The Mill, Coppermill Lane. E17

“The trouble with The Mill is that it’s too posh.”(Middle-aged Leyton resident. 2014)

I like posh myself and have always rated highly The Mill in Coppermill Lane. Anyone remember my story about the day I first went to The Mill in Coppermill Lane just after it opened for I was on the case at the first announcement about its inception as I’d been looking for it all my retired life.

Cleverly walked The Black Path (only knew that rat alley had such a name from walker and local historian David Boote!) then walked swiftly past the houses down by now deteriorating  St James’ Park with its smelly roses to die for and along the pee-ridden railway tunnel up into Coppermill Lane and turned left making my way for Coppermill which belongs to Walthamstow Wetlands now. Well, not belongs but is looked after by Wild London and Thames Water and is set to become a feature and a half in the European and British scheme of things watery.*

Saw swans on the way and the stationary W12 bus and thought it looked a bit empty and deserted but I was well away. After a while I asked a human on a bicycle and she said “Go the other way”, pointing towards the Market. Silly me.

The Mill is a place where we can go, read a newspaper, enjoy an art exhibition, peruse all the notices, step over escapees from the crèche area and be ignored unless the receptionist is looking up. I make a point of saying hello to a lone woman using a laptop or a group of men playing dice for those may be the only ones I talk to all day, being a lonely widow like.

The Mill has regular art exhibitions and workshops attached. The workshops are usually pennies and submitting work for exhibiting is a tenner a time or a fiver for the unwaged and poor. You see that’s another hub which makes you stick to deadlines and get art work done and finished. Professional and amateur and less than that art offerings are hung on the same walls. My postcard drawing in the past rubbed edges with Grayson Perry’s treasure. I was big-headed then. He never came to see.

There is always a launch night full of grub and drink and Mo welcoming in her own generous way ladling out Mill Punch. There is no membership to go to either the workshops, to present art for submission or to get into the crowded launch nights.

This February 2nd is the launch of “Ink Press Go!” an exhibition about printing by local printers and those having a go at getting down and dirty. It’s also the date of all things India at the William Morris Gallery. Oooh. Choices especially as frequent guests and visitors to The Mill, artist and volunteer Hassan and textile artist Sba, are doin’ their thin’ at WMG.

Want to see real posh? Then William Morris Gallery may be your niche.


*Here is Wetlands Steve post at Facebook just now.

A peek inside the 1864 Coppermill Tower at Walthamstow Wetlands, which is currently being renovated and converted into a viewing platform, which will offer visitors spectacular panoramic vistas across Walthamstow Wetlands, the Marshes and the Lea Valley. Accessible via lift, the viewing platform will also provide a viewpoint with a wide unbroken field of view from which to spot birds at great distance. Inside the entrance to the viewing platform, there will also be a display about the history of the building and the watermills that have been on that site for over 1000 years.

In 1864, the East London Waterworks Company, added the tower to the rest of the Coppermill building which was built in 1806. The tower which is built in the arcaded Italianate style, is an elaborate chimney for the venting of steam from a Cornish Bull Engine which was housed in the tower to pump water.

The building is called the Coppermill because it was owned by the British Copper Company and used to roll copper from 1808-1859.

It is just the tower that is being opened to the public in the Autumn of 2017, the rest of the Coppermill building will continue to be used by Thames Water for training and storage.

The Claremont Project

Exhausted from and happy to have completed my art work for my exhibition called “Champions” acknowledging International Women’s Day 2017 because an artist has to promote and design that promotion too and curb vanity, modesty and find a path of equilibrium without sinking into questioning any futility and finding the energy to be positive, then The Claremont Project is great in that it provides an opportunity to plunge into a distraction. It offers members walls and themes to get them using art for their own expression. It sets time schedules and so encourages discipline and time-management. You don’t even have to buy art materials: you can go along to the art exhibition preparation workshop, meet great seniors and chat along with coffee and free resources.

It’s a hoot.

