Saturday, 27 December 2014

MEOTRA's List of Recommended Tradesmen Updated

We have just updated MEOTRA's list of recommended tradesmen. This list is totally reliant on feedback from residents. So:
  • If you find any good tradesmen tell us.
  • If you find any bad tradesmen tell us.
  • If you find any of the tradesmen unsatisfactory tell us and we may remove them.
  • Any feedback on bugs, format, broken links etc. is appreciated.
We hope you find it useful.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Changing Places - A Short History of the MEOTRA Area

In 1999 MEOTRA commissioned a photographic record of the area to commemorate the new millennium. Changing Places - a short history of the area and its inhabitants - evolved from that project and was first published in 2001 as a 44-page book with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The booklet has now been scanned and is available online for free. It is a wonderful read whether you are new to the area or have lived here for years and has lots of photos too. Enjoy!

The latest Newsletter now online & other news

The EU's new Elf and Safety rules and the working at height directive mean Santa has had to limit present giving to street level for the first time since the Great Reindeer Rebellion of 1879
It was great to see so many of you at MEOTRA's Carols in the Square on Sunday. More and more people seem to come every year. I'm not sure I'll ever master the art of juggling minced pies, mulled wine, hymn sheet, torch AND singing at the same time: but I enjoyed trying.

Whilst many spend this festive season running around like headless turkeys or at least trying to buy them, I have managed to find a few hours of calm to sip some wine, launch some random Spotify Christmas mix and update this blog.

Our Latest Newsletter: By now I'm sure all residents have received a paper copy, but just in case you can download the latest one here

Like Greyhounds in the Slips: Those of you at the Carols in the Square will have witnessed our Chair, Margaret, standing atop the park bench and rallying residents to come forward and help run MEOTRA.  We are in urgent need of a new secretary as our current one has had to unavoidably step down. The post involves arranging and minuting 3 or 4 small, friendly, quarterly meetings per year and the AGM, plus a little correspondence, mostly email. Please contact for further info.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Carols in the Square - Sunday 21st Dec 5PM

Join us this Sunday for MEOTRA's Annual Carols in the Square.

You can look forward to warm mulled wine and mince pies and Santa is bringing gifts for [well behaved!] children.

Carol sheets will be provided, but please bring a torch.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Remembrance Weekend Events at St Mary's Church (Bow Church): 8 & 9th November

On Sunday 9 November, at St Mary's church (Bow Church) there will be a special First World War memorial event entitled "Zeppelins Over Bow". This is a specially written production of readings, songs and the stories of local people.  The performance starts at 7.00pm but the church will be open at 6.00pm for refreshments. Before the performance begins there will be a reading of the names of the men from the parishes of St Mary's and Holy Trinity who died in the war and whose names are recorded on the memorials in the church.

Two services will also remember the sufferings of the First World War:
  • On Saturday 8 November, gathering in front of the memorial chapel, we take part in our annual service of remembrance with members of the Tower Hamlets Old Comrades Association. This is always a moving occasion. The service starts at 10.30am and lasts for about half an hour. Tea and biscuits will be available from 10.00am. 
  • On Remembrance Sunday, 9 November, our morning service (which starts at 10.30) will include the re-dedication of two restored plaques which remember the men of Holy Trinity who died in the First World War.

MEOTRA members would be most welcome at any of these events.

(You can download and print a copy of the above poster here)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Ditch The Witch - Friday 31st 6-9PM

The clocks have changed, it's getting dark earlier and yes now it's time for Mile End and Victoria Parks' annual Halloween "Parks after Dark" tour. Details are above and booking is essential. The event consists of a scary tour around both parks with stories at certain points and scares throughout the tour. If you are a big kid there are varied volunteer tasks from helping to set up earlier in the day to dressing up to be a scare along the route and storytelling.

Please let Dave Hime at Victoria Park know asap if you are interested in helping out with any of the above tasks on 020 7364 7968 or

Saturday, 4 October 2014

"Crossrail for Bikes" Proposals Put Forward

CS2 Mile End Section

Transport for London have recently put forward their plans to upgrade the existing Barclays Cycle Superhighway Route 2 (CS2) between Aldgate and Bow roundabout. The proposals would mean substantial changes to the road layout including a segregated cycle track to separate cyclists from other traffic, designed to offer safety for cyclists. To make room for the cycle track, the width of the pavement will be reduced in certain areas and some junctions will include banning some turns for motorists.

The Aldgate to Bow section of CS2 has seen seven cyclist fatalities in the last three years and it is no great surprise that Barts NHS Health is one of the 50 London businesses supporting the proposals.

