Tuesday, 21 September 2021

A new Walking Route - linking lots of Tower Hamlets blue and green spaces

This week sees the launch of GoParksTowerHamlets which is the local (Tower Hamlets) part of GoParksLondon, a project which aims to promote all of London’s parks and green spaces (over 4000 of them!) as well as the park friends groups who help make them so wonderful.

Tower Hamlets has more than 130 blue and green spaces across the borough and you can visit GoParksTowerHamlets to find out more about them, things to do, what facilities they have, and find out more about the Park Friends groups involved with them.

To celebrate the launch, GoParksTowerHamlets have put together a walking route linking most of the parks. The image below links to the google map of the route.

On Sunday 26th September at 10AM the walking route will be launched, with a two hour walk along a section of it, starting at Sir John McDougall Gardens on the IoDs. If you'd like to join this FREE walk then please book on Eventbrite.

Changes to Bus routes D7 and 277

On Saturday 18 September, TfL made changes to the frequency of the D7 bus route:

  • Buses now run every 10 minutes instead of every 8 minutes on Monday to Saturday during both the peak hours and during the day
  • There will be no change to the evening or Sunday service

On Saturday 25 September, they are also making changes to the frequency of the 277 bus route:

  • Buses will run every 10 minutes instead of every 6-7 minutes on Monday to Saturday during both the peak hours and during the day
  • Buses will run every 12 minutes instead of every 10 minutes during the evening and all day on Sundays

The TfL Go app provides information on real-time bus arrivals, status updates and the quieter times to travel. 

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Holy Trinity Church Open Today (Sunday 05-09-2021) as part of Open House London

Today (Sunday 05-09-2021) Holy Trinity Church in Morgan Street is open as part of the Open House London festival for guided tours on the hour and at 2PM there is a talk on recycling restoration waste.

Holy Trinity Bow is a magnificent Grade C listed Church built between 1834 and 1839 to designs by Daniel and James Austin local surveyors that lies within the Tredegar Square Conservation Area on a site given by the developer of Tredegar Square, Sir Charles Morgan. It is surrounded by an unused church yard filled with interesting monuments and gravestone. 
After decades of closure and falling into disrepair Holy Trinity Church Bow has undergone extensive restoration work funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and has been transformed into a stunning venue.

Guided Tours

Our tour guides will tell you about the history of the building, the surrounding area and the community.

The guided tours, run by local volunteers, will begin on the hour each hour from 11am - 2pm on Sunday. No booking is required, please drop in.

Talk: Recycling Restoration Waste

The talk will be held on Sunday at 2pm. No booking is required, please drop in.

Designer/researcher Mala Siamptani will present one of HAC 's ongoing arts project: the process of converting building renovation waste into a valuable material resource.

During this short talk Mala will discuss the different types of recycling waste and their applications, as well as presenting samples she has created with previous workshop participants.

Mala Siamptani is a design practitioner with substantial experience in the research, development and delivery of creative projects in Fashion, Design and Art sector. After obtaining two Masters degrees and currently conducting a PhD research, Mala runs her studio in east London specializing in the design and manufacture of products and sculptural objects

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Redevelopment of Onyx House, 401 Mile End Road

Conversion works approach completion

In January 2019 Tower Hamlets Council, proposed to lease 401 Mile End Road (aka Onyx House) from Gateway Housing. A planning application was submitted for the:

 "Conversion of the existing college/teaching institution to temporary accommodation units. Change of use from D1 (non residential institutions) to C3 (dwelling houses)"

and this was approved in March 2019. The plans include secure bike storage at the rear, accessed from the east side of the building boundary near the Territorial Army Centre, as well as concealed bin storage inside the southwest boundary fence. The development is car-free.

The redevelopment will consist of 15 self-contained flats and this temporary accommodation is scheduled to last for five years and provide temporary accommodation to allow the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to reduce its homelessness. The application received two objections which were chiefly concerned about parking issues and the potential for increased ASB and drug use. The council will have a management plan in place which will mitigate these issues. Additionally LBTH have stated: "No offer of accommodation will be made to a household where there is a known history of behaviour that would make a placement inappropriate. This will include anti-social behaviour, drug and alcohol misuse, violent and other criminal behaviour".

The conversion is on schedule to be completed in the first two weeks of August.