I myself have begun my own canvas entitled “Paradise” which is the theme for March’s exhibition. I cannot order any more paint so will have to scour charity shops for a little bit of white and some yellow. Cass Art has a sale on . Ebay is always cheaper. I’d moved house recently and stored some ex-exhibition paintings on canvas in plastic in a shed. Boy, those rains found a way in so three frames were soaked and mouldy. Into the bin. Didn’t hurt. These days artists photograph all their work.

Carne Griffiths is giving generously a free workshop about fluid creating. The man uses tea bags? That’s at Cass Art, Islington but it’ll be first come first served, a bit like Black Friday at Asda and edging forward in a queue with art students or youngsters. Maybe not.

On Thursday next there’s another free workshop using indigo something in printing which Walthamstow’s darling, William Morris loved to use, or more like his workforce used. Sba Shaikh of Mehraj Textiles is also generous giving people a chance to try. Should be adults only as its the Gallery’s Lates evening. We’ll see.

And on IWD another freebie at The Mill E17 printing from a woman’s perspective with Inky Cuttlefish’s director, printer celebrated, Anna Alcock. Inky Cuttlefish, such a name conjuring up images of black ink, fish fins and lines.

Going back to Claremont, there is quite a clique of art- interested bods who have access to tours of curator-led exhibitions especially in Islington, and outwith. Claremont organises art therapy and other therapies alongside art classes at £2 a pop. Hilary Davis of E17 and beyond shares her craft skills there showing sewing techniques and organising reminiscence projects. She’ll feature at East London Radio on Mary Katherine Presents on March 30th. One of the visiting Claremont art therapists is Amanda Whittle who runs CreativiTEA in Waltham Forest on a Saturday once a month. Now that is not therapy although I have seen tears and heard angst there as I munched through my chocolate chunk. Amanda will also make sounds at East London Radio this March as a studio guest of Mary Katherine all part of my art exhibition called what? Champions.

The sun’s out. It’s sweet Saturday. There are three local walks I know about today. I also know it’s c-c-c-cold. Bravo all the seniors I know putting one foot in front of the other.

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden/Late noti

Sunday 29 January 2017, 2-5pm FREE

If you’ve been inspired by Winterwatch on TV this week, we’ve got an afternoon to get you outside and close up to plants and nature. We are told the weather is going to be be warming up this weekend, so it’s a good time to come along and enjoy the Garden.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, 2-3pm
This weekend sees the annual RSPB (The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Big Garden Birdwatch taking place all over the country. We will be identifying and counting the different species of birds that arrive in the Garden between 2-3pm on Sunday and everyone is welcome to help – you don’t have to be an expert. If you haven’t got your own garden to count the birds, but would still like to help with this valuable research, you can join us here between 2-3pm and get spotting.

Make a Bird Feeder, 2-5pm
Help feed the birds in Dalston in these late winter months by making one of our recycled juice carton bird-feeders, before filling them with bird-food and helping hang them up around the Garden. Sessions are run by the Garden’s volunteers, are drop-in, free and open to children and to adults, although young children should be accompanied by their parent or carer. We will be inside the Pineapple House so the wood-burning stove will keep everyone warm and cosy.

Bird-song drawing 2-4pm
Artist Sandra Keating from ‘Project Wonderlands’ invites you to connect with and create in nature, by making ‘Mindful’ sound drawings inspired by the work of artist Nicola Pomery. Participants will be invited to listen carefully to bird-song recordings installed in the garden and draw with their eyes closed. Drawings will be made outside (weather dependent) so wrap up warm!

January Garden Stroll, 3pm
Join us for the first of this year’s free guided ‘strolls’ around the Garden, to see what plants are looking good in winter, to learn about the history of the space and to hear more about our gardening plans for 2017.

some art and cooking

Up Your Street   Issue 4

Mon Jan 30th £2. Available times for morning and afternoons for an ongoing weekly workshop . Art therapy at Claremont Project. We need to book. Group of 6-8 only. Contact Claremont. Members only.

Wed Feb 1st    £5  Posh Club (cabaret and high tea) at St Paul’s Church in Stoke Newington. We need to book

free  10.30-12. North Chingford Library Art 4 All.Hassan Vawda with ” Illustrating Poetry”. Book at Eventbrite if you like otherwise turn up.

