Hackney residents “reclaim the streets” at tea party

Hackney residents “reclaimed the streets” with a community tea party one week to the day that the same road was under siege from looters and thugs.

Clarence Road saw the worst of the violence during the riots last Monday, and the street still bears the scars – boarded up shops and fire damage – but on Monday evening crowds were gathering to enjoy tea and cake.

The event was planned by Rev Rob Wickham, Rector of St John at Hackney, and Cllr Ian Rathbone.

Hackney Council closed the road for the occasion, while Marks and Spencer provided enough tea and cake for 400 people.

Many residents baked their own recipes too, and trestle tables laden with cakes, biscuits and chocolate rolls lined the pavements where just seven days earlier broken glass and raging fires had dominated the landscape.


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Guests were invited to reflect on how Hackney should move forward by writing their views on a post-it notes and sticking them up on a display board.

Rev Wickham said: “Residents suggested the idea of a street party get together and I think some of us also see it as a reclaiming of the street for all parts of the community to move about freely.”

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Guest Elaine King, 40, has lived in Hackney all her life and told the Gazette: “I think it’s really good – it’s like a healing process for the community and it’s bringing back peace and hope. This is how it should be.

“The riots brought so much fear, but this has brought people back out here. It takes courage to come down here after what happened.”

Another resident, 31-year-old Nancy Molyneux, of Dalston, felt compelled to bake her “famous” chocolate and raspberry torte.

“I enjoy baking for my friends and family and this is like a symbolic way of showing my friendship,” she said.

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, said the party showed the “real spirit of Hackney”, and added: “I now ask that the media leave us alone to get on and do what we do best and to sort out our own affairs.”

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