Botanical Becontree by URIEL ORLOW

Botanical Becontree by URIEL ORLOWThree maps exploring the gardens and stories of plant life across homes on the Becontree Estate

Uriel Orlow responded to a commissioned botanical survey that charted the characteristics and conditions of the flora in Becontree. The work looked at the garden as a more or less controlled and layered microcosm that can tell us a lot about our relationship with the world. As a social space, it is shaped by multiple relationships of humans with each other and with plants.

Growing spaces have been central to the history of the area. Before Becontree was developed in the 1920s and 30s most of the land was market gardens and until now gardens and green spaces form an integral part of Becontree. Through this speculative project Orlow embarked on a multi-species conversation with plants and people on the estate by creating three botanical maps of the estate.

Through the rich variety of plant life found on the estate, the maps tell stories of global migrations, cultural history and botanical remedies. Looking at Becontree through the prism of plants, we can trace rich histories of global connections and migrations, discover food sources and healing remedies for the body, and encounter stories of traditional use or cultural significance. The maps are available free of charge at the Valence House Museum & Valence Library (Becontree Avenue) and the White House.

Commissioned by Create London, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.