Up Your Street. issue 7

IWD with UYS 2013

Tues 26th Feb £1.50 8pm The Bell Pub Quiz , Forest Road, Walthamstow . (weekly).

Thurs 28th Feb £5 POSTPONED DUE TO SICKNESS. 26th April is the new date.

Book online @ Redbridge Drama Centre  8pm.Scamp Theatre


Growing Old Disgracefully

Directed by
Nigel Planer
Welcome to the Blue Rinse Mountains of Virginia! When an agony aunt reaches sixty, she can lie like a trooper, jump off a bridge – or take to the stage. Virginia Ironside explains that fun funerals, grandchildren and sex – or, even better, no sex – make the sixties the best – and funniest – time of your life…good life
Wed 6th Mar £5 6.30pm .Stratford east PictureHouse E15 “Under The Cranes” Social documentary film  with Rosen’s poetry.

up_your_street_2[1] (2)


Asda Temple Mills E10 Matzos. 50p a packet at Asda!

Tesco Bakers Arms      5pm on Tuesdays is huge final reduction time on fresh meat.

Tesco Walthamstow Bus Station notice-board is managed by Up Your Street. Advertise your For Sale for free.


Up Your Street at The House Mill E3

An invited group of course members on the Visual Art Awareness undergraduate course at Birkbeck University operating out of Rosetta Arts in West Ham and youth from Legacy  programmes through the Fundamental Architectural Inclusion charity met in the chilly House Mill in Three Mills E3 to explore the routes of the Legacy from the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012. Our slant was through architecture for communities and in order to move forward we needed to go back into archive film. Fabulous day; well-organised, welcoming, professional and everyone was valued and visible. We were intergenerational and quite able to share experiences and feel comfortable about airing our opinions.2013-02-23 10.09.02       2013-02-23 13.34.08

The Architecture Crew, a film-making researching team of Stratford youth had made a film prior to the building of the Games 2012 (2007) and we , seven years on, commented on it in terms of its portrayal of aspirations and successful community inclusion or otherwise. In the afternoon we analysed briefly the reasons for the building of the Keir Hardie Estate.

James Keir Hardie, 1856-1915James Keir Hardie, (1856-1915) was elected to Parliament in 1892 as the first – and at the time only – Labour MP, for West Ham South. He lost the seat in 1895 but he later became chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

The Keir Hardie estate in Canning Town is named after him.


Lunch was great served up by Beverley, volunteer and ex Gamesmaker and she then gave us a tour of the House Mill built in 1776.  Brilliant and what an opportunity!2013-02-23 13.40.50Beverley Charters, Trustee and volunteer for the River Lea Tidal Mill Trust (RLTMT) showing us the ropes.

Up Your Street. Issue 6

Tues 19th Feb free  meet 1.30pm at Bus Stop (214, 46, etc) on Euston Rd (in front of King’s Cross Station i.e. on Station side of Euston Rd.).Walk around Westminster and Big Ben etc.with Mr Luks Meeme. Best to bring a packed lunch.

Wed 2oth Feb £2.50 6pm “The Krays” Stratford East PictureHouse E15 .Part of London On Screen. (Take an extra jumper as the air-con is effective.)

Sat 23rd Feb free 11-5pm Bruce Castle N17. Haringey History Festival. Many talks and events. Feel welcome.

free 6-9pm Tokarska Gallery Forest Rd E17 Music and performance as part of

“Cities: All Dimensions. Part 1”.

Sun 24th Feb free but share an offering 11.15am The Mill.E17. Community Breakfast

free 11-3pm Valentine’s Mansion Ilford .Farmers’ Market.

free                 View Tube, Greenway by The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park E20 a  Sparked Family Fun  Day

Tues 26th Feb  free 2-4pm A Discussion about living in UK and in the West Indies. St Andrew’s Church Colworth Rd E11 Neighbourhood Group.

Thurs 28th Feb free photography walking course for residents of Stepney and Whitechapel. Five Thursday sessions. Contact graham@walkeast.org.

  free    10.30-11.30am “Coffee and cake” Book reading group at Hackney Central Libray “The Tiger’s Wife” by Obrecht.


