Community art yawn

I had my usual cynicism about how a borough blessed and financed art thingumygig down the road could be. Especialy since the email to join didn’t work and no reminder was sent out. A tweet was the heads up. I dressed for the sun then dashed out just as the rain went into half time Afterwards i wanted to go buy sprats in Forest Gate but the rain was too much and my back was cold with spiteful sky tears.

The art was good.

Amongst the eighteen women participants were a cleaner and a dinner- lady.

Finally some working class salt of the earth taking part.

Patchwork in Lockdowns.

Finished my last lockdown RAGWORKS quilt today; a double bed sized one full of religion for someone’s June birthday. I’m creaming my hand-sewing hands to rid my fingers of hard punctured skin and nurturing my skin renewal. Creating with textiles during isolation was uplifting what with all the colours and textures and cutting squares with big sharp scissors. I made a dozen quilts using refreshed donated cloth even school uniform tartan and London Ambulance gear with its badges. I doubled up thin leopard pattern scarves and threw away nothing of beauty.

In my wardrobe I have a soft baby quilt but because of Covid restrictions I can’t yet gift it to the new parents. Often I recycle my art wall-hangings by deconstructing the work to re-use the material especially since the lockdowns reduced my donations from locals.

I recently took part in three community stitching projects. The deadline came and true to form the facilitators dropped the participants as soon as the project was over. Talk about not sustaining conversations. Always happens but I still commit to doing community projects by Zoom these days because I’m alive and need to show it.

I have had a RAGWORKS exhibition up since the start of the first UK lockdown in March 2020. Noone sees it except pupils doing maths through PE in the school hall/ dining room. It’s called “People of Colour” and preceded the “Black Lives Matter” movement So relevant but so tucked away.

Onwards and upwards and maybe some street parties on June 21st.

EastBank Seniors

Today is the launch of EastBank Seniors as in the first walkabout and during Covid restrictions so only six septuagenarians were signed up. Noone had to confirm their going because anything can happen. All were reminded to mask up and stay apart.

it’s an open- air chum-along to West Ham Cemetery in Cemetery Road E7 and the place is beautiful right now with lush grass and Spring in leaf. There are trees for shelter, benches galore and sparklingly clean toilets. The adventurers are all armed with my desk-top research notes with a list of celebrated graves and a description of Gurney handing over wasteland so that the West Ham Burial Board could go ahead with burial plans.

Onwards and upwards. The outing repeats on the UN Day of Remembrance for victims of chemical warfare and in May at Eid.

Today we celebrate in a cemetery Earth Day and mark the racist-fired murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Tomorrow is Union Jack St George’s Day and our ninety-five year old widowed queen is in mourning. India is devastated.

Chaucer was right about April pushing us along.

Right here, right now.

Good to be here writing. Just watched The Chase having sewn tons today making a quilt and then serviettes for the Christmas table. Went to extra Yoga with Jessica Green which I’ve attended since before May and after March 23rd. Seems years away. Watched some PBS documentaries and did some eBay shopping.

Hackney Circle joined with MakeTown to offer its members free weaving sessions online at GoogleMeet not familiar Zoom. We received at socially distanced front doors our weaving kits for free. Two sessions and by the second one we were a group of three from maybe ten before: I hardly looked up as I wove. I know for a fact seniors could not access Google flipping Meet. Saw their names. Some from Up Your Street. But the weaving and needling was good. Another workshop is in the pipeline IF you fill out the evaluation form…… online. What might it be?

Leila Jancovich at Leeds Metro Uni has published her findings from community hub leaders and art architects about the pushed mantra that arts and crafts create senses of well-being amongst the clients. Responses to questionnaires about the value of arts in the community to both clients and managers are usually summed up in the word “brilliant” which is a word with scales or levels. The value of that word has to be scrutinised. Funding relies on words and examples. Brilliant cannot do it. For example I think it’s brilliant if we get free tuition and a free cuppa in a nice venue. That’s hardly an advert for art in the community and a case for arts funding. After Covid when arts money is all gone we’ll thrash out part two of Jancovich’s thesis.