Thurs Feb 2nd free 6-30-8.30pm Beginning of community International recipes cookery class (6weeks) with Made In Hackney at Nye Bevan Centre. Lower Clapton E5.  Contact


                        free  6.30-8.30pm.The Mill Launch of “Ink Press Go”. All welcome.

free No need to book. Printing workshop with Sba Shaikh at William Morris Gallery. Poems with Hassan Vawda. India soaked cultural evening.

“WMG Lates, our bimonthly after-hours events, 6.30-10.30pm  are a chance to experience the Gallery in a relaxed adult atmosphere. No need to book.

Visit the special exhibitions and sample some of the best art, music, poetry and performance in London. Curated in partnership with Beatroots, a new social enterprise focused on connecting communities through music and producers of the recent Punk Waltham Forest programme

This month discover the intense glow of Indian culture as we explore William Morris’s fascination with Indian textiles.

  • Akademi kathak artist Parbati Chaudhuri and tabla player Amritpal Singh Rasiya perform a series of technical dances choreographed exclusively for the William Morris Gallery.
  • DJ Olaf S East plays Bollywood classics from India’s seminal music makers and composers including Rahul Dev Burman, Kalyanji-Anandji and Bappi Lahiri.
  • 8.15pm in the tea room.Painter, poet and installation artist Hassan Vawda reads from the latest edition of his poetry book Ancestral Coordinates, inspired by his family’s journey from the Indian village of Kathor to their new home in Walthamstow in the 1960s.

And if you’re feeling creative, join Indian artist Sba Shaikh to make your very own fabric bookmark using the indigo discharge method, an ancient Indian printing technique that was much admired by William Morris. Finish off your bookmark by block printing your initials.”

Fri Jan 3rd       free  11-1.30pm. Bags Of Taste. Cooking for cheap meals St Paul’s Church West Hackney. Hackney residents only need apply and there is a crèche (for grandchildren?). Book with Linda at 079 23248586

Sun Feb 5th    free 12.30-3pm.Made in Hackney, Casenove Road, Stokey. Asian influenced cooking vegan style (see above for booking contact).

free Whitechapel walk about with Hackney Tours. Meet at Whitechapel Station 11am. It is bookable but as it’s so cold, people may drop out so just turn up at 10.50 am and fill in an ID form for H&S.

Claremont again. The next exhibition of artwork is entitled “Paradise” and submissions from members should be in by March 9th. Claremont said they hadn’t seen me this year and that’s because I was preparing for my own solo art exhibition called “Champions”. More on that later. Plus not noticed how bloomin’ cold it is? “Oh for a carriage”, said Cinders.


Made In Hackney

Another Up Your Street subscriber has been joining me at the Made In Hackney food workshops on Sundays, she missing church and me braving the elements and we booked through Hackney Circle.

Really these are vegan cookery workshops where we chop and stew, massage and mash, listen and learn (not a lot) and taste the fruits of our labour which is a minimal exertion.

The venue is downstairs in a basement kitchen under a grain-selling shop up top. There is an air of 1940s about it; you know, being underground in an old property, under a shop where you weigh out your own grains and nuts, in a very Chassidic Jewish neighbourhood, next to a proper second-hand shop and opposite my granddad’s grave in Abney Park Cemetery. That’s why I go.

The workshops we attend are free although we can donate which we do into a hamper or online. It’s the guilt of eating for free.

We use no animal products and no sugar. I discovered in the twilight of my life, date syrup. I had a cup of tea with Hemp milk.

There is a trace of an assumption that because the participants are in the main young European white folk just arrived in Hackney that spices and vegetables are new experiences. That may be true because many people eat out and/or buy prepared food whether it’s Iceland’s finest or the local vegan café’s Mediterranean wrap. However many people do cook from fresh and have a wealth of experience about managing on pennies and buying good food. There is very little time to share experiences though partly because no-one in a public kitchen wants to be put on the spot in front of almost religious followers of what is still an alternative life style or nutrition practices. There is on every healthy eating programme I’ve attended a gross assumption that all white people eat pre-formed and packaged boxes of food and that all Asian women cook curry and chapattis everyday. And national supermarkets are of course the enemy whilst white bread needs to be shot on sight and those poor carbo-ducks…well!

