Men and girls.

Poem no.3 IWD 2019

As long as people call women
Old men will poke prod touch breathe on
Slap tickle fondle stroke bend lick kick
Own disown see unsee deny hurt pinch
Throw break lie ignore trample set fire
Caress force spit pressure tie drop leave
Disregard disallow dismiss not see just feel
Touch n go move on.

Up Your Street sends out emailed lists every seven to ten days to subscribers. All free

Here is an example of a regular listing:-

Up Your Street. Issue Last of 2018

Sat 15th Dec. 10-3pm Winter Fayre. Buxton School Cann Hall Road E11.

Mon 17th Dec free.Noon at Matchmaker Room Leyton Orient. Seniors social. Bring an edible to share.

2pm Dinner at Clapton Hart organised by Hackney Circle.

6.30pm free Bow Sewing Bee.Christmas do.
6.30-9.30pm at Eleanor Arms
460 Old Ford Road
E3 5JP
Bring along your hand-sewing.

Tues 18th Dec free 2pm Dinner at Chick n Sour. Fully booked.

£8 7.30pm.Doreen Fletcher artist of east end scenes at The Wanstead Tap Winchelsea Road E11.

Wed 19th Dec free Making cards and bows with christmas crafts outfits. EC1. Check Eventbrite. Many others.

Fri 21st Dec free. Blackhorse Road Church E17.Bags of Taste. Cooking and eating together. Text for a place to 07914 803530 no later than Saturday 15th.

Community. Define

Soon Up Your Street seniors will go along to represent seniors from around the once poorer London boroughs at an event in Shoreditch organised by Dr Leila Jancovich et al from Leeds University. The aim of the event is to find a positive amongst the structured but failing community and cultural offerings given out to the masses by the traditional cultural centres such as museums and art galleries and recently popped-up community hubs. Coincidentally in Waltham Forest the drive is on to enhance people’s cultural outlooks through art and the arts by the borough showing off as the Borough Of Culture: The first ever Borough Of Culture.

Those seniors twelve years old in the Up Your Street organisation say it like it is and it isn’t grand. They have attended tens of workshops from collage art to 3D printing to interactive theatre to drawing and movement. Often the workshops precede an art exhibition or a museum treat. For years those older participants have known that community engagement is a fluff and that their names settle on a tick-sheet to please funders. Better for the money drip is if the photos taken by the white middle-class trustafarian interns can show people of colour. Any last-minute evaluation sheets are loaded towards no rocking of the boat too. The only way participants can show displeasure is by not returning the next time. Next times are rare but anyway the facilitators at workshops don’t clock the names or faces of their public. Seniors do not matter.

Museum staff have since last year and beyond abandoned their brown wooden wall image to open out their welcoming arms particularly to the disinterested youth and the older more working class generation. Hackney Museum was well ahead over ten years ago and is a wonderful place to learn about the local people and their cultures. People from every background feel represented and own the venue.
The William Morris Gallery morphed into a shop and the café is neither magnet nor affordable to those folk who bring by habit their own flasks.

Art Galleries link with artists outside their perspex walls and intellectualise everything from living spaces to the shirt on your back to entice a population of people who never put art on their daily agenda. This is when art needs a definition. Schools are ready-made bait for culture and it is assumed that working class parents never take their children along the tunnels in Kensington during the half-terms. In all that, community artists spring up in every centre, exhibit and try to belong to an elite in an art world which is business always.

Exhibitions are still expensive. Up Your Street organises community group visits to those ten pound plus exhibitions. The Victoria and Albert Museum staff are ace; nothing is too much trouble. The staff at other places have much to learn about welcoming seniors on freebies.

Trouble is much is advertised on Twitter and at Facebook.
Trouble is the engaged never get called back. Tick-sheets are posted away. Job done.

Why do they at Up Your Street keep on keeping on pushing their way into worlds they never knew existed because they worked for years and transport was expensive and that thing culture was “nothing to do with us”. Was it curiosity, being egged-on, loving that expected cuppa, getting some skills learning and it can all be done before they get the tea on? Those people are ENGAGED for a couple of hours in a day. On Friday the mosque engages them. On Sunday the church engages them. So much is forgettable.
Nuff said.

women at work 1970-2000


Untold stories of first-generation Bangladeshi women in the East End (1970-90)

Stepney Community Trust (SCT) is pleased to announce an award of £55K from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help reveal the incredible untold stories of the first-generation Bangladeshi women in Tower Hamlets who earned money working from home as seamstresses to support their families.