Bronco Bullfrog

Was at The National Gallery after walking with The Stuart Low Trust through the China Town balloon-festooned streets in the freezing cold. We were aiming for the Sainsbury Wing for a free one hour tour.Our group leaders carried in their bright yellow Sainsbury carrier bags our free picnics: Beacons of light and joy! The tour guide was most informative, jolly and a gifted story-teller. We learnt tons about Christian symbolism through Crivelli’s work , ” Madonna of the Swallow”. The Turner exposition was illuminating (!). I felt though that I were in a church. Even the reduced Christmas cards from a fiver to a quid were too religious for me to send despite there being  the prestigious National Gallery logo on them. The other guys on the trip went home after the tour but I needed to soak up some secular stuff and finally, feet aching, found Church’s small exhibition of awesome sunsets over icebergs called “Through American Eyes”.

Culture done and over to Stratford for the film “Bronco Bullfrog”. Terrible acting, nasty wordless pauses, brilliant photography and filming, interesting landscapes and a gripping story-line. I had to pull myself into myself because it was that cold in the Stratford PictureHouse auditorium and then remember it wasn’t the theatre so it was traditional for the other members of the senior audience to rustle their sweet bags. Imagine! The music was good too. I did feel I was watching Ray Davies of The Kinks back in his day but he is and was in fact well-spoken having come from the borders of East Finchley and Muswell Hill, north London. The characters in “Bronco Buffalo” hardly moved their lips to talk their sloppy talk, their east London working class uneducated speke understood by everyone and unloved by many, Interestingly that same language survived and the tongue is still heard today amongst the ethnic minority of West Ham,  Stratford and east Leyton. Innit?

Someone clapped at the end of the film. I didn’t.

The film was a gift from ‘London On Screen’. I was ashamed of the settings, the poverty, the way people lived in Stratford 1969. I saw squalor which made the kitchens of 1960 kitchen -sink plays seem smart. They weren’t but were the common person’s habitat. I had been part of the common and hard-up mass; been there, cleaned the ash-tray, jiggled the black and white television aerial. I was allowed to feel the shame and anything else all because the London On Screen films are there to provoke memories about London and to preserve feelings of place. The films aren’t specifically for seniors. Birkbeck students, young and mature,  are invited in for free because the films provide a cultural background for all Londoners and a chance to identify with wherever one lives in London, I think. The screenings are cheap and good too and Stratford PictureHouse is so Stratford E15. i.e welcoming, homely and belonging to the local community.

Glad I made it. Wished I’d had a hot dog.

From BFI site   “Barney Platts-Mills‘ debut feature stars an entirely non-professional cast of  local teenagers from Stratford, East London.

The film grew out of a documentary, Everybody’s An Actor Shakespeare Said  (1968) made by Platts-Mills about the ‘Playbarn’ project run by veteran British  theatre figure Joan Littlewood at the Theatre Royal in Stratford. The project  aimed to divert local youths from loitering and petty crime and into creatively  channelling their energy and imagination through acting and improvisation.  Inspired by Littlewood, Platts-Mills encouraged the youths to come up with a  story based on events taken from their own lives. These were used as the basis  for Bronco Bullfrog. The young cast give the film an air of authenticity and  their sometimes awkward, hesitant performances reflect adolescence in a  non-contrived way.

The film treats its characters warmly and emphasises that their chosen  courses of action – petty crime, delinquency, and in Del’s case, elopement with  Irene (which, since Irene was 15, would make Del guilty of abduction) – are  determined by the limited choices they have.

The look of the film is reminiscent of the cinema verité/Free Cinema style  which had ushered in the 1960s, but any sense of optimism suggested by such  films is dashed. The mood of Bronco Bullfrog, shot in black and white against a  backdrop of East End bombsites and the new brutalism of urban high-rise flats,  closes the decade on a pessimistic note of limited horizons for its  working-class protagonists.

As evidence that not all of London had been swinging in the 1960s, Bronco  Bullfrog foreshadowed the ‘no future’ ethos which characterised the Punk  movement of the mid-to-late-1970s. The film also anticipated the treatment of  disaffected youth which became prevalent in British television drama”.

Littlewood suggested at Stratford Royal Theatre in those days  of yore that the aimless Stratford working class youth  be inspired by acting. “Bronco Bullfrog” reared its awkward, self-conscious head and became the chore of lazy, paid amateur kids. The project was obviously Littlewood’s baby  but just a laugh and a time-filler for opportunist thieves and petty criminals allegedly.

What is interesting is that the Theatre Royal Stratford east is still doing what their founder- director Littlewood did, that is encourage local youth to divert their energy to drama. They succeed. What is weird is that the film critic Alexander Walker, now deceased, praised the potential impact of “Bronco Bullfrog” on the film accolades’ industry and outside of the auditorium on my evening was the artist Alexander Walker’s art. Coincidence. Oooh.