Londoners have had Asian and Turkish shops for years now and although some UK born people will not set foot in them, many locals indeed do. So there’s a massive invitation to all to get inside those spilling onto the pavement stores and find good quality dates and coriander and coconut oil and all things smelly and tangible. Don’t even think about TKMaxx and their saffron. Even the reduced quirks on the shelf are too expensive. Stick to the clothes and the soap.

So on Sunday we ate together around the table, a manageable smaller group than last time and decided not to discuss the wind of the vegetables. We talked about food energy and almost decided, for the chat was stilted and would not move into politics, that food poverty reaches into every generation not just in the older generation. In a munch it means that many people do not have access to good healthy choices in food because of lack of knowledge. We have to respect people’s personal decisions about food because we cannot dictate. We have to smash addictions for a start. That hemp tea will never replace builder’s tea for me or I will feel deprived and unfulfilled.

There is plenty of education during our sessions about health and safety in the workplace in this case a cramped kitchen with no disabled access, and old stairs without a banister and an outside area packed with bins for this and bins for that. To be fair, it is best to tell the managers what is missing otherwise nothing will change. For example for we seniors the chairs are not good and now management knows.

I support the bringing together of people to cook together. to learn together and to share food. I’n’t it all weird though?



Up Your Street. Issue 3

Issue 3 Up Your Street

Tues 24th Jan   £1. 10-1pm Hilary’s Tuesday’s Sociable Sewing at The Mill, Coppermill Lane E17

Wed 25th Jan   £5   1-4pm Chingford Assembly Hall E4 tea dance

                         £4   noon-3pm Posh Club at St Paul’s in Stoke Newington. Need to book for the cabaret and high tea.

Thurs 26th Jan free 3-5pm Gants Hill Library. Eastside Community Heritage launches the exhibition

From Cinema to Synagogue

Fri 27th   Jan    free  2.30-4pm Art 4 all. Leytonstone Library E11. Shadow Puppetry.

Sun 29th Jan   free Open Day at Organiclea

“Seasonal Blitz: our weekend volunteering opportunity, join us at 9.45 for a 10am-1pm session, preparing for wildflower planting. We advise sturdy shoes and you are welcome to stay for the Hawkwood monthly Open Day afterwards. Please do let us know in advance if you’d like to join us for the Seasonal Blitz session, by emailing plants[at] or call us on 020 8524 4994.

Open Day (12-4pm)

All afternoon (12 – 4) Coffee, cake and delicious locally grown lunch served.

1pm Join Lee Valley Nature Photographers for a walk and talk with bird identification on site and sharing information on birdlife in the wider Lea Valley. We are participating in the RSPB’s Local Big Garden Birdwatch, on of the biggest species surveys in the world. Suitable for all from expert to first-timer – all welcome. There will be some binoculars to borrow – or bring your own if you have them. We are really pleased to be doing this in partnership with LVNP.

2.30pm Site tour

12-3pm Hawkwood Woodland School – a drop-in family learning session offering outdoor play and holistic learning for children and families. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Please email with the name and age of your children if you plan to attend, so we have an idea of numbers. There is no charge for this session.”



Issue 2 Up Your Street



Mon 16th Jan    £5 or £3 if Newham resident 1.30-4.30pm Tea dance Stratford Old Town Hall E15

Tues   17th Jan free 1.15-1.45pm  Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. Crochet pots and a talk by the artist.

£8 7.30-9pm  Hatha Yoga   The Good Shepherd Main Hall, Pastures Youth Centre, Davies Lane, Leytonstone, E11 3DR
Stretch, strengthen and relax into the evening in a Hatha flow yoga class. Focus in your mind, comfort your body and settle your soul. Open to all abilities, bodies and budgets!

Highly recommended by Up Your Street and Jessica is a great tutor.

