Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Architect Gordon Shrigley examines how a floating church moored in Hackney Wick could rock the boat in attracting a wider community to step on deck and join the congregation.

A crowdfunder to create a new statue of Mary Wollstonecraft was launched just days after her monument was unveiled on Newington Green.

A new statue dedicated to the mother of feminism on Newington Green has split public opinion, with residents both pleased by the attention it has brought to the area and concerned it “doesn’t further a feminist agenda”.

A founder of the group which commissioned the statue for Mary Wollstonecraft on Newington Green has defended the controversial choice.

Students commemorated Remembrance Day in Hackney by selling poppies outside their school gate.

A sculpture celebrating a feminist pioneer is set to be premiered on Newington Green after a decade-long campaign.

Hundreds of history-lovers got to enjoy Hackney’s heritage at an online archive event.

Plans for a Shoreditch visitor centre exhibiting the excavated remains of one of London’s longest-running Elizabethan theatres have been given the green light.

A fourth protest demanding the removal of a slave trader’s statue is set to take place outside a Hackney museum tonight.

The £4m project to improve Springfield Park should be complete by February.

Protesters trying stop a big mechanical digger churning up the historical Arnold Circus won a “people’s victory” temporary reprieve after contractors failed to turn up to start work on Monday.

Protesters are out yet again this morning to try and stop a big mechanical digger churning up the heritage Arnold Circus.

Members of the public trying to save the historic Arnold Circus being churned up came face-to-face in a confrontation today with a council road gang digging up the paving.

A historical building in Hackney has been saved from imminent disrepair by a renovation project.

In the gentle quiet of St Mary’s churchyard, behind Stoke Newington Church Street, stands a half-hidden tomb covered in leaves with the simply-carved name James Stephen barely visible.

A Homerton Cinema is celebrating Black History Month by screening films showcasing Black film-makers and stories.

Abney Park’s civilian war memorial has been given a professional clean ahead of the 80th anniversary of the Coronation Avenue bombing next week.

Walking routes charting Hackney’s African and Caribbean cultures through the ages will be published as part of the borough’s Black History Season.

A Shoreditch cab driver embarked on an international road trip to learn more about World War Two.

Residents are angry over updated plans for the redevelopment of a 116-year-old Haggerston landmark.

The “spirit of Hackney Carnival” will be celebrated online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Documents released by the Museum of the Home (MotH) have revealed the governmental pressure it came under to retain the statue of slave trader Sir Robert Geffrye.

The bells of Hackney churches will ring out to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory Over Japan Day (VJ Day).

Protesters gathered outside a Hoxton museum after calls to remove a slave trader statue from its entrance were “ignored.”

A new exhibition from Islington Museum celebrates two centuries of the Regent’s Canal.

Trustees at the Museum of the Home have opted to leave up a statue of the slave trader Robert Geffrye, despite most respondents to a consultation saying they would rather see it taken down.

A storytelling event gave Hackney writers and poets a chance to share their experiences of migration and pay tribute to the Windrush generation last month.

A writing project is underway bringing together stories from Hackney Caribbean migrants of all ages to share at an online Windrush event.

Hackney Council is set to reveal the winner of a major new artwork which will be be commissioned for the Town Hall Square on Monday, in the highlight of its annual Windrush festival.

Communal meditations were held in London Field’s in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement on June 4-7.

Monuments, names and memorials around north London have come under intense scrutiny as the Black Lives Matter movement gains momentum.

A statue of a slave trader in Hackney is now specifically under review.

Local photographers are putting together a photobook capturing life, radicalism and activism in Hackney during the 80s.

Back on May 8 in 1945, peace street parties celebrating victory in Hackney we’re in full swing and set to carry on for weeks.

Before saving Shoreditch’s Mildmay Hospital and setting it up as the world’s first AIDS hospice in the 1980s Helen Taylor Thompson helped save countless lives by sending coded messages to secret agents during the second world war.

The nation has been invited to toast the heroes of the Second World War as the country marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

I’ll be publishing daily updates from my north London flat, as the country adapts to a health crisis and a culture of “social distancing”.

A Hackney non-religious church raised almost £20,000 to help it survive the Covid-19 lockdown after appealing for donations at a virtual Sunday Gathering.