There’s a striking art exhibition from Alexander Walker on the foyer walls upstairs at Stratford PictureHouse, eye-catching because of its colours noted well after a black and white film. One painting brings home Walthamstow Central. What I don’t get is why the Leytonstone-ites aren’t makng a fuss of the Hitchcock murals in their station now that Hopkins and the pink-haired lady of film are doing the rounds with their blockbuster. (I am so not interested).

Alexander Walker and The National Gallery in one blog!

Claremont Project in Islington continues to put on fabulous classical recitals. Last week the Korean pianist dazzled and excited our old limbs, mainly old white thighs.

The Real Story being the one about the crust of bread.

Mrs Dench lived over the back of us. Her husband was a tall upright misery of a man who always wore a brown suit with a waistcoat, thick horn-rimmed glasses, had a moustache and wore a hat. He strode rather than walked being rather tall.

Our house was on the end of the council terraced block next to the alleyway into the  parallel roads on Coldfall Estate. In those days, the alleys were short-cuts without strewn mattresses and piping or trip -wires put in place by malicious youth. Everyone used them without fear. Schoolchildren walked safely along backs of long gardens and houses. It was the early 1960s. The Kinks lived up the road. As Mr Dench  passed up the alley every night around eleven he would have heard clearly my parents as they swung punches, shouted  and threw dad’s hair-brushes at each other. I heard everything. My sister and I would whisper between bunks and ask each other whose side we were on. If we were bored and intrigued by the nightly quarrels it was certain that Mr Dench took in some interest. I remember feeling embarassed that the night walker knew my family’s sordid business.

Mrs Dench was squat and ugly. She had  a swarthy complexion and a mass, a triangular shape, of black and grey frizzy hair. Even then I suspected that she were foreign, and what was called half-caste in those days. I remember she never looked at anyone when she spoke; her eyes would  be elsewhere, out into the distance or down at her shoes. She used to come in to mum’s when dad was at work with a bundle of shoes from”the lady up the road” who “only wanted a few pence for them”. Once my mother, in our front room with Mrs Dench, put a pair of shoes on the table-cloth on the table. Mrs Dench, quite agitated said my mother should remove the shoes from the table  because it was bad luck.  Then she calmed down and noticed the shoes were used. “Oh, it’s only bad luck if the shoes are new”. She was the teacher here, looking much older than my mother. They were two women doing business. It was women’s business: My mother told my sister and I not to mention the shoes to our father. We never did. The business of the shoes was not of any consequence to our lives. I don’t even know if my mother were the seller or the buyer or both. I do know that she had conversations with her back neighbour. Mrs Dench was always in her blue mack and my mother always had on her thin blue cardigan adorned with two nappy pins or safety pins and wore a clean but tatty apron with its frayed blue piping. The hem of her dress was always just above her yellow knees. She had thrombosed varicose veins pumping out from her fat legs, caused possibly by six confinements and more to come.

The children were on school holidays; one week before Christmas and one after. I was in the front room with my mother who had just come from the kitchen. There was a knock at the door and my mother opened it and let in Mrs Dench directly to the front room. The front room was never the reserved room for Sunday dinner or special family visitors. It was a dining room, a  homework room when we grew older, dad’s stenographing room, the ironing room and my sister’s courting room when Charley came to call. It had a table always covered with a white table-cloth and benches for we children to use during meal-times.

Mrs Dench was quite breathless and my mother was looking decidedly hostile, She never greeted anyone with a smile. I decided that she was not expecting any shoe or clothing business  at that time so was taken off guard. I never knew. Mrs Dench never looked at me. She put her closed fist on the table and leant into it, her full Christmas Post bag on her back. She spoke to the table-cloth.

“Oh Mrs P. Have you got a crust of bread I could have?” There was no ‘ please’. My mother was taken aback. She went to the kitchen. I heard her pull down the cabinet flap. She returned and passed to Mrs Dench the crust from a sliced loaf. I was shocked that my mother showed little compassion and actually gave a crust rather than a buttered piece of bread which would have been more polite or expected at least. I saw my mother’s nastiness and meanness. I also knew that my mother cared only for her family and that giving away a crust meant less food for her brood. I had realised then that the relationship between Mrs Dench and my mother was of no value. It was true that my mother didn’t have any  friends and seemingly had no need for them either. Her family was all. The shoes were only worth bothering with because they might have  been useful for her children. I was embarassed for Mrs Dench becuase she had to beg for bread in front of me, a child, and I took on her embarassment because she was a married woman with a husband in a smart three piece suit and she was starving. She had released the news that her husband was not providing for her.