Wed  18th Jan    free 11-6pm at Autograph Gallery in Rivington Street. Ongoing exhibition. Tours available. “an alternative portrait of the Calais ‘Jungle’

Gideon Mendel: Dzhangal Free exhibition | Until 11 February Autograph ABP, London

Thurs 19th Jan   free 6-8pm Film about “Wonder Woman” (1970) at same place as crochet pots, (see above).

free 6-8.30pm Launch of Exhibition. “The Silvertown Explosion” with Graham Hill at St Luke’s Community Centre, Canning Town, E16.

Fri    20th Jan     free Hand in your print art to The Mill E17 (Fiver for a submission). You need to be resident or working/volunteering/caring in Walthamstow.

Sat   21st Jan    free 11-2pm at Hale End Library. CreativiTEA . Mindfulness with painting. Booked up but try your luck because always there are spare seats.

Sun   22nd Jan  free  12.30-3pm. Made In Hackney .Cooking up 15 minute meals

Made In Hackney Local Food Kitchen, Food For All Basement, 3 Cazenove Rd, London, N16 6PA.(106 bus).

Booked up but try by emailing

You eat what you make and sometimes take surplus home.



It’s all hotting up.

The artist in residence for next September at Walthamstow Wetlands has arrived from Glasgow into E17 for a reccie fortnight and is kinda resident at The Mill E17,which is the hub of knitting for “Urban Swifts”. A call went out from the Wetlands today via Facebook for experienced knitters to come and collect their swift patterns at the hub.

A score of women stepped back being inexperienced and a little in the dark. What is it all about?

Last night Urban Swifts was promoted at Gnome house in Blackhorse Lane E17 but many folk were soaked from a day walking to bus stops during the tube strike and watched Corrie instead. The artist’s methods and means are on Facebook where she describes her knitted terns on another project. So much is on Facebook.

Currently it looks like Walthamstow Wetlands is a corner of the world stage coveted by those other people and knitters of swifts.

I said “looks like”.

Made In ‘Ackney

Well, well, well. Aprons on, hands washed, chop chop chop peel peel peel pull pull pull get those veggies in the pot stir stir stir and whizzzzzzzzzzz.

Well. it was free, a cookshop set up by Lucy from Hackney Circle.  The questions on the evaluation sheet made me know that we had been given the opportunity to see healthy food in the making.  Tick. We were there to relish the journey, meet others from our communities and feel good.

I didn’t  enjoy the meal. I felt like I’d eaten a bowl of earth. Reminded me of the organic meal at Hornbeam seasonal supper. Others did have seconds too. Not me.

We were too many in a small place. Despite emailed warnings that latecomers distract the tutor and delay the cooking, people arrived one after the other such that we started the session late. Those same tardy participants would be the ones who would never wash up a knife.

Nice photos.

What goes on in basements. eh?


One step forward, two steps back.

wp-1471727482316.jpegUp Your Street has been active for a mere seven years. There is a withdrawal of interest and motivation going on amongst a chunk of its subscribed seniors and they are the ones who enrolled at its inception. This is because on the whole, in the bigger picture, there is no true engagement by hub staff or lone artists or interns masquerading as interested beings with the client market, the seniors. There are exceptions and Art For All and CreativiTEA are two of the good ones: These are honest joes who really are passionate about what they impart and are genuinely interested in their workshop participants. We seniors know that the vast majority of egoists don’t care if we turn up or not. Recently a group of seniors turned up at a function and know very well that they were there as part of the funders’ tick-sheet header “Engages with local community.”

To combat isolation seniors will know all of that and still go along. There’s always a chance of a free linen tote bag or a hot cup of tea.

We’ve had a year of ageing population and creativity and on and on it goes until those white articulate septuagenarians have all had their say. We’ve done the memory lane and moved into mindfulness to the point where we need to analyse and cuddle introspective thoughts. There is very little development or moving forward and much sucking of eggs so it’s more sensible to stay home out of the freeze and finish off the Christmas Milk Tray.

Up Your Street will have none of that and seeks out activities which could empower seniors from all parts of the six boroughs. Those that did screen=printing for free in 2011 can move faster with the ink and take home more linen bags in 2017. Those who joined in a debate for the first time can flex their tongues and be more confident the second time.

If the one step forward makes us laugh together then we will catch each other in our aged bosoms when we fall two steps backwards.