The MEOTRA section of the route proposes a major redesign of the Mile End Junction (see here for bigger maps) and introduces a ban on motor vehicles making right hand turns from Burdett Road into Mile End/Bow Road and from Mile End Road into Burdett Road. Since there are no alternative main routes, the effect will be to divert traffic night and day (c.450 vehicles per hour at peak) into the residential roads of Mile End Old Town in order to approach the Mile End Road/Burdett Road junction via Grove Road from where access to Mile End/Bow Road and Burdett Road will be permitted.

Further details of the proposals are on the following TFL website pages:

Our local Mayor, Lutfur Rahman, has written to Boris Johnson detailing his concerns "to protect Whitechapel Market", although he has made no mention of his thoughts on the rest of the route including the MEOTRA section.

You can feedback your thoughts on the proposals at a special TFL Page The consultation ends on 2 November.

MEOTRA will be having a short "site meeting" on Sunday 12th October at 10.30am (meeting by Meades) if you would like to join us followed most likely with a coffee in Grove Road's Coffee Room

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Next MEOTRA Committee Meeting - 28th October

The next MEOTRA committee meeting is coming up on the 28th of October. If there is anything in particular you would like us to discuss then please let Joan our secretary know. Some items we are quite likely to discuss include:

  • Carols in the Square - when?, testing the mulled wine recipe...
  • The Art Pavilion - 6 months on what effect has the change of use had on MEOTRA (especially Clinton Rd) residents?
  • Victoria Park Events - Lovebox, Field Day, Boishakhi Mela. How was the 2014 festival season for residents? Litter, parking, noise, lack of loos. What shall we feedback to the council?
  • Litter & Rubbish - What can MEOTRA and its members do to help  ensure our area is litter and rubbish free?
  • Planning - Any concerns?

Friday, 15 August 2014

We're Talking Rubbish - Subway's Rubbish

Subway on the corner of Grove and Mile End Roads causes quite a lot of litter particularly in Grove, Aberavon, Rhondda and [the west end of] Morgan Roads. I have written to the franchisee Ajmal Khan about it:
Dear Sir/Madam,

Since your store has opened the amount of litter in Grove and Aberavon roads has increased significantly. Whilst we are grateful that you have signage asking your customers to dispose of their litter responsibly, we would like to encourage you to go further and ask your staff to routinely litter pick from around the vicinity of your shop. We are able to provide you with free litter grabs if this helps. The litter (which is clearly marked with the Subway branding) is particularly bad towards the middle to top end of Aberavon Road. 
I look forward to hearing from you.
John White
LBTH Recycling Champion

Mile End Old Town Residents' Association

I received the following reply:
John thank you for bringing this to our attention and yes we do very much try to promote our customers to use bins provided. It is unfortunate that people seem to find it acceptable to litter and ruin the streets bringing down standards and making it less pleasant for future generations. We do try and litter pick around the shop and we will make more of an effort to promote using bins. It is good to see yourselves providing free grabs and we would appreciate any help towards solving this issue. As I am sure you are also aware that Subway is a franchise so every franchisee pays his/her own costs and we are burdened with many of them with the main one being rising labour costs and the government forcing ever rising minimum wage which makes it hard to have a designated litter picker due to increased costs. Thank you again for bringing this to our attention and if you visit the store with the litter grabs one of my staff will take them from you. Thanks
Kind regards
Ajmal Khan (Franchisee)

I have now dropped off a couple of litter pickers (supplied free of charge via Mayor Johnson and the GLA who happen to set the London Living Wage at £8.80 vs the minimum wage of £6.30).

Thanks to Cllr Josh Peck who also contacted the Head of the LBTH's Clean and Green team about this following complaints from MEOTRA.

Let's see if we notice a difference.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Planning Alert: Starbucks Coming to Mile End

Soon, as you exit Mile End tube, you may find yourself getting a caffeine hit from all the coffee in the air as Starbucks is opening under the Green Bridge opposite Costa.

Whilst the shop is a "done deal", changes to the design of the shopfront require formal advertising consent and you might want to comment on them.

Personally, I think it is a pity that Mile End Road is filling up with mundane chain coffee shops and supermarkets, and would have preferred an independent business such as an italian restaurant to augment the fairly limited range of decent dining places we already have. Nonetheless, the (presumably significant) rent will provide useful income to the King George's Field Charity Board who administer Mile End Park.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014



Do you want to be sent local planning alerts automatically via email? I find the PLANNING FINDER website great for this and get an email from them once a week with clickable entries. It only takes a minute to register.

You never know you might see your own planning application!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Dog Show & Community Fair: Sun 13th July

Next Sunday is the Friends of Mile End Park Dog Show & Community Fair which usually attracts lots of Meotra residents. It should be great fun this year with new attractions such as a clown and magician as well as the regular attractions such as facepainting and tee-shirt printing. There will be lots of community stalls and of course the Dog Show. This year the Dog Show has been revamped and we also hope to have The Happiness of Hounds providing a Dog Agility Course.

Please pop along for a while if you can - it should be great fun.

