In the English summer of 2012 padlocks began appearing on a wire fence opposite a train station in East London.
The fence, which encircles the vacant Bishopsgate Goods Yard in the hip Shoreditch locale, is arguably a non-permanent structure, but the padlocks accumulating on it are intended as the exact opposite. Known as “love locks,” they are symbols of everlasting love.
Sweethearts inscribe their names or initials on a padlock and attach it to a fence (or other public fixture) as a memento of their unbreakable bond. In addition to an increasing collection of locks, the Shoreditch fence also features colored wool and twine woven around the diamond-shaped mesh in the shape of hearts.
It is ironic that diagonally opposite the site is a locksmith, but it’s unknown if scorned lovers have ever demanded his services.