal Green, 200 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9PA (church right by Bethnal Green tube)

Site Specific Installation about the origins of Bethnal Green in the Belfry. Performances in the church by Rude Mechanicals, Jude Cowan Montague, Calum F. Kerr and Jill Rock on the opening night
Performances by Bitten by a Monkey and Matt Scott on the closing night.

“the earliest form of Bethnal Green is derived from the Anglo-Saxon healh (‘angle, nook, or corner’) and blithe (‘happy, blithe’). A settlement’s dependence upon water suggests that the ‘happy corner’ was cleared next to the natural spring… Over time, the name became Bethan Hall Green, which, because of local pronunciation as Beth’n ‘all Green, had by the 19th century changed to Bethnal Green.”


Blithe Nook takes its starting point from this description on the origins of Bethnal Green. Imagining the area as a clearing next to a spring, and how special it must have been to the local residents, it tries to capture the ghost of this and connect it to the busy metropolitan area it has now become.

The piece includes botanical mosaics made from recycled street litter, cabinets showing aspects of the area that have caught the curiosity of residents and passers by, a soundscape comprising of sounds from the Green and an opportunity for visitors to contribute their own items of curiosity or wonder. There will also be live art performances on the opening night.


The Library of Obscure Wonders was founded in 2005 as a contemporary Cabinet of Curiosities – exploring, recording, and collecting wonders in everyday life. Since it’s opening the Library has collected many items receiving works from scientists, artists, and explorers. We also hold exhibitions and ‘Flying Cabarets’ which combine many wondrous art forms.



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