The project will cover a period of thirty years,1970 – 2000, and explore the rise and decline of Bangladeshi women home seamstresses in the Borough of Tower Hamlets. Many older women from this community living in the area today or who lived there in the past are in their 50s, 60s and 70s, and represent a very little known, but highly significant, East End heritage. They and many others who have already passed away have incredible, unique, individual and shared stories of being the first-generation Bangladeshi women in the East End of London who worked from home as seamstresses to support their families. The historically significant and well-known local rag trade provided them with an opportunity to work from home, like thousands of others from the then ever-increasing diverse local communities.

Most of these women were very young, some with children, when they first joined their husbands in London. Many of them got employed in economic activities soon after arriving into the country, while others started a little later, working from home to support their families. They faced many difficulties and challenges of the time.

While working as seamstresses from home, they brought up their children and undertook a multitude of other daily household duties, such as cooking and washing. Many older children, especially female members, also helped their mothers in sewing garments at home. As the children grew up, some of them also joined the rag trade, young men joined factories while young women worked from home. There were some Bangladeshi men who worked from home and women who worked in factories too, but the figures were quite low and insignificant compared to men working in factories and women working from home.

These women worked very hard with very little or no real social life or interactions with the wider society. They often experienced racial abuse themselves or feared that their husbands and children would be racially attacked when out of their houses. Examples of racial abuse experienced included: verbal name calling; physical violence and pigs’ heads being placed outside their front doors; and women comforting their children and husbands after they became victims when outside the house.

In the early 1970s, East London was still a very important centre of the rag trade and work was plentiful. Employers and factory owners looked for exploiting new opportunities to manufacture clothing and leather items. Many of the early employers who commissioned Bangladeshi women machinists working from home were Jewish. As the 1970s progressed into the 1980s, many Bangladeshi men who were previous employees also started to become owners of clothing and leather factories. However, as time passed into the early 1990s, the rag trade started to decline and eventually disappeared from the area, which was the major cause of a period of high levels of unemployment within the Bangladeshi community.

During the 1970-2000 period, East London experienced major changes, caused by post war immigration, experiences of and the fight against racism, decline of local industries, closures of docks and local resistance to protect jobs, halt and reverse environment dereliction and rising unemployment, as well as new initiatives and resources by local and central governments and the private sector for regeneration and community development programmes.

Stepney Community Trust’s 4th unique National Lottery Heritage Fund project “will help reveal and share the untold hidden stories of these women who contributed so much to society, economy and their families’ well-being, while making many sacrifices of their own health and dreams”. This heritage is very important for the present and future generations of the Bangladeshi and the wider East London’s diverse communities.

The project will help increase knowledge and understanding of the complex and varied heritage of London’s East End rag trade. It will undertake oral history interviews with eighteen Bangladeshi and six non-Bangladeshi women home seamstresses of the period, six children / grandchildren of such women and six businesses that supplied the work. There will be research on East End rag trade history, Bangladeshi Migration and the changing contexts of the time, which will add wider dimensions to the world of these women.

The work will be undertaken by community participants, to be known as heritage oral historians and heritage researchers: they will also collect relevant photographs and documents. They will receive training in oral history, archival research and archiving, provided by the Oral History Society, Tower Hamlets Local Library and Archives and London Metropolitan Archives.

There will be a printed black and white book, an exhibition, a drama performance and a project completion celebration. The collection of oral history, photographs and documents will be deposited at the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives. A six-month touring exhibition / workshops will follow in four venues, which will include the drama performance.

Stepney Community Trust (SCT) would like to thank The National Lottery Heritage Fund for their grant support and the National Lottery players that fund Britain’s diverse heritage.

For more information about this unique project, contact Muhammad Ahmedullah / Bodrul Alom on 020 7377 5482 or email /

Note to editors

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

Small Space, Grow MOre

Stepney Community Trust

Phone: 0207 377 5482 / 07914119282


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RAGWORKS is my refreshed textiles enterprise where I design and hand-sew wall-hangings typically depicting nursery rhyme and world-wide folk-lore characters using recycled cloth. I have exhibited in many London galleries from Canary Wharf to Walthamstow.

Next week at the Jenny Hammond Primary School in Leytonstone my collection of wall-hangings entitled Queens goes up in the main assembly hall. One can view by arrangement with the head teacher during school hours. The exhibition marks

International Women’s Day. March 8th.

