Gazette letters: Young architects, bombs as art, hunt for rescued man and fun fundraiser

Designing and building new space, Sutton House

Designing and building new space, Sutton House - Credit: Archant

We, the National Trust and a group of seven-to-14 year olds have proved children can be as capable and inventive as adults when it comes to creating the built environment, write Matthew Springett, architect, and Fiona MacDonald, teacher.

In just six days, the group designed and created a new entrance way and open air performance space for Sutton House, the 500-year-old National Trust property in Hackney, with a team of volunteers.

The workshop enabled the children to create on an equal footing with adults. Their opinions were listened to, which required them to take responsibility for their design decisions.

An art exhibition was held in Edgar’s Cafe and Bar, Broadway Market, featuring “disarmed bomb” images created by local people using art as a medium to demonstrate opposition to nuclear weapons, write Mandi Peers and Matt Hawkins, project officer at ICAN-UK.

On August 6, 1944, an atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing thousands and injuring many more. A few days later, a second bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki, again ending the lives of thousands more.

From August 6 to 14 this year, two events under the banner of “Creating Peace: Bombs No More” were held across the boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets to commemorate the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

They were organised by lay Buddhist peace and culture organisation SGI-UK in association with International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICANW).

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The first of these was held at the Tredegar Community Centre in Bow on August 6, the 71st anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. This event featured live acoustic jazz and an info stall outside in the sun, while indoors, a “disarming bombs” workshop was held, where participants transformed images of bombs into peaceful objects. This is part of a worldwide initiative to demonstrate opposition to nuclear weapons through the medium of art.

Later in the evening there was a special screening of the film Women Speak out for Peace, featuring testimonies of women A-bomb survivors. This was followed by a lively discussion led by representatives from ICANW and SGI-UK, in which they discussed both practical ways people can oppose nuclear weapons and also exploring the mentality behind the support for nuclear weapons. They concluded that a lot of the cause for war springs from a lack of trust between people.

After the day was over, all the “disarmed bomb” pictures were laminated and hung like flags all around the interior of the community centre, where they remained until August 14. Those same artworks were photographed and displayed from August 8 to 14 at Edgars Café and Bar in Broadway Market. This exhibition included an open evening with live music on August 10.

We can never forget the appalling loss of life suffered in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The realisation of the devastation that humans can cause must remain with us. That is why it is so uplifting to see people of all generations and backgrounds remember and reflect on the bombings of Japan. The message of humanity must continue to be spread as must the lessons of those who suffered so much 71 years ago.

I am contacting you regarding your article in the Hackney Gazette about the rescue of the man from Regent’s Canal at Broadway Market (Gazette, August 25, p5), writes Josh Kilbride via e-mail.

As the second person who jumped in the water in the rescue, I am also interested in the recovery and well being of the man we helped out from the canal.

I also left the scene when the man was with the paramedic as I had my child with me.

• If you know the man who was rescued, please e-mail the editor:

More than 100 people took part in a mega afternoon tea party on Saturday, writes Neil Folkes, Life Zone, Hackney.

It was a grand event, the first of its kind in Hackney.

Attendees enjoyed fresh scones with clotted cream and jam, followed by an array of delicious sandwiches, some stunning-looking and tasty cakes plus of course an endless supply of tea.

There was fun and games and even a free raffle.

The event was held in a beautifully decorated church hall at the corner of Cricketfield Road, E5.

It was hosted by a recently formed self-help group called “Life Zone” and raised more than £700 for the Macmillan Coffee Morning appeal. If you would like to make contact with Life Zone, you can call 07554 613105 for further details. Life Zone is supported and backed by Macmillan, and this event is just the start of many more fund raising events for this very worthy cause.