Angry members of the public are taking legal action over the closure of Victoria Park during the pandemic which they claim is unlawful.

One visitor described Hackney Council’s second laundrette as a “housewife’s Godsend”, this week 30 years ago when it opened on the Trelawney Estate, this week 60 years ago.

The Gazette reported how an army medic married a police typist he met while he was based in Hackney during a five-month ambulance strike, this week 30 years ago.

Under threat of closure, Mildmay Hospital will now be used to treat homeless patients recovering from Coronavirus and people with HIV/AIDS. The Shoreditch hospital’s staff are ready to help in the national effort, like the doctors and nurses of Mildmay before them, who cared for the sick and dying during epidemics that swept through east London and shook the world.

An east London hospital faced with closure will help care for homeless people recovering from coronavirus – as well as those with acute HIV-related conditions

The Duke of Edinburgh joined an East End CID force when they rushed to investigate a smash-and-grab.

In a U-turn Hackney Council decided to scrap its £80m plan to build offices for 2,500 staff on land behind the town hall. Instead it was going ahead with a much smaller £31m development to house just 600 staff.

An “all-out” campaign to boycott South African goods because of apartheid was planned in four Hackney market areas, this week 60 years ago.

Photographer Alan Denney came across pictures of his wife when he went through 12,000 slides found in the Rio three years ago. Now he’s restored them, people who lived in Hackney in the 80s are being invited to have a peek, to see what memories they inspire ahead of an exhibition at Hackney Museum in May.

An exotic parrot at death’s door was nursed back to health by a mongrel dog who had been left to die in a rubbish bin, this week 30 years ago.

This week 60 years ago employees of the John Player & Sons’ cigarette factory in Shoreditch were shocked to find it would be closing – meaning 160 workers would lose their jobs.

This week 30 years ago the community charge or poll tax introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s conservative government was set to cost each resident £499.

A house in Hackney Central where dozens of nannies from South Asia sought refuge after being abandoned by the families who brought them over to the UK could soon be commemorated with a blue plaque. Emma Bartholomew finds out more.

Author Carolyn Clark tells Emma Bartholomew how The East End Canal Tales draws on 50 people’s memories to tell of intriguing, moving and often surprising stories of life and work on the Regent’s and Hertford Union Canals over 200 years.

Angry education chiefs and teachers hit out at claims that Hackney’s secondary school kids weren’t getting a decent education, this week 30 years ago.

A Dalston newsagent was accused of stealing three million cigarettes off a lorry, this week 60 years ago.

Special police arrangements were put in force at Old Street Magistrates’ Court 60 years ago.

Police launched an investigation after failing to find a missing man’s body in Clapton Common pond.

Bombed-out houses, kids playing in the streets, and factories abuzz with workers.

Tens of thousands of pounds had been paid out to officers who no longer worked at Hackney Council, the Gazette reported this week 30 years ago.

The mother of a runaway Gretna Green bride appealed to her daughter to return home, this week 60 years ago.

The boom in post-war housing is often associated with the Clement Attlee government after the Second World War. Today, however, historian Dr Michael Passmore tells Emma Bartholomew about the post-war social housing built in Hackney after the First World War, and the beginnings of council housing.

Two men arrested in the maternity department at Hackney Hospital appeared at North London Magistrate’s Court accused of forging a War Department Internal Security MI5 card, with intent to deceive this week 60 years ago.

A patient lay dead for three weeks in the grounds of Hackney Hospital, despite intensive searches by nursing and security staff, this week 30 years ago.

Hackney residents came together on Holocaust Memorial Day to remember and pay tribute to the millions of victims of genocide around the world and to honour all those who have survived the atrocities of war and conflict.

Hackney police station in Lower Clapton Road was the first police station in the country to be fitted out with sophisticated, hi-tech sound-proofed interview rooms,” the Gazette reported this week 30 years ago.

Police held back crowds lining the pavement in Stamford Hill at the launch of Britain’s first ever American style bowling centre, this week 60 years ago.

A baby weighing 11lb was born at Homerton Hospital, the Gazette reported this week 60 years ago.

A ferocious fighting dog savaged a volunteer police woman, the Gazette reported this week 30 years ago.