Last year RAGWORKS was about local women who work in the community without being formally identified, The women included Claire Weiss, Hibo Wardere, Hyacinth Myers, and Neech alongside Jenny Hammond herself,Vera Palmer and others. We from Up Your Street were treated to afternoon tea at the launch and were served by staff dressed as Suffragettes.

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Reading and greeting

Some Up Your Street people have been reading books by Thompson in preparation for the meet the author event. The works are set before and during WW2 in Bethnal Green. They are fictional stories.

1)Secrets of the Singer Girls
Written 2015
Theme : interracial relationship
Main characters:Poppy Daisy Vera Sal.
Local event/tragedy. Bethnal Green Tube Disaster.

2) Secrets of the Sewing Bee
written 2016
Theme: factory life
Main characters :Dolly Vera Flossy Peggy Lucky.
Local event/ tragedy. London Blitz

3) The Wedding Girls
Written 2017
Theme: Marriage as drudgery.
Main characters: Stella Winnie Kitty Tommy the thug. Treacle the saviour.
Local event/ tragedy: The Battle of Cable Street

4) The Allotment Girls.
written 2018
Theme: Dig for Victory
Main characters: Annie Rose Pearl Millie
Local event/tragedy. Ref to Bryant and May fire.



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Down The Lanes

I chose this area for a walking tour because for many years it was a quiet backwater, unloved and certainly forgotten by the respective boroughs. During the last two years its profile was raised as being of interest to then prospective house buyers thinking of living in Hackney and Walthamstow but pushed out by the escalating prices. The houses are solid old-builds with gardens and basements and are near train stations, schools, nurseries and Wanstead. The average house price fluctuated around £480,000 compared to £600,000 and above in favoured areas east.

Recently some Up Your Street folk visited the Shirley Estate in Stratford beginning at Vernon Road which is very similar in its rise into desirable residence as enjoyed by The Lanes E7.

This is the route and interest.

Meeting at Dames Road Off-Licence, a shop which existed in 1905 and which opens every day including Christmas Day. In 1905 there was a parade of shops next to the now Off-Licence. There are no longer shops but homes with ugly exteriors facing straight onto the public pavement by a bus stop.

Walk down to the Holly Tree, a pub dating back to 1870 which is about to be sold and retained as a pub. It is very popular every day and despite the five star food rating, no longer serves food. It does however offer its WC to public passers-by, On New Year’s Eve it lights up the road and the swing park opposite.

Vansittart Road is named after Baron Nicholas Vansittart, once Chancellor of the Exchequer. The odd numbered houses are within Waltham Forest. The other side belongs to the London Borough of Newham and as such is in Forest Gate. The houses were built in 1860 by the Conservative Land Society, a society comprised of landowners and industrialists, rich merchants and parliamentarians who built homes for all types of men. In that time many working men were occupied as cab-men and their wives as piece-working seamstresses. In times before the Conservative Land Society trustees started developing the area, traders from Spitalfields had erected weekend huts so that they could use them during market- produce trading along Dames Road. The buildings are not uniform at all and evolved from makeshift dwellings.

The first modern building on Vansittart Road is a care home on the site of what was Lake House School. Its bushes and trees are hiding places for foxes. Ex-pupils are mostly living in Essex.

Number 107 was once the home of Herbert Smith aged 55 who was a joiner like his father and father-in-law who came down from Lancashire and who was killed by the 27th July 1944 Dames Road bomb (doodlebug) which hit a tram killing many people and caused havoc and destruction, To keep morale high the incident was not broadcast. Genealogist Mary Barnham traces the history of the previous residents of houses in The Lanes. The roads are parallel to Ramsay Road, the first built Lane. What’s poignant is reading internet pages where people are looking for stories of their ancestors who lived down The Lanes.

Number 123 was sold to a Mr Arthur in 1860 and he was told not to build a water closet. Someone disobeyed Mr Cobbold. M.P. and to date the outside loo annexe still stands minus the furniture. The old larder and scullery stand too. As a local builder once said, “These houses will stand forever if you leave the walls alone”.

Number 81 belonged to an Up Your Street grandmother over fifty years ago. We went to see it last November and she was astonished. Three mature sycamore trees were standing tall in the garden not evident when she was bringing up her sons and guarding them from falling on the typical narrow stairs. She trod on the concrete path she helped to build by working the cement-mixer and she saw the same L-shaped kitchen in which she boiled meat from the Upton Road butcher’s. We took a photo of the brick wall her husband had built out front.

