Things To Do

Jason Allen 09/09/21

The Cl(INK)

“People with tattoos who are not in prison are either latent criminals or degenerate aristocrats”
– Adolf Loos, 1908

Good news for all those degenerate aristocrats reading this: there’s an 18th century-inspired pop-up tattoo parlour coming to Shoreditch over the weekend of the 11th & 12th of September, where you can get your old fashioned ink done via the old fashioned “stick & poke” method  completely free… and potentially also win £1,000 by finding a special 19th crime printed cork.

It’s called The Cl(INK) and it comes to us courtesy of exciting Australian wine 19 Crimes, which has enlisted the help of renowned tattoo historian Dr Matt Lodder to take a deep dive into the tatts decorating the convicts who were shipped over to Oz in the 18th Century. Those prisoners were all found guilty of one of the infamous 19 crimes that might get you sent to the colony, and yet – despite misconception throughout history that tattoos were merely the ‘mark of a criminal’ – Matt’s research has shown that prisoners’ tattoos often held genuine sentimental value, from referencing their profession to reminding them of a lover, with symbols such as anchors and hearts featuring in the top 10 most common designs. Tattooing at a basic level has hardly changed in several thousand years, and the so-called ‘convict-tattoos’ from the 18th century are really just symbols of human emotions which resonate with all of us…

…so Dr Lodder has worked with four tattoo artists – Delph Musquet, Connor McNeilly, Jack Brown and Prieme – to create a flash sheet of designs that embodies 18th century convict tattoo style (see below) fusing each with their own individual flair. And you can have any of them daubed at the Cl(INK) free of charge on 11th or 12th September: just head along whenever, OR – if you fancy making the whole experience a little more authentic – book ahead and opt to get yours done with “a modern interpretation of the traditional stick and poke method” which was used back in the 18th century…

Promise it won’t hurt.


The 19 designs range from classics like dice, sunsets and flowers to the more robustly prison-oriented (like daggers, devils and sparsely clad ladies) but if you’re feeling truly adventurous you can ask for the mystery “19th tattoo” which will net you A) a story you can tell for the rest of your life and B) a clue as to the whereabouts of a pair of “19th Cork” bottles somewhere nearby in Shoreditch. Those bottles are but two of dozens scattered throughout the land which contain winning corks that’ll net you up to £1,000 cash, instantly.

So you can act like the aristocrat you are…


NOTE: The Cl(INK) is popping up on the 11th & 12th September between 10.00 – 18.00 at The Ace Corner Shop on Shoreditch High St. All tattoos are free, however walk-ins will be on a first-come first-serve basis, and the stick and poke artists will be doing pre-booked slots only, which you can now book here.

The Cl(INK) | The Ace Corner Shop, 149 Shoreditch High St, E1 6JQ

While you’re in the neighbourhood… here are the best bars in Shoreditch

The Cl(INK)

The Ace Corner Shop, 149 Shoreditch High St, Shoreditch, E1 6JQ