Art-wise I produced an original for Rosetta’s secret postcard sale mid December and a bunting flag for feminist Craftivism post Covid and a mental health charity aligned witch spoon project in Hebden Bridge. I have two RAGWORKS exhibitions up since I can’t remember and to which no one has access. My Christmas decorations and tree are up and I’ve hidden sugary goodies. My doors are open and shut on my Ferrer advent calendar. Yummy.

Zoom time with Rachel Mulligan. Ely stained glass windows. Keeping up a pecker.ūü§£

Enthusiasm on day whatever of Lockdown

Got to share my enthusiasm: joined a Zoom and they chatted about calligraphy* and one woman showed us vellum** parchments she got off Ebay to help her with a previous calligraphy course she did. I thought I’d look at Ebay and bought a vellum advertised to show Stoke Newington history. Fiver.

Well…. I Googled the names. It was for 1910. It was Thomas A. De la rue of London, the grandson of Thomas de la Rue of Guernsey who invented the printing of bank notes, playing cards and postage stamps and on the document he was renting a shop in Stoke Newington High Street at no.199 right by Abney Park Cemetery and Yum Yum where Hyacinth loves to host her meet-ups.

Our Thomas A carried on his grandfather’s firm. His dad was very famous. Warren De la rue.
The firm is still the best government printers and worth millions. They could buy the vellum off meūüėā
He died in 1911.
Stoke Newington was developing from posh country Hackney to factory urbanity.

The woman who owned 199 Stoke Newington High Street in Hackney was Sarah Annie Pell, wife of Charles Pell both of Hastings. I had just scanned the document picking up a woman’s name and the words lessee and lessee and stupidly assumed the man was the lesser. The woman is described as the wife of Charles Pell just to remind us a man was in the picture or dead but still named. The woman was renting to a sixty year old rich guy. He died soon after.

199 Stokey is under builders’ wraps and scaffolds as revealed at Gooogle Maps.

Baronet Thomas A. De La Rue is often spelt Delarue as on my document so that threw me.

The history of that rich family is gripping. They are linked to sheep-stealing convict ancestors in Australia. Ain’t we all?

And then some. Old granddaddy De La Rue married a second wife after Jane Warren she being a young Swedish woman named Mary Eckers and that caused some grief in the stocks and shares.

I then went back to Ebay with Googly eyes and a spinning head and found by chance a postcard showing Crouch Hill North London my manor of yore. Turned it over virtually and it was addressed to someone De la Rue Guernsey. Witchy. Two quid and it’s on its way to me.

Loads of De La rue playing cards at Ebay. Some dirty old packets and some single queens selling for two pounds too.

Back again

It’s been months and I even forgot my password for this device. Been a busy ole Covid what with primary research, You Tube, Zooming, courses, reading on devices and with hardbacks and dear RAGWORKS creating and exhibiting where no one goes. Listening to BBC Radio 3 going over backwards with any African name for #BLM. Corrie for one hour tonight and Gogglebox.

An academic commended The Osier Project and Shanghati Literary Project accepted me onto their “Power¬†of Folk-Tales” and I have a poem published in a University anthology up there with the big guns. Keeps me away from the bread rations.

And in other news there’s a nasty strain of Covid 19 getting into older people’s systems. Well, ’tis the season of the witch.

The Osier Project.

20200611_135822preview (5)The start.

Dames Road Forest Gate. If I ever took the 58 bus from Markhouse Road to Green Street I’d wonder at the word “Dames”. Where Richard Dames lived is now Anna Neagle Close so they say. It’s a probable local history. Charles Richard Dames (1793-1862) was a sugar refiner and very wealthy. A sugar refiner and a landowner with properties in Forest Gate and Whitechapel. He had a freehold estate used for his sugar refinery in Lambeth Street, Whitechapel where he had cooperages and a steam sugar-house. stables and a pub called The Crown or Tne White Hart (The London Gazette 11th May 1877) Notice The London Gazette notice fifteen years after Dames died.


Research showed that the Dames family lived in Chingford and Forest Rise at Whipps Cross besides Forest House (Dames Road) in what was called West Ham.

Charles Dames was a millionaire wben he died leaving the wealth to his three sons and his daughter.

Slavery in Britain as in trading in slaves ended legally in 1833. Sugar and tobacco were coming into London ports. Sugar was white gold. In 1768 there were steam-powered sugar mills in Jamaica.