Those histories put extra life into the old buildings many of which are converted into two flats or rented rooms. The London Boroughs of Waltham Forest and Newham councils own a number of houses in the seven roads.

The older residents never called the roads off Dames Road The Lanes. That is a name given by estate agents during the pre-Brexit and pre- Crossrail lucrative rush of 2018. I have read local social historians describe the area as the scruffiest part of Forest Gate. The Wanstead Tap, Burgess and Halls, and The Arch Rivals, all newly set up food and drink outlets have flourished despite negative predictions.

The railway above Vansittart, Pevensey, Thorpe and Ramsay Roads was supported by John Chevalier Cobbold who built houses around it. Cobbold Road off Cann Hall Road is named after him as was Cobbold School1901 which became Tom Hood School and now Buxton School. He was a brewer in Ipswich as well as being an MP.

Under the bridge going from Winchelsea Road into Station Road in The Arches is the Wild Goose Bakery opened in 2018. A neglected but used pillar box stands at the junction of Station Road and Talbot Road. Baron Talbot has been immortalised here. Opposite is a tower block. The old Fowler Road was bombed away and some people see newer builds as obvious 1940-1950 developments on bomb-destroyed sites.

Walk down Talbot Road and search for the Victorian features on old old houses. Most homes have been extended if not heightened. Turn left into Dames Road and look down at the walls. A parish marker from 1890 still stands.

Cross over Dames Road and walk on towards Wanstead Flats. In 1901,the Flats were scrubland on the edge of Epping Forest and by an emerging mass of housing for men connected to the railway. Cann Hall Road was Cann Hall Lane running by Cann Hall Farm years before 1901 when unemployed men were made to plant lines of trees as the boundary between the Dames Road surface and nature. Those mammoth plane trees are now one hundred and eighteen years old and are rooks’ habitats.

[This account is copy writ by Gillian Lawrence at Up Your Street].

The Wanstead Flats have housed a prisoner-of-war camp, space for fairs, and toy boats on the pond and a platform for infamous and famous soap-box militants and preachers.

When you reach the crossing to get back to the start, after the geese have looked at you and the swans ignored you, you’ll see a huge and remarkable old and clean building converted into flats. On a seventeenth century map this is The Lodge and other historians call it Forest Lodge.

Dames Road is named after Dames, a rich sugar magnate who owned much of the area in the eighteenth century. It’s believed his house was where the Anna Neagle House now stands.

Last year, Up Your Street as a small group , enjoyed a late afternoon walk exploring Dames Road from end to end and touching on a couple of architectural sites of interest. It was bitterly cold as the sun went down and the Wanstead Flats disappeared into the darkness. We dispersed without having a deserved cuppa.

I’m cancelling March 21st because of the lack of interest. My book “Down The Lanes” will be an e-book this year. Thank you for having signed up anyway.

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Reaching Out

Good morning, Did you have a nice enough week?

What did you get up to?

On Feb 21st there’s a Waltham Forest Council showcase of what it can offer seniors at Walthamstow Hub in Orford Road from 10-3pm. It’s stalls and talks by various departments and you buy your lunch but get some free coffee. There will be bingo and a choir to jolly you along. All under the title Dignity.

Some at Up Your Street will be away from that in time to gather to explore the writings of Kate Thompson, We shall eat spam* sandwiches in the spirit of the books about the goings on in The Blitz in Bethnal Green. We meet the author on the 22nd in a fabulous venue. Places available.

Dignity repeats in miniature at the Orient Matchmaker Room on 26th Feb.

Anyone off to hear author and crime -writer, Natasha Cooper on Feb 15th at Claremont? I am just reading two of her books so I’m in the know.

I cancelled a couple of events due to lack of interest: We have enough to be getting on with.

And postponed some others because our hosts are ill or not available after all.

Looking forward to John Arthur playing his guitar and singing his own compositions on Feb 17th. Details soon.

This Sunday it’s CreativiTEA art at Locus by The Bell. 12th is sing along at Chats Palace and dinner at Sally’s Kitchen E11 14th is an evening get-together at Northcote E11 and Mary Katherine’s show at East London Radio plus Save A Crust in Hackney. 16th is a spectator event at St Mary’s in Wanstead followed by an art bus tour in West London or radio show participation at Dalston’s Garden.

* Quorn substituted for Vs and Vegans.

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