A Clapton nurse who moved to Hackney from Jamaica in the 1950s has died aged 101.

This year we mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day and to celebrate we would like to share readers’ memories.

The Town Hall is hosting a ceremony to remember victims of the Holocaust on International Holocaust Memorial Day.

The New River is neither new, nor a river. Built when Shakespeare was alive, the aqueduct is Thames Water’s oldest man-made asset, pre-dating some of London’s more famous historic sites like Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral by decades.

Ethiopians, Eritreans and Rastafarians came together with friends, family and guests on January 7 to celebrate an Ethiopian Christmas in Hackney.

Abney Park’s 19th century Gothic mortuary, where radicals, anti-slavery campaigners and dissenters are buried, will be brought back into use thanks to £4.4m in grants.

A Barclays bank manager thought a former employee was playing a practical joke on him this week 60 years ago, when he answered the door and was confronted by a man with a handkerchief over his face pointing a pistol at him.

The Gazette reported how a mum-to-be gave birth in the back of a police car, this week 30 years ago.

An old horse trough in Hoxton has been given Grade II listed status after one man spent two years investigating the origins a cryptic dedication carved into the stone.

The remains of a Shakespearean theatre in Shoreditch has been named one of the top ten archaeological discoveries of the decade by the government advisory group Historic England.

After 150 years of selling sundry goods on Commercial Street to market vendors and stores all over London - Gardners - one of the oldest family-run shops in the east end will close this month.

A clown and contortionist made his fortune travelling the world before settling down in Dalston as a pub landlord. Emma Bartholomew speaks to his great great grandaughter and an amateur genealogist fascinated by his story.

A candle-light vigil following the anti-Semitic daubings on a synagogue in north London on the last night of the Jewish Chanukah ‘festival of light’ drew parallels with the 1936 Battle of Cable Street which stopped Mosley’s Blackshirts marching through Whitechapel.

Campaigners have launched a second petition in a bid to challenge a developer’s plans to build flats inside another Victorian historic gasholder.

Syd’s coffee stall will be donated to the Museum of London’s collection when it closes for business for the last time tomorrow, after over 100 years of trading.

The Geffrye Museum of the Home is going to be called the Museum of the Home when it opens next summer following its £18.1m redevelopment.

The first trial for LSD manufacture was held 50 years ago, after a small pharmacy in New North Road was raided by the police. Christy Lawrance, the former editor of the Journal of the Islington Archaeology and History Society, follows the case

Emma Bartholomew finds out more about the Loddiges family whose botanical gardens in Hackney rivalled Kew’s in the 1800s, when their greenhouse was the world’s biggest – and whose last living vestiges may be the town hall’s palm trees

Hackney author, poet and story teller Sandra A. Agard, released her first non-fiction book this month.

Despite 3,000 miles of land and sea between them, two hospitals - one in Hackney and the other in the Israeli port city of Haifa – have been connected for decades through work exchanges.

Proposals to set up an annexe to Covent Garden Market at the junction of Old Street with City Road were branded “complete madness”.

Bishop of Stepney Rev Jim Thompson had accused Hackney businessman David Benyacott’s step-by-step guide to the occult as “evil”. He warned of the dangers of dabbling in the occult and said Mr Benyacott was not a witch but a magician.

It’s 500 years since the priest, courtier and diplomat Christopher Urswick financed the re-building Hackney’s old church. Emma Bartholomew finds out more about the man believed to have come up with the red rose symbol in the War of the Roses.

In the summer just past I spent some quiet days on islands in the middle of the North Atlantic. It was there that after a gap of sixty nine years I started to reflect on my childhood days in Shoreditch.

You wouldn’t know it walking past today, but in the early 1980s 225 Seven Sisters Road was the centre of the UK’s emerging Black-Art scene.

A Kingsland Road church is being evicted by the Diocese of London after 39 years due to a “lack of investment” – but they say they have spent thousands renovating the historic building.

Toni Blake has donated memorabilia to the Bishopsgate Institute about a gay self-defence class that launched in Dalston in the 1980s. She tells Emma Bartholomew how being attacked while walking home one night gave her the idea to launch the sessions

A new-look Narrow Way was unveiled this week 30 years ago – but worried parents dubbed it a “Brands Hatch-style death trap”.