The first known building that was standing on this site was the so called Essex House, an early 18th century mansion. The building was facing Mile End Road with a large garden behind. After 1891 it was the home of Charles Robert Ashbee, of the Arts and Craft movement, who had here workshops producing metalwork and jewellery for which he became famous. After he moved in 1902, Essex House survived another 35 years, but was demolished in 1937 to make way for an art deco style Odeon cinema that opened in 1938. The cinema survived the war and although changing function later in its life, it occupied the site until 1984 when it was demolished. The present building with its unusual façade is attributed to Piers Gough, who lives locally, and is the architect responsible for the nearby Green Bridge. 

Essex House, demolished 1937

The 2,304 seater Mile End Odeon cinema demolished in 1984

Monday, 19 July 2021

COVID-19 in Tower Hamlets - Local vaccination info

Across the UK, as a percentage, more adults have had their second jab than those in Tower Hamlets who have had their first (see the graphs below). Many ideas have been suggested for this lag including the relative young age of the borough's population and vaccine hesitancy due to misinformation.

One other reason is finding the time to get the jab. Tower Hamlets Council have lots of locations where people can go, including the Art Pavilion in Mile End Park which is the borough's principal vaccination site with vaccinations available from 8.30am to 7.20PM daily without a booking, making it easier to fit around work. You don't need ID.

Vaccination Data taken from UK Government COVID-19 dashboard 4pm 17th July

Sunday, 18 July 2021

MEOTRA - Location, Location, Location

I recently came across a triplet of  videos filmed on location in the Meotra area. Admittedly they are getting on a bit, but I thought you might enjoy a gander. (You may have to view this post  via our website to see the YouTube links)

First off is comedian Holly Burn, who used to live in Morgan Street, with her spoof  "73 Questions with Victoria Beckham Vogue "(3.20 mins).  Filmed in Ye Olde Corner Shoppe, Robert even gets a speaking part in between grinning away. The real Victoria Beckham liked it so much she tweeted it to her followers

Holly is back in Robert's shop for a Line of Duty spoof which is brilliant (2.20 mins). We see the return of Robert's grin, but the scene stealer is the roll of carpet. Lichfield, Morgan, Aberavon and Alloway are all featured. Enjoy.

Finally we have Russell from WJ Meade in an episode of Unsellables UK. (27 mins). The whole episode is about a house in the Meotra area that is difficult to shift and has been on the market for 10 months. Russell does manage to get a Gene Wilder reference in there when discussing the fourth bedroom and it all ends well after electric blue and pink are swapped for more neutral colours.

The house prices mentioned are light years away from current ones. See if you can work out when it was filmed? The absence of black masonry paint might help you date the programme?

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Free Exhibition: A PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY OF HOLY TRINITY BOW (24th and 25th July)

Next Saturday and Sunday 24th and 25th July there is a newly curated photographic exhibition at Holy Trinity Church Bow (now renamed The Arts and Heritage Centre Bow (https://thehac.org)).

The exhibition will enable you to find out the story of the building and the community it served for almost two centuries. Guided tours will bring memory, history and images to life in an event celebrating the heritage and the people of Bow.

You can book your place for free via the dedicated Eventbrite page or just attend on Saturday 24th or Sunday 25th July  any time between 11-4PM

St Marylebone Music Festival -18th - 23rd July


Tomorrow sees the start of the annual St Marylebone music festival. Full details are available here.

The One Creation Climate Change Concert on Wednesday 21st July at 7PM, features songs and texts inspired by music from diverse backgrounds and is coordinated by Meotra resident Alice Sielle who also provides visuals. The concert is directed by Gavin Roberts.

You can book tickets here: https://www.stmarylebonefestival.com/events-1/one-creation

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Interview with Meotra resident Alice Sielle

You may have recently spotted the wonderful interview with Alice Sielle in the Roman Road eZine.

Alice is a Meotra stalwart: being a long-term resident, host of our Fun Day "Splat the Rat" game, and one of our chief suppliers of warm mince pies at the Carols in the Square each December.

Alice moved into the Square in 1984 and remembers the house as being "covered in corrugated iron". I know of at least one other resident whose house seemingly relied on corrugated iron to exclude the elements. But as is so often, no one seems to have taken any photos? If anyone has got any such photos then please get in touch.

Enjoy the video above (it probably won't show in the email and you may have to go to our website to see it or on YouTube). How many Meotra residents you can spot?

Alice at the Meotra Fun Day

Friday, 28 May 2021

AGM Postponed - But Open Meeting for Residents next Week on Thursday 3rd June at 7PM on Zoom


Following the article about the proposed changes to the MEOTRA constitution a couple of days ago, some residents have got in touch, and after considering their feedback the committee have decided to cancel the scheduled AGM next Thursday. These are the key reasons:

  1. Residents have indicated they would prefer to have a REAL MEETING in person.
  2. One resident has said half term is not suitable for those with families
  3. A number of older residents have said they have poor Internet and/or they don't/can't use Zoom.
  4. I have spoken with some people who have been deep shielding (and now have had two jabs) and they both feel they would be able to attend a physical meeting in a well ventilated building.
  5. The last AGM was only 6 month ago
  6. Feedback suggests the constitution needs more work and needs a longer and more detailed period of consultation.

