Bad weather doesn’t stop Hackney folk getting into the street party community spirit

Cold weather and showers threatened to pull the plug on the Jubilee festivities today, but people from Hackney didn’t let that stop them getting into the community spirit.

There were 13 street parties scheduled in Hackney for Sunday – more than any of the other days of the long weekend.

But sadly the temperature did not rise about 12 degrees centigrade and at times heavy rain led to a Royal wash out.

Residents in Cowper Road began organising their bash four months ago, and considered transferring it to the nearby church hall at the last minute – but decided it wouldn’t be a street party if they did.

Eventually the rain calmed down and they laid on a bouncy castle, face painting, crown decorating, giant bubble making, barbeque as well as a pin the tail on the Corgi, along with cabaret singer Julie Nevada who was going to get the kids to join in with a talent contest.

“This is more of a community event than a Royalist event, but I’ve got no problem either way with the queen,” said lead organiser Karen Swift.

“We did another one for the royal wedding last year too and people said hello to each other more afterwards.”

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Lenthall Road residents had the same sentiments.

“We’re not doing it for the Jubilee, it’s just convenient Hackney Council has facilitated us and made it easier,” said joint organiser John Fuller.

“It’s to introduce people to each other, we’ve had fantastic fun, we’ve had bunting parties to make all the bunting over the last few weeks, and we’ve had committee meetings with lots of wine.”

Hackney City Farm had brought along a pet’s corner where children could hold bunnies, and there was plenty food and a sound system.

Meanwhile hundreds of people flocked to Stoke Newington Church Street.

The road was shut to traffic from Albion Road up to Stoke Newington High Street, and traders had set up tables into the middle of the road.

The Book Club bash in Leonard Street was another big bash.

A big screen here showed the impressive 1,000 strong flotilla of boats, ships and yachts on its way down the Thames.

Meanwhile Stoke Newington Regicidal Literary and Music Fringe was there for those who preferred to celebrate Hackney’s dissident tradition rather than the Royal family.

Instead of waving Union Jacks and pictures of the Queen, people here spared a thought for the life and death of Hackney citizen John Okey.

He was hung drawn and quartered as one of 24 deemed unpardonable by the restored monarchy of 1662, for the regicide of Charles I.

“This is a response to what we consider a remnant of empire and feudalism, and a consummate waste of money in these trying times – the Jubilee,” said joint organiser of the music event and book sale, Pete Bennett.

“It’s also the fringe event of the Stoke Newington literary festival, because in all these mainstream events alternative writers seem to be overlooked, and what would a festival be without a fringe?

“Also in an age of Kindle we are celebrating the printed text, in all its paper bound glory. Long live books!”