In the days before breathalysers, the Gazette devoted several inches of column space to the not-very-scientific way in which a doctor who was accused of drink driving was assessed.

A cultural historian who led the Windrush Day campaign is bringing back his 100 Great Black Britons project after declaring it “more relevant than ever”.

To mark Black History Month, Hackney Museum has launched a new showcase, Hackney’s Got Style!, to highlight the impact of black fashion and hair styles in the UK. The Gazette booked an appointment with the curators to find out more.

Many towpath users will enjoy seeing the two Regent’s Canal gasholders that form an iconic view from London Fields. But not many will know their days could be numbered. Emma Bartholomew finds out why local historian Tom Ridge is calling for their preservation

Open Doors Baptist Church celebrated 150 years of music, activism and worship at the weekend.

An early Victorian pub in Queensbridge Road is again being threatened with demolition, despite its salvation by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) two years ago.

Irene Sinclair celebrated her 111th birthday this week - and might now be one of the UK’s 10 oldest residents.

Some 75 years have passed since the V2 bombings began the ‘mini Blitz’ in September 1944. Kim Willis interviews her great aunt Kathleen Bateman, who was a nurse at the Mothers’, about her memories from the time, and the bombs that prompted her evacuation from the maternity hospital

Tamara Stoll has filled a 250-page photo book with the stories of Ridley Road’s traders – some of whom are descended from generations of stallholders. But she needs Hackney’s help to get it into print. She speaks to Holly Chant

The iconic St Mary’s Lodge in Stoke Newington will finally be redeveloped 14 years after being gutted in a fire.

A Stoke Newington historian who became fascinated by the vintage street signs for the old metropolitan borough has carried out a survey to document them all.

The Pitcairn Islands might well be the most remote country on earth to issue its own stamps – and one features St Augustine’s Tower. Emma Bartholomew finds out how John Adams – who the capital Adamstown is named after – moved from Hackney to the South Pacific after taking part in the Mutiny on the Bounty

A war memorial at Stoke Newington’s only Grade I listed church has undergone much-needed repairs thanks to a £3,000 grant.

It’s 50 years since the Peter Bedford Housing Association was founded off the back of a project set up by a Pentonville Prison officer to boost ex-offenders’ self-worth. Emma Bartholomew speaks to an original tenant who remembers the pioneering, supportive communities established as a result

Chris Garnsworthy has amassed loads of information about Hackney’s community library service since beginning his research – except the name of the woman whose benevolent wartime actions inspired the whole thing.

Pupils dressed up in 1940s style on Friday to celebrate Benthal Primary School’s 70th anniversary. Emma Bartholomew looks back at the history of the school that Hackney Council threatened to knock down in the 1970s and again in the last decade

The campaigner who wrote a book detailing the history of Finsbury Park is to update it to mark its 150th birthday.

Antoinetta Saviano was surprised on her wedding day when a horse-drawn carriage turned up to take her to church instead of a Rolls Royce, the Gazette reported this week 30 years ago.

Poems and stories about African women’s experiences during the First World War are detailed in an anthology that’s just been published – but the writers had to use their imaginations to pen the tales due to the dearth of historic material.

Hackney’s Caribbean Elderly Organisation stole the show at a tea party celebrating the Windrush generation at Stoke Newington town hall on Saturday.

​Emma Bartholomew finds out about a radical 18th century chapel and the people who worshipped there – who are now buried in a secretive graveyard with no way in or out (except to jump over the fence like we did)

Ken Worpole tells Emma Bartholomew about meeting Alexander Baron - a Stoke Newington novelist who’s gone under the radar - but whose book about the D-Day landings is being republished by the Imperial War Museum this autumn

A campaign has been started to raise the cash for what might be the world’s first hand-cracked rolling footbridge planned for a disused dock on the River Lea.

Concerns were raised that staff shortages at a hostel run by Hackney Council were risking the lives of the mentally and physically disabled people who lived there.

A bakery firm was fined for selling a loaf of bread containing a “dismembered” cockroach, this week 60 years ago.