Of the above, the last point is particularly important: we want to get this constitution right. Thanks to those who have got in touch offering to help redraft it (from quite different stances!) and lets  do that with your help.

The idea of MEOTRA becoming a charity has also been mooted, as this would really help make sure our objectives are really clear and comes with the level of checks and balances (not just financial ones) that we are keen on. We want to look at that.

When COVID-related issues subside further and the proposed constitution is WordPerfect® we will look at dates.

Open Meeting Thursday June 3rd, 7PM on Zoom

So next Thursday 3rd June at 7PM we will hold an open meeting for residents to discuss the proposed constitution and an open discussion on members' thoughts and feelings on planning, the Conservation areas etc.

I will try and get some "experts" on hand and might even manage to to make it "fun" in parts. The key thing is I will endeavour to give everyone an opportunity to be heard.

I will email the registration info over the weekend.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Countdown to the MEOTRA AGM: Proposed Changes to the Constitution


1975 - West Ham win the FA Cup, “George Davis is Innocent” graffiti springs up all over east London and MEOTRA is formed. The MEOTRA constitution has been largely unchanged since then, with the last revision in 1996 at the request of Clinton Road residents to include them within our residents’ association.

When elected as Chair in October 2020 one of my stated aims was to produce an updated constitution to put to the members at the 2021 AGM. The committee has agreed to propose a revised constitution and we now put it to you, the residents in the MEOTRA area, to vote upon at our forthcoming AGM on Thursday 3rd June.

You can read the proposed constitution here, and compare it to the existing 1996 one here.

Why revise the constitution and what key changes are proposed?


MEOTRA endeavours to have a committee that is representative of the WHOLE area. We currently have a committee drawn from 7 of its 14 streets, a range of ages, renters and home owners, those who have lived here for years and those that are recent arrivals, ethnicities, single members, families, sexualities. It is about as wide-ranging as it could realistically be. It has long been a tacit aim to have a widely representative committee and now we just want to put that in writing. 

Adding scope for more residents to help out

For years long-term residents such as Vivian, Alice and Allen have automatically turned up with mulled wine, mince pies and even their own Splat the Rat! We would like MEOTRA to involve more residents than those on the committee and a few stalwarts in contributing to the running of the organisation. The proposal is to use sub-committees with a wider membership to organise things such as:

  • The Fun Day,

  • Carols Singing in the Square

and collaborate with other groups to improve the natural environment: Tredegar Square, Holy Trinity churchyard, the scheduled pocket park at the west end of Lichfield Road and increasing the number of trees throughout the area. 


One of MEOTRA’s key roles has been to try and maintain the character and appearance of the Tredegar Square and Clinton Road Conservation Areas (CAs) and that has been done by making representations to the Council on planning applications based on planning policy principles such as the Council’s Character Appraisal and Management Guidelines for each of our two CAs; the Local Plan and the London Plan.

If MEOTRA hadn’t fought Tower Hamlets planning department over the years then the homes where many of us live would have been flattened and turned into parkland as part of the ‘70s slum clearances.We have managed to have the old toll house on the corner of Grove and Mile End Roads listed, played a major role in preventing the proposed 43-storey Benjy’s Towers and prevented the replacement of the Grove Road Texaco Garage with what would have been a tall dominant block of flats. We have alas failed to stop the proposed demolition of the old blacksmiths in Grove Road, but we continue to fight to keep the Greedy Cow site as it has looked for some 140 years. 

In November 2015 Tower Hamlets Council consulted on allowing Mansard roofs within the Tredegar Square Conservation Area. Letters were sent to all 1,045 addresses informing residents how to engage in the consultation. Only 40 responses were received. Of these a majority of 55% did not want to see Mansards. MEOTRA kept out of this council consultation.

The committee proposes “the Association shall not normally become involved in planning applications or other disputed issues of an individual nature”. We propose to continue to make representations on commercial applications, but not ones submitted by neighbours. Likewise the committee will not campaign or lobby on behalf of groups of residents for changes to the area's planning policies.

We are proposing the above, to avoid division within MEOTRA. In any case, a letter from the MEOTRA committee counts no more than any other that raises the same planning points. Decisions are made by planning officers based on planning policy not on who makes representations.

