Thursday 29 December 2016

On-street Secure Cycle Storage is coming to Tower Hamlets

A bike hangar in Hackney
Coming to a street near you?

You may have noticed "Bikehangars" such as the one above dotted around London. Each provides secure on-street cycle storage for residents and stores up to six bicycles. Their galvanized steel construction and gas-assisted door offer a safe and effective way to protect bikes from tough weather conditions and vandalism. 

Typically it costs around £10 to £60 per year to rent a space in a Bikehangar (this varies from borough to borough) with Tower Hamlets seeming to be at the expensive end (but we can work on that!). As you can see from the map below the scheme has really taken off in some parts of London (Southwark, Hackney, Lambeth and Waltham Forest), but Tower Hamlets only has 3 to Lambeth's 220+.

The scheme is run by Cyclehoop who work with local councils to provide a fully managed rental scheme. Their website has a simple form where you can suggest a location in or near your street. To speed the process up it helps to canvas neighbours and there is a flyer available for download to help with this.

Please let MEOTRA know if you think this is something that would be good in our neighbourhood by emailing 

A map of inner London showing bike hangar locations.

Tower Hamlets' Borough Plan (aka Local Plan): Deadline 2nd January

Santa taping feet impatiently waiting for Christmas

Well we are more than halfway through the festive season. If you have found yourself twiddling your toes like me you might want to take a look and comment on the Tower Hamlets Local Plan 2031. This plan will guide development, identify how land is used and shape our neighbourhood by determining what will be built where. It is over 500 pages and there are around 1000 comments so far, although thankfully there is a contents page. I found it easiest to download the plan and search the document using Ctrl-F putting in words of interest like "cycle", "Grove Road", "Morgan Street" etc.

David, our eagle-eyed planning guru, has put together the map below summarising the proposals affecting MEOTRA. The main one is a new Strategic Pedestrian / Cycling Link Improvement, running through Tredegar Square and nearby streets. This is apparently to enable people to walk/cycle from Mile End Station to Roman Road. The planners haven't been able to tell MEOTRA what the route might look like. Anything resembling the new Mile End Road layout would surely not be welcome and be out of character with the square. There are similar plans to improve Grove Road for cyclists and pedestrians.

Please comment, and please send a copy of your comment to

The deadline for comments is 23.59 on 2nd January

A map of the Mile End area annotated with aspects of the Local Plan
LBTH map showing planning highlights across Tower Hamlets.

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Bow Church Christmas Fair - Sat 10th December 1-3PM

Flyer for the Bow Church Christmas Fair
Hope to see some of you there - though my staff Christmas party is the night before! So no mulled wine for me.

Sunday 4 December 2016

URGENT ACTION REQUIRED: Deadline Tuesday 6th December to oppose Office Development

Photos and plans of the proposed office development at the rear of 48-52 Grove Road

The deadline for objecting to this plan is Tuesday. You can object via email to, but please do so ASAP stating where you live and also the planning reference number PA/16/03093.

This time last year you might recall a developer tried to build a house in the garden of 48-52 Grove road. This was refused by Tower Hamlets council and then on appeal by the Secretary of State.

The same developers are now using the Christmas period to try and slip through an application to turn the site into an office building. Not a live-work development, but a dedicated office all 60m2 of it.

If this development goes ahead then it will destroy the largely open, undeveloped aspect of our rear gardens. This could set a precedent and lead to an increase of office buildings in the area which would totally ruin the character of our neighbourhood. The scheme amounts to building a substantial office building in our back gardens

The previous application was refused as:
1. The proposed development by virtue of its unacceptable siting, results in an unsympathetic addition that is at odds with the existing built environment. Furthermore, the proposal does not represent a place sensitive design, and fails to preserve the character and appearance of the Tredegar Square Conservation Area. As such, the proposal fails to accord with policy SP10 of the adopted Core Strategy and Policy DM24 and DM27 of the Managing Development Document, which seek an acceptable design that protects the historic environment.
2. The proposed development by virtue of its height and siting forms an unneighbourly form of development that adversely impacts on the amenity of adjacent properties by an increased sense of enclosure. As such, the proposal fails to accord with policy SP10 of the adopted Core Strategy and DM25 of the Managing Development Document, which seeks to protect residential amenity.
The above points still hold and so the proposal should be refused.

When the flats at 48-52 Grove Road were built it was stipulated that this section at the rear was to be used as amenity space for the 11 flats built on the site of the 1988 church. I remember a pretty little picture of a winding path with wonderful cherry trees. Instead of trying to build on every last patch of land maybe St Johns should do what they were given planning permission for, or let neighbours plant a wildflower garden on the site. 

I realise it is a busy time of year, and that you might not be directly affected by the proposals, but if you could write a brief letter of objection that would be much appreciated.