A sugar-boiler lived on Odessa Road in the late 1800s.



William Colegrave. He bought Cann Hall Manor just off from Dames Road and on a  clear route to Wanstead in 1671 and died in 1721 when he was buried with his wife and sons in St Sepulchre London.

Colegrave was a merchant (likely of wool) living in Ellingham, Norfolk, renting out Cann Hall to tenants so he was an absent landlord and we speculated why he would want Cann Hall area, farm and all. Buxton School is built on a site adjacent to Cann Hall Farm. We can visualise that carts could traverse the tracks across fields and  by other farms down by Dagenham Brook and reach Lea Bridge area. Author Claire Weiss advises us that those living nearer West Ham, Essex used the crossing of the River Lea at Bow whilst Lea Bridge Road area had its own history regarding getting traffic across the Lea.

Colegrave and Manby were related* . A Manby is recorded in Stratford Essex. There was definitely a Colegrave -Manby relatonship in 1840 and a Manby dynasty owned Denver Hall in Norfolk. A Thomas Manby-Colegrave was referenced in 1886. The Manby name goes back to Edward 1st’s reign.

A William Colegrave Esq. owned Downsell Hall in Essex hence Downsell Road in E10 where Cann Hall estate existed. * A Manby also at Downsell Hall married a Colegrave woman. An Edwàrd Manby-Colegrave had connection to slaving in Cuba. Slavery in Cuba was illegal by 1886. Details to follow. And dates.

Colegrave spent days in London at or near Lambeth Palace and that cultural venue was known as La Place.

(A John Manby in 1623 left the UK to go to Virginia.

A Richard Lee Manby was definitely a slaver.)

In his will William Colegrave of St Giles in the county of Middlesex said he wanted” to be buried¬† near his wife and where so many of his children and grandchildren lie”. Those sons he named as Henry, William and three (sic) daughters, Frances, wife of Edward Simpson; Mary Walmesley, and Barbara Mordaunt; also a neph√®w John Savery (1712-1721).

In conclusion, despite deep research we could not link that rich “merchant” with slaving and plantations.¬† We have in Leytonstone a Colegrave Road.

As a breather, here are roads we used as starting points to suspected slavers:-

Dames Road

Vansittart Road

Manby Grove

Blackhorse Road

Vansittart Road

Ingestre Road

Cobbold Road

Colegrave Road

Maynard Road

Barclay Road

Greville Road

Warwick Road

Brooke Road

Overton Drive

Markmanor Avenue

Dyers Hall Road


Back to the stories.

In 1623 Sir William Batten (1601-1667) had Black House. He was a Merchant Taylor in 1623 and a Freeman of Portsmouth by 1638. It is probable that Batten’s wife’s family owned Black House or even Greville.

Sir Thomas Cooke (1648-1709) in 1697 was a Lord of the Manor of Hackney. He was an associate at the East India Company and the governor of the Bank of England. He had estates in American as in plantations. He belonged to the Royal African Company (slavers).

In 1671 Colegrave had Cann Hall Manor.

1673 Josiah Child (1668-1704) inherited Wanstead House. He married Cooke’s daughter in 1691. Cooke had been knighted in 1690. The wedding was at St John At Hackney.¬† Child was 23 years old. His father had been director at the East India Company.¬† Cooke was many things.¬† It looks like a mercantile economic marriage except Child never continued in his father’s work.

In his lifetime,  Cooke as a Lord of Hackney Manor, had control of the goings-on down Lea Bridge Road.

Josiah Child had married the daughter of a slaver. When he died he was living in Hackney. His wife Elizabeth survived another thirty odd years after him in Hackney.

I moved from Burwell Road up to The Lanes in Forest¬† Gate. My house is from 1860 and has the scullery, narrow stairs and outside WC typical of old stock railway workers’ two-up¬† two-down dwellings built to line the new railway tracks in Victorian Britain. The house was built by John Cobbold and the Earl of Shrewsbury who stated in the deeds that no water closet should be built. Wasn’t me, gov. I had nearly bought a house in Cobbold Road Leytonstone and had researched the area at the time (2017).¬† I’d found the sites of Cobbold School and Cann Hall Lane School . I’d climbed to the roof of old Tom Hood School and seen on a ground level wall the stone wall plaque¬† commemorating the Wanstead Board of Education elementary Cobbold School 1901. Cobbold was on my radar.

