Tributes paid to Hackney author who published book aged 92

Lena Barden

Lena Barden - Credit: Archant

Tributes paid Lena Barden who “touched everyone’s life for the better” and published a book about seven decades spent living in Hackney.

Lena Barden

Lena Barden - Credit: Archant

The Chronicles of Lena Barden, 92 Years of Memories, which was published three years ago, describes Mrs Barden’s childhood living above her parents’ fruit shop in Bethnal Green Road, the Second World War and her marriage in 1937 to a prominent businessman, Jack Barden, who owned a chain of electrical shops.

Mrs Barden moved into her mother-in-law’s house in Navarino Road, Dalston, in 1940 after the war broke out and lived there ever since until her death on May 21.

She initially penned the book for her grandchildren, but was persuaded by her partner, Joe Kittinger, to get the book published.

His friend Michael Gordon who edited the book was impressed with Lena’s tremendous power of recollection and the historical social commentary the book made.

“The thing that’s absolutely stunning is the detail,” he said at the time.

“From a fruiterer’s daughter, she progressed very rapidly to the higher echelons of Hackney society. Talk about living a complete and full life.”

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Profits made from the book went towards charity, as did annual garden parties held at her home.

Cllr Linda Kelly said: “Lena was a great lady with a kind heart, whose life was spent doing things for others and the community of Hackney, with love and commitment, without wish for kudos or publicity.

“Lena will be missed for a very long time, as she touched everyone’s life for the better.”

Her son Ronald Barden added: “Early photos show a beautiful young lady who retained her good looks throughout her life. “Her smile, charisma and caring nature were appreciated by all who were lucky enough to have met her.”

Mrs Barden left behind two children, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.