If you are able to help in any way (setting up in the morning, litter picking, or "striking camp" at the end then that would be great - you might even get a free ice cream :) )

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Results of May Local Council Elections

As I expect most of you are aware we recently had our local government elections in Tower Hamlets to elect a Mayor and local councillors. I'm sorry for the belated, though somewhat appropriate, posting of these results.

LOCAL COUNCILLORS: In our particular ward, Bow West, Joshua Peck was reelected for Labour together with the newly elected Asma Begum also for Labour. Congratulations to both of them on being elected with such a high proportion of the vote (each with more than three times the vote of the next candidate Jainal Chowdhury representing Tower Hamlets First). The turnout of 52% was very high.

The results across the borough were much more mixed with Tower Hamlets First picking up lots of seats in the West of the borough, Labour's seats are mainly in the East and the Conservatives have a small number adjacent to the river. No single party has a clear majority of seats.

The election for Blackwall & Cubitt Town Ward will take place on Thursday 3rd of July with three seats up for grabs.

THE TOWER HAMLETS MAYORAL ELECTIONS: This was a closely fought campaign and probably explains the high turn out across the borough.It is fair to say it polarised the borough along pro- and anti-Rahman lines. In total there were ten candidates (double the previous mayoral election).No one candidate had a clear majority and so second preference votes were counted. Lutfur Rahman was re-elected with a majority of 3,252 on a turnout of 47%.

Summer Newsletter Out Now!

The Meotra Summer newsletter is out now with details of our imminent Fun Day and all sorts of local news and info. It should have made it's way through your letterbox by now, but if not you can download a copy here.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Meeting about the future of the Art Pavilion

Just a quick reminder that the meeting to discuss the future of the Art Pavilion is on Thursday. Light refreshments will be available in the Eco Pavilion from 7PM with the meeting starting at 7.30PM prompt.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Our AGM: This Thursday

The 2014 Meotra AGM is this Thursday 3rd April. Drinks and nibbles from 7.00pm for 7.45pm. The venue is the Epiphanus Church in Lichfield Road.. I hope you can make it. The agenda is here

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Future of the Art Pavilion in Clinton Road

Tower Hamlets Council have decided that the Mile End Park Art Pavilion in Clinton Road is to be used for weddings instead of Art exhibitions every year from June to August inclusively and perhaps running into May and September.

This decision was taken in a closed meeting of the King George's Field Charity Board on the 29th of January. The Board consists of the Tower Hamlets Mayor and his cabinet. There were only three of the Board present at the meeting which is the minimum for the meeting to be quorate. 

MEOTRA were not consulted over this change in use and to our knowledge neither were the residents of Clinton Road, although they will undoubtedly be affected by the increased traffic, demand for parking and noise.

The pond and island are scheduled to be gated off and it is thought weddings will have a marquee on the island too.

Further details on this development can be found on the Friends of Mile End Park website

On Thursday 10th April at 7.30 pm in the Eco Pavilion (as the Art Pavilion is closed from the 1st of April to allow the necessary building works to begin) there will be a meeting of the Friends of Mile End Park to discuss these developments. Steve Murray, Head of Arts and Parks has confirmed he will attend.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Coffee Room: New Italian-run shop in Grove Road

Meotra has a new coffee shop on our patch: The Coffee Room, in Grove Road. It does a good selection of teas and coffees and some really delicious cakes.They also sell bread. It is a couple of doors along from the Greedy Cow and occupies the shop where Philip the Barber was for many years. I think it is a welcome addition to the area. Pop in and treat yourself to a slice of Victoria sponge. 

The Spring MEOTRA newsletter has just come out. You should receive a copy through your letterbox over the next few days. Alternatively you can download one here. It contains details of the forthcoming AGM which is a particularly important one as we need to find a new Chair and Events Coordinator. Please do make an effort to attend. It is one of the few occasions when we get together as neighbours and is actually quite a social event.

Monday, 24 February 2014

A Spring Medley of News

This Friday 28th February is the joint council and police walkabout in our area, including Tredegar Square. MEOTRA will be raising the issue of large numbers of youths in the Square. Although numbers had gone down in January, it seems that the lighter evenings are bringing them back, with around 30 being there last Friday.

If residents have any other areas relating to safety or crime then they can email Sue Johnstone

MEOTRA AGM - This is scheduled for the 3rd April from 7.15PM and will be an important meeting concerning the future of MEOTRA. More info will be in the newsletter due out in the first weekend in March.

Finally, a personal plea from me: I spend quite a bit of my spare time cleaning up litter from the Regents Canal with a small but friendly bunch of volunteers.

We do towpath cleanups and also water-based ones via canoe which is great fun. We now have a facebook page which you might want to "like" and also have entered into a competition to win "1000 hours" of volunteer time by ZipCar employees. You can vote for us by liking that page too