John Cobbold and The Earl of Shrewsbury by name of John Talbot were members of Parliament and of the Conservative Land Society.  The Society bought up land next to the railway over Vansittart Road and built homes for the people moving out of Whitechapel and Hoxton in a bid to house rail workers and get party votes.

Vansittart was the first Chancellor of The Exchequer.¬† There’s Talbot Road, Ingestre, Bective¬† and many where further research will outline the political lives behind the celebrity names. Alton Towers comes into the colourful¬† background.

Cobbold was a pioneer in the creation of the local GOBLIN railway and further. He came from a line of Ipswich brewers now known as Tolly Cobbold which has since around 2005 been swallowed up by a bigger brewery.

There is great joining line between the Parliament groups in 1860 and the Royal African Company.  Any business with the Atlantic Slave Trade had been outlawed by the British government in 1833. Compensation was then paid to the plantation owners by the British government and the debt was finally paid off by British tax-payers in 2015.

Cobbold has no found personal link to slaving. He sat on committees where many had financial business in slavery.

Vansittart belonged to a company to decolonise and repatriate freed slaves. It was seen by some as a ploy that furthered the principles of slavery in that it assisted bereft slavers and was of no benefit to Africans. Liberia is now the name of that country for that intended de-colonisation. The British colonialists rather repatriated freed slaves to Sierra Leone.

Miscellaneous: Ingestre voted with the West India interest into the sugar duties 12th Sept. 1831.

Back  to Lea Bridge Road. Author Claire Weiss describes in her admirable and fascinating research about Blackmarsh and Lea Bridge Farm the silk dyers at the farm.

John Peck in 1739 had built four dwellings for widowed dyers of Bethnal Green. There is a Dyers Hall Road off Grove Green Road Leytonstone. It was in the 1700s part of a plant nursery approached from Leytonstone High Road.

John Peck was on the board of the Worshipful Company Dyers of London. Dyers worked with cloth merchants. ‘Merchant’ is a suspect word a bit like ‘trader’. He came from Ipswich.

Sir Robert Ladbroke (1713-1773), very much involved in the Hugeonot¬† circles,¬† married Peck’s granddaughter called Elizabeth Brown. Ladbroke was a banker and a distiller in Lombard Street and Lord Mayor of London. His and Elizabeth’s son called Robert, a banker, distiller and politician, married a Kingscote, a banker’s daughter, in Walthamstow Essex in 1769. Walthamstow! There wer√® estates of land inherited by every generation. The banking interest was taken in by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1841.

Definitely Peck’s granddaughter by marrying into a banker’s dynastical enterprise had married into the financiers of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Was Peck alive?


So far, not much money filtering down to the workers and peasants of the land by Lea¬† Bridge Road except in the form of presumably free board for the Dyers Hall Road widows’ refuge home. I would assume that the widows were of Hugeonot descent.


William Morris. Talking of Ladbrokes in Walthamstow.

William Morris ( 1834-1896)

Morris worked on copper plating. Copper comes from mines. He visited the Duke of Bedford’s mines to buy that copper. Now where did the Dukes of Bedford wealth originate? Touchy here because Morris is Waltham Forest’s darling after Hitchcock. Or before, depending on the season. The¬† extremely rich Russell family holders of the Duke of Bedford title since Henry v11 had amassed wealth from the Empire’s business trading in the Americas and the East. The Duke Morris dealt with collected¬† royalties paid by¬† the Cornish Devon copper-mines on his land in Tavistock which he owned. Now our socialist rich craftsman Morris must have smelt that wealth. Morris senior had shares in the mine and with five other investoŇēs owned it. The copper was shipped to the Americas. William Morris of wallpaper fame was a director of the company owning the copper mines. Nice and rich, he then became a socialist. You couldn’t make it up.

What did the poor of Walthamstow get from Morris? Servants’¬† jobs at The Water House.

That castle in “Downton Abbey” was the home of the Russell dynasty, the Dukes of Bedford. The current owner of their Highclere Castle which is indeed a manor house, Russell, has a a list of titles and it was his great grandfather who used his wealth or his wife’s to employ Carter to discover the tomb of Tutankhamun. That senior Russell died from a mosquito bite.