Other headline changes:

  • The constitution hasn’t been revised in 25 years and is showing its age.

  • An Equal Opportunities section has been added

  • The quorate for the AGM and SGMs has been reduced from 30 to 20

  • The previous version had very few checks and balances.

  • Clear financial controls have been added

  • It now incorporates a code of conduct

  • A declaration of interest had been added

  • Rather than election by secret ballot (which no one recalls being used) we propose to use a show of hands

  • Coborn was misspelt!

Tomorrow we will publish information on the AGM, how to register to attend (via Zoom), how to propose amendments and how to stand for the committee

Monday, 26 April 2021

Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood Plan - deadline for feedback is Tuesday 27th April


MEOTRA residents will recall MEOTRA has participated in formulating the Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood plan for some five years now and we have numerous website articles dedicated to it (see 1, 2 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).

This video gives a TWO minute reminder of what neighbourhood plans are all about.

The deadline for feeding back on the draft Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood Plan is tomorrow, Tuesday 27th April. The draft plan runs to some 86 pages and it references several appended documents that are similarly sized. If this plan is adopted it is valid for ten years and so your feedback is important.

Whilst the size of the documents may sound daunting, don't be put off as they contain lots of graphics and photos and you'd be surprised how quickly you can skim through them. As they are in PDF format you can also search them electronically - just hit "Ctrl +F" on your keyboard and search through them for topics that you want to find. For example if you live in Lichfield Road it is mentioned just once (regarding the Lord Tredegar). The Palm Tree three times and alas the Greedy Cow none.

The supporting and evidence documents can be found on this page

Massive apologies for getting this reminder out late to residents, but if you do have a spare 30-60 minutes then have a look at the draft plan and then submit your feedback via the contact page. Alternatively, you can email over your thoughts to: forum@romanroadbowneighbourhoodplan.org

Friday, 16 April 2021

Mile End Park User Survey Extended until 23th April


Nine Cygnets!

To celebrate the hatching this morning of nine cygnets at the Art Pavilion Lake the Friends of Mile End Park are extending their park user survey until Friday 23rd April.

The next 5-6 weeks are critical for the cygnets. If you want to feed swans then give them fresh bread (mould is poisonous to them), grain such as wheat or corn, and fresh greens such as lettuce or spinach. The food should be thrown onto the water so that they can swallow water with the food – feeding them on land is environmentally unsound and encourages the swans to leave the water whenever they see people which can bring them into harm from dogs etc. If you walk your dog in the Park, then please can you keep it on its lead when near the swans and their young.

You can find lots of information about swans on the swan sanctuary website



Hopefully the Egyptian geese will put on a rival show soon

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Your chance to influence Police Priorities in Bow West


Safer Neighbourhood Team

Every three months the police in Bow West meet with local residents and community leaders to help decide local policing priorities at a Ward Panel Meeting. The meeting is community led and chaired by a local [MEOTRA] resident.

We have a meeting coming up in a few weeks and PC Sam Lowe 1901CE, who is part of the Bow West Safer Neighbourhood Team, is keen for residents to take just a couple of minutes to complete a survey regarding Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) and crime within our area:


The survey helps choose the local priorities for the next three months. It is anonymous and really does only take a few minutes.

The other members of our Safer Neighbourhood Team are: PCSO Alex Adolphe, Police Sergeants Mohammed Rahman and Clare Thomas, and Police Constables Jack Green and Sam Lowe. 

You can look at recent Bow West crime data on the Met's website. The February stats are below:

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Mile End Park - User survey


Mile End and Mile End Park mean different things to different people. Agustin Kafka has made a heart-warming song and video dedicated to Mile End based on Wings' "My Love". It features lots of local scenes including Clinton, Lichfield and Alloway Road and Morgan Street and there is some excellent air guitar.

[If you are reading this on a mobile then you won't see the video above so here's the link to it].

The Friends of Mile End Park want to know what you think of the Park. You can write a song and shoot a video if you want, but you will find it quicker to complete this short survey instead.

Let them know what you like and dislike and any ideas to improve the park. The survey results will be fed back to the Park Management Team to inform how the park is managed and your responses will help shape the Friends priorities and activities as we all emerge from lockdown this Spring.

An added incentive..... a COVID-compliant meal (ie sitting outside!) for two at the Greedy Cow. (If you want to enter the draw for the meal then please include your email at the end of the survey).

If you want to enter the Prize Draw please complete the survey by midnight on the 16th April

[A] Bird Watching
[A] Bird Watching Pfizer Jabbing