Years later I learnt form my mother and my sister that Mr Dench beat his wife mercilessly throughout their miserable marriage.

Memory Lane @”Milling Around”

The Mill supports its own online magazine called “Milling Around”. Walthamstow residents and fans are invited to submit writing for publication after Irena has edited it professionally. All good fun.

The Mill has activities going on all the time e.g baby yoga, herbal recipe workshops, chess and so much more. It’s great and stands at the St James’ Station end of Walthmastow Market, E17. If ever you get a chance to go on a social history walk around that High Street, then Roger Huddle is your man, and others too. The Street is oozing with history. It used to be called Marsh Lane.

The Christmas Post.

When I was a mere young thing I did the Christmas Post in Walthamstow starting each snow-hung morning in the Walthamstow Sorting Office in Church Hill. That was in 1970 when I lived in a ground floor two-room lodging in West Avenue Road. Around the corner was the entrance to the “Village of Walthamstow Toni ” as advertised inside the railings on a Council notice-board. I never ventured up that path.

My postal round took me into Grove Road, Eden and Palmerston Roads and all their off-shoots. Every house had an unlocked porch and most had in them low-burning paraffin heaters with that unique warm smell.

At that time I was a student and very hard up. On one particular morning I was feeling the cold and was hungry. At the end of Beulah Road, an old woman was putting out her cat just as I was approaching. Without shame, I asked her if she had a crust of bread for me. She went in and came out with a slice of Sunblest covered in butter. That was a good day for me.sunblest

My last job finished on Christmas Eve and by 4pm I had to report back to the office to give in my bag and collect my wages, in cash of course. Relieved, I went straight into the market into the winter darkness and queued at the first fruit stall.

“Two oranges please.”

The costermonger flicked open the brown paper bag with his fingerless gloved hands and raised his voice facing the queue behind me.

“Two oranges. Cor! You ‘avin’ a party?”

The lights swinging under the tarpaulin never caught my reddening face.”

By Gillian Lawrence. Christmas 2012

Up Your Street issue 5

Up Your Street issue 5

Sat 9th Feb free Forest Recycling Project at Lauriston School, E8 12-3pm. Take your goods along at 11 am.

free noon-5pm  Launch of communities coming together at Elise Centre (old CLR Library at Dalston Junction)  Whole programme of events and activities: Stalls, Hackney Stream Radio, advice, African drumming.

Sun 10th Feb free 1.30-4.30pm Rich Mix E1 “From Bengal to Bethnal Green”.  Music, refreshments, discussions, family activities and fun. Grand Union Orchestra hosting.

Chinese New Year 2013. Year of The Snakesnake

    free 10-3pm Farmers Market at Station Road, Chingford E4


Tues 12th Feb  Shrove Tuesday

Wed 13th Feb   £2.50  Stratford east PictureHouse London On Screen event 6pm.”Bronco Buffalo”. described as “Mod Poetry” and depicting Stratford east London in the 1970s.

£6 Bishopsgate Institute screening of “Under The Cranes”. a film accompanied by Michael Rosen’s poetry.

Thurs 14th Feb £5  11-5pm Valentine’s Mansion Ilford. Family activities around Valentine’s Day.

£2.50 1.30-4.30pm Valentine’s Tea-Dance just for seniors. Old Stratford Town Hall. E15. Raffle, tea and cake  included and jolly good company.

Fri 15th Feb free 2-4pm Hackney Archives, 24 Dalston Lane E8 Patrick Vernon. Info and booking:- enisuoha@tssa.org.uk This is a generous workshop using the finding of your own heritage as being the history of Hackney. It will be great.

Sat 16th Feb free 10-noon Mary Katherine Presents at www.streetliferadio.com. This is Mary Katherine’s regular Saturday magazine radio show where she lifts you up to good living using golden oldies, silver sounds and interviews with her guests. Listen for the tinkling of bells.

free Body Shop Launch in E17 TBC

free 11-1pm “Love Food, Hate Waste” workshop and become a Food Champion by attending! Volunteer Centre Hackney 5 Tyssen Street E8: Book in advance at info@vchackney.org

Mon 18th Feb free Poetry at Freeword, 60 Farrington Rd EC1 celebrating the launch of poetry by Laabi. Eventbrite have places via the Poetry Tranlastion Centre.