Hackney bus conductor, family man and pillar of the Afro-Caribbean community James Augustus Boston has died at 91.

A woman has been ordered to tear down a pricey bike shed she had built in her front garden – or face prosecution.

TV historian Dan Cruikshank is spearheading a campaign to stop an historic 18th century Huguenot silkworker’s house in Shoreditch being bulldozed to make way for a luxury block of flats.

More than 500 members of the Turkish community came together on Newington Green on Sunday to commemorate 100 years since the start of the war of independence.

Floating islands are literally being launched on the Regent’s Canal to help east London’s wildlife flourish.

A ‘touchy feely’ sensory mural has been unveiled in Shoreditch for the deaf and blind close to the site where Shakespeare’s original Curtain Playhouse was discovered.

At a time when posters were the best way of sharing ideas but printing was pricey, a workshop in Lenthall helped ordinary people with campaigns from Gay Liberation to anti-racism and feminism. Emma Bartholomew finds out more

This may seem like just a cheap plastic comb that you can pick up in any local corner shop—but it has a history that has impacted around the world for two centuries.

Playwright and community activist Ray Barron Woolford is on a mission to bring Kath Duncan – who he argues is the most important civil rights activist in the UK in the past 100 years – out of the shadows. He tells Emma Bartholomew why.

​Richard Gee tells Emma Bartholomew about a campaign in the 1980s to persuade politicians and bureaucrats to re-open a train line that had been closed to passengers for 35 years – and which most people had forgotten about.

When the Gazette caught up with Bob Cooke 10 years ago, he vowed his family would keep the pie and mash shop that’s been in his family for four generations going as there would ‘always be a little niche’ for the East End tradition. Next week it’s closing down. Emma Bartholomew finds out why.

The developers behind the multi-million-pound renovation of Haggerston Baths have vowed to “celebrate the original features of the building”.

A flick knife was flashed at the monthly meeting of Stoke Newington Borough Council, the Gazette reported this week 60 years ago.

“Male chauvinist pigs are to be rooted out of libraries, leisure centres and swimming pools,” declared the Gazette this week 30 years ago.

Frederick Wirth left a huge photo archive when he died 40 years ago – much of it depicting a very different Stoke Newington from the one we know today. His son John tells Emma Bartholomew what he found when he delved into his fascinating family history

A “prostitute plague” was gripping Stamford Hill, reported the Gazette with something less than sensitivity.

Leaked plans dreamed up by the London County Council Parks Committee to set up groups of three 27 inch television sets in six parks over the summer was ridiculed by the Gazette, this week 60 years ago. 
“This was a foolish fancy from the start, and the wonder of it is that a committee of sober-minded councillors could have entertained the idea even for a moment,” the paper commented.

Emma Bartholomew hears how Syd’s coffee stall was deemed so important during World War Two that a top-secret RAF mission was disrupted to bring Syd back to Hackney to run it. His daughter looks back as they celebrate 100 years of trading

​Hackney’s disinfecting station was opened to deal with infestations and deadly infectious diseases before antibiotics, vaccines and the NHS came on the scene. Emma Bartholomew finds more about the gas chambers where bed bugs, lice and fleas were zapped

More than a century after the stars of music hall graced its stage, the Rosemary Branch Tavern on the Regent’s Canal is bringing it back for two special nights.

Sue Selfe is behind a campaign to put a blue plaque where Anthony Newley grew up in Stamford Hill, to mark 20 years since his death. She tells Emma Bartholomew about their love affair and life-long friendship.

Three years ago, staff at The Rio were sifting through various trinkets, paperwork and memorabilia from the cinema’s past when they found something extraordinary.

Customs officers swooped on a cellar in Stamford Hill where they found a watch maker surrounded by illegally imported watches worth £20,000.

“The guy who turned down the Thompson Twins”, Alan Rossiter tells Emma Bartholomew about when the Muppets came to Chats Palace and how the arts venue which grew out of Homerton Library “changed people’s lives”

To this day, Martello Street Studios remains a campus for some of the most exciting voices in contemporary art. Emma Bartholomew looks back to its radical roots in the ’70s, when some of its tenants were dubbed ‘wreckers of civilisation’

This is the inventor responsible for producing a chemical process at Hackney Wick that probably led to plastic pollution on the Thames and around the world 200 years later.