Sir Fisher Tench owned a plantation in Virginia, America. He was sub-governor of The Royal African Company. Strype follwed him around like a scribing shadow. Tench lived in tbe Leyton Great House. He had an ostentatious funeral all stage-managed at his death and his coffin is entombed at St Mary’s Church Leyton E 10 as in Essex of yore and that burial plot showcases an enormous head stone. Tench’s father Nathaniel was the first governor of the Bank of England. Sir Fisher was an MP, an associate of the East India Company, a baronet and the High Sheriff of Essex in 1711.

He converted his slaves to Christianity.

We needed to find out how his inherited and accumulated enormous wealth from being a City of London financier and having a say in many companies benefited  the population of rural Leyton. Still searching.

S for Slaver.


That Maynard legacy examined.

Henry Maynard.(-) Lord of The Manor of Walthamstow sold the land by St Mary’s Church Walthamstow which now houses a museum and before that a police station for ¬£6 in 1726 for it to be a workhouse for the parish poor. A Thomas King and his wife were the workhouse governors. The purpose was for the Vestry (church) committee of elders to be relieved of maintaining the paupers in the village. Paupers became inmates.

We did find that Sir Charles Maynard the second Viscount and the fifth baronet (1751-1824) did in 1820 repair the ferry crossing near Black House. It arose from the question about who funded parish workhouses. In Walthamstow, the church.

We looked into the upkeep of the infrastructure in Essex and by Blackmarsh Farm. In the C18th there was a Public Works Loan Scheme for the maintenance of bridges and public amenities such as wells, roads and bridges. The landowners as in Lords of tne Manors controlled the works on anything needing mended. The treasury through the Bank loaned money to the magnates  who were never held accountable for its whereabouts. Depositors feared that the Bank would collapse so they took out their money. Merchants who relied on the Bank for mortgages and else were being bankcrupted. The alternative which happened was to tax the population for parish repairs. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nicholas Vansittart, opposed the PWLB scheme 1779. (Estate Acts 1600-1830).


Francis Greville (1719-1773) Slaver 1771 Tobago. 1st Earl of Warwick. Lord Brooke then Earl Brooke. No connection to Leyton or Walthamstow. The road is named after another Francis Greville who was Lord Lieutenant of Essex and wealthy from his slaving ancestors. Q E D. ¬†We can find nothing to establish the Greville’s value to the osier gatherers down by Lea Bridge Farm.

All those rich landowners about but no paid work for the peasants. Scientifically speaking, we wòuld need to compare Walthamstow Essex with other Essex parishes. Remember this is a desk-top primary research project as an eye-opener for seniors based in Leyton. It is a motivation to use digitally registered information and current technology.

We  thank Claire Weiss of Leyton, Bill Bayliss, Leyton and Leytonstone Historical Society, E7 Now and Then, Wikipaedia, History Matters at Sheffield University and more to reference as we remember or see from scrappy notes.

We find no connection from the lineage of the celebrated Maynards to the Atlantic Slave Trade. Their history is Walthamstow. We did find a Maynard with an estate in Jamaica and we will return to clarify that.



The Mill-owners.

By Blackmarsh Farm there were mills. There was Lea Bridge Mill by the Cowbridge and Coppermill by Walthamstow Common Mead and the osier beds parallel to the Black Path. Further afield, literally, along the River Lea towards Stratford were the Temple Mills. Williams, the owner of Temple Mills from 1788, made the copper linings for the slave ships.

By 1720 the mills were turned over from corn-milling to interests in woollen manufacture and the workers are never referred to as millers. Black House Lane in Saxon times was the route from the common lands of Higham Hill to the nearest mills plural at what is now called Lea Bridge (area). Nothing to do with slavers here that we could find and no evidence that Lords of The Manor owned the mills.

Conclusion. It was a very knowledge laden introduction to desk-top primary research. Most of the volunteers on the project had no access to the internet and all relinquished their interest after week two.

Barnham and I finished our intense research after one month.

It is now June 11th 2020. The world is in uproar demonstrating about the colossal legacy of the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Author Gillian Lawrence

Contributors Mary Barnham Gillian Lawrence

January 2020 to March 2020

Please credit the author in any lifting of text.