Tickets for The One Taste Choir and other artists at St John At Hackney , Mare Street on March 2nd are for sale at www.wegottickets.com. They’re £10 or £20 for a bubbly VIP seat! This is a Sound:Check production for Music for Childhope charity.

Hackney Stream is a great place/internet radio to keep up to date with projects for seniors in Hackney. Use a search engine to get into the site then you are helped to navigate and enjoy.

Beydagi Food Centre 221 Lea Bridge Road E10. (formerly Koza). Excellent service, very popular, great veg. and fruit, meat and cheeses. Free on road parking outside; (almost a rarity). Up the road a bit towards Markhouse Rd is Dennis Chippy. Again great service and gorgeous cod on a china plate.

Next week Hackney Central Library reading groups provide some great community getting together via books.

It will be time for the Community Breakfast at The Mill.

BOOK now for a 5 week art course at £10 the course  with a different concessions fee at The Centre For Better Health 1a Darnley Rd Hackney. Email admin@ centreforbetterhealth.org.uk


St Joseph’s Hospice in Mare Street

I want to thank the volunteers who sort the jumble, stand up all day selling it, and stay to clear it away at The St Joseph’s Hospice in Mare Street, Hackney. Those jumble sales are excellent. They are absolutely reminiscent of 1960 jumble sales in churches in Archway, North London. Only the buyers with Swallow prams are absent!

What a load of stuff everytime and vintage and antique bargains too. Down in “Aladdin’s Cave” one can hardly move because of the trolleys, black bags, women, babies in strollers, and everyone remains calm because there are definitely bargains for everyone. Shoes, bags, towels, clothes, everything; pots and pans, soda stream syphons, African carvings, vases and so much more. There’s an upstairs!  Baby stuff, toddlers’ clothes and toys all piled high . There’s antique furniture, brown furniture and framed art reproductions galore. There’s even a designer clothes section and catalogue returns.

And then more. There is a room devoted to cds, albums and tapes leading to a café.  No wonder the Hospice makes mega bucks.

There’s Irish women, Iranians, Polish, English, Ghanaian, Jamaican and a whole load of people streaming in and out all the time.  People spill out laden with black bags, laundry bags, old shopping trolleys, suitcases!!! Young and old attend and everyone makes way for each other, chucking blouses from tub to tub inviting sister women who are concentrating, intent on buying, to look over such and such. No fat money is exchanged: The Hospice wants to sell the stuff so it’s all as cheap as chips.

Thank you women on the tables and volunteering men mingling ready to help.

Another jumble is on its way. Watch Up Your Street and keep a keen eye.

It’s all about building communities.

It’s always a bonus when a free picnic, pizza or a  cup of tea is given generously by interns and volunreers to seniors who attend a seniors’ project or an arranged tour for seniors. It’s not necessarily the case that seniors are desperate for the food. Having a cuppa is a full stop after a walk or an inspiring  session. No the tea is a ploy to build communities. Getting a crowd of seniors together sharing a beverage is a success because people have come out and joined in. A community is built.

The Claremont Project in White Cross Street successfully builds its community. It is mainly a community of women aged 70 years and more, and in the main, they are indigenous White British women. The supporting attendees at St Luke’s lunchtime concerts could well be the same women at Claremont. For the last ten years that St Luke’s audience has not been representative of London’s multi-cultural community. For the last six years I have sat next to mostly curly white perms at the Claremont Project. Today there was an audience of sixty for a rousing African drumming entertainment at Claremont. Once again the audience was very old, white and womanly.

And so what?

A mug of tea and a cake cost a mere 20p. Everyone there could have paid £1 and the organisers know that. But the profitting on value tea bags is not the aim: The aim is to gather people, keep them informed, allow them some joy and let thrive a community whatever its composition . All success to the Claremont Project and its open doors. You’ll hardly see adverts but now you know it’s there.

In the morning I was with the Buildings Exploratory Group for seniors which was introduced to Claremont before Christmas 2012. We had reserved seats at St Luke’s to watch a lunchtime concert and a reserved table in the Crypt Café.  Our guide Phillip showed us interesting features about the old old church which is now a music education venue about to celebrate its tenth year, as well as being the rehearsal room for the LSO.

Yep, all good.