Some of the Krays’ former gangland henchmen are planning a ‘meet’ in the East End to help east London’s former Page 3 model Maureen Flanagan raise money for cancer care.

In 1873 the Gazette reported that a group of freed slaves from Tennessee were coming to sing in Hackney on a tour to raise money for their university. Nearly 150 years on the story how they became beacons of the civil rights movement is being told at a stone’s throw away from where they sung. Emma Bartholomew reports.

Alan Gartrell tells Emma Bartholomew about the missionaries buried in Abney Park who went to all corners of the world

“It is intolerable that children who have done wrong should be kept waiting for their punishment,” the chairman of East London Juvenile Court stated this week 60 years ago.

An escaped snake wiped the smile off the painted faces of the 120 clowns gathered for the annual church service in honour of Joseph Grimaldi.

Hasidic teenagers in Stamford Hill learned ‘not to take their lives for granted’ through a heritage project focusing on the pioneers who founded businesses and community groups in the area back in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Emma Bartholomew finds out more

Hackney’s figurehead mayor Medlin Lewis had to axe nine social engagements because of an overtime row involving her two chauffeurs.

A group of friends were told by their old school they couldn’t plant a memorial to their favouirte teacher – because no one there knows who she is.

The name Tilley has become synonymous with portable kerosene storm lanterns worldwide, in much the same way that Hoover is used for vacuum cleaners. The great granddaughter of their inventor, Frederick Tilley, tells Emma Bartholomew about her family history – and how it all started in Hackney

The large archway, Edwardian-Baroque facade and distinctive bullseye windows make 44-45 Newington Green one of the square’s most recognisable buildings.

On what would have been David Bowie’s 72nd birthday, we look back at his legendary performances as alter-ego Ziggy Stardust at the Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, in 1972.

Over 2,600 local primary school children have Hackney Museum since October, taking part in interactive workshops to explore the borough’s African and Caribbean heritage.

Red post boxes can be seen all around London and the rest of the UK.

Three libraries, two holiday homes for old folk and the Hackney Museum were all facing the axe in the New Year this week 30 years ago.

A board game designed by former Labour councillor Patrick Vernon is being marketed worldwide by an educational games company based in Hoxton.

Brian Belton tells Emma Bartholomew about the characters you’d find at Clapton Dog Track – where Joe Coral, a former bookkeeper there, had founded his betting empire – before it closed 45 years ago on New Year’s Day.

A genealogist was astounded to discover letters sent home from the First World War trenches by her great uncle describing the unofficial Christmas Day truce – which she had thought was the stuff of legend.

A team of festive ghostbusters swooped on Hackney’s oldest building for a spooky exorcism.

Stonebridge Gardens - now known locally in Haggerston as the “snake park” - was officially opened by the London County Council this week 60 years ago.

An estate agent was shot dead in his own office in Stoke Newington - and 30 years on his murder remains unsolved.

Fresh plans to redevelop the dilapidated Stoke Newington mansion St Mary’s Lodge are to be displayed this weekend so the public can have their say on them.

Gino Marchese stood in the doorway of his Stoke Newington barber shop, admiring the view. “Still swinging London,” he said.

The man who saved Clissold Park 130 years ago has been honoured with a plaque thanks to the Stoke Newington historian who unearthed the dramatic details of his campaign.

Stoke Newington’s Labour Cllr Hugh Brock expressed concerns that Strontium 90 - a by-product of H Bomb explosions - could cause bone cancer and leukaemia.

Dalston art therapy charity Studio Upstairs empowers some of the most vulnerable in our society through making art. Co-founder Claire Manson tells Emma Bartholomew about its origins 30 years ago and how she’s thrilled it still exists.


Let’s get physical! One of the dangers of lockdown is to be lulled into laziness, watching too many box sets, and eating and drinking too much, but there is no excuse to not start exercising to get fit and stay healthy.

UK Government Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced extra measures to support workers and businesses throughout winter, including a furlough scheme extension paying 80 per cent of staff wages.

The way the UK does business with Europe changes from January 1, heralding a new start. All companies that trade with the EU need to act now to make sure they are set to go.

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