Thursday 1 December 2016

FAMILY BULB PLANTING 10-12 noon Saturday 3rd December

Residents bulb planting in Tredegar Square Gardens

Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who turned up on a cold but sunny morning for the Big Dig of the flowerbed in Tredegar Square last Saturday. As a result we finished in record time and now have a rejuvenated bed full of plants all ready for the final addition of lots of spring bulbs this Saturday 3rd December. 

We'd love it if MEOTRA residents could help us plant bulbs on Saturday from 10-12 noon. Children are very welcome as long as they are supervised by their parents or guardians. We will provide some trowels but if you have any of your own please bring them along. As it has been cold, we are also providing spades and would really appreciate anyone who fancies doing some digging to help us to help the children get the bulbs in the ground - because of Mile End squirrels the bulbs have to go in a little deeper than normal. 

This MEOTRA event, like all our events, is completely free and open to all MEOTRA residents so do come along and meet your neighbours.

Young and old gardening together in Tredegar Square Gardens

Sunday 27 November 2016

Roman Road Neighbourhood Plan - Closing Date 23rd December 2016

A map of the Roman Road Neighbourhood area
Just to recap: A group known as "The Roman Roman Road Neighbourhood Forum" have submitted an application to Tower Hamlets that seeks to define the area over which they will be able to influence development. The area includes the whole of MEOTRA as shown above.

This short (2 minute) video explains the whole neighbourhood plan concept and is well worth watching.

Having read the 19-page application my main thoughts are:
  1. The name of the area is wrong. It should be called "Bow Neighbourhood"
  2. The forum is far too Roman Road orientated in membership, emphasis and focus.
  3. There has not been "extensive consultation" as stated in the application.

The name of the area is wrong. It should be called "Bow Neighbourhood"
Why does the name matter? Well if you want those of us who live or work in the area to feel it is "our plan" then it makes sense to name it after the geographical area it covers. Calling it "Roman Road Neighbourhood" will leave large numbers of residents feeling it has nothing to do with them. That is until they submit a planning application or want to oppose one, only to find "their neighbourhood" has a different view. Even the application states "The proposed plan area broadly coincides with the ward boundaries for Bow West and Bow East". So just call it "Bow Neighbourhood" then?

The forum is far too Roman Road orientated in membership, emphasis and focus.
This neighbourhood plan initiative was born out of the Roman Road Trust and several key members are on the Forum's Steering Committee. Indeed it seems all the steering committee closely identify with Roman Road. When it comes to drawing up the Neighbourhood Plan itself then it seems highly likely their focus will be on the Roman Road area. Indeed in their application they state:

"For the Roman Road to continue to function as a local high street in years to come, it is important that the needs and views of the surrounding residents inform the plan, and not just taking into account  the needs and views of the businesses on the Roman Road itself".
So they want to hear our views, but only about Roman Road?

For many of us in MEOTRA, although we like the Roman Road we also want to see the high street where we live develop. It is easy to think we don't have a high street but when you list some of the shops on our doorstep whether that be the chains (Co-op, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Costa, Starbucks, KFC, Subway), or the ever-growing number of quality independents (The Coffee Room, The Pizza Room, The Greedy Cow, Italian Kitchen, Rusty Bike, Ye Olde Corner Shop to name but a few) you realise that given a nudge in the right direction (ie a decent Neighbourhood Plan) we could have our own High Street to rival the Roman. Think about the almost guaranteed redevelopment of the Benjy's site, Onyz House, the TA building and the Gateway Housing site; not to mention the potential for developing the area immediately around Mile End Station (the Forensic Labs that closed last year, the area above (sic!) Mile End station). Most of these developments are likely to have shops at ground floor level (yes some of us pray for an M&S Simply Foods or dare I say a Waitrose).

There has not been "extensive consultation" as stated in the application.
The combined population of Bow West and Bow East Wards is just over 27,000 and yet the key stats of the forum are: Facebook (19 members, 5 administrators, 4 posts), Twitter (11 tweets, 19 followers), Website (only 5 posts, 3 of which were written on the same day [16th November 2016]). Those figures don't look very "extensive"!

The application states:
"In June 2016 at Caxton Hall the consultation focused on key community organisations representing diverse groups and age ranges to make sure the voices of those communities are heard in the boundary allocation and future content of the neighbourhood plan". 
But the MEOTRA committee has never been contacted or met with those running the Forum. MEOTRA only found out about the meeting by a member keeping his ear to the ground and seeing a tweet two days before the meeting. Another local community group "The Friends of Mile End Park" (FOMEP) has also not been contacted, although a representative from the Forum arrived uninvited and unannounced at the FOMEP Community Fair in July and proceeded to "consult". Together these two groups amount to around 20% of the proposed area. The application also states British Waterways has been consulted with and yet this organisation hasn't existed since 2012?

Something else I have noted is the lack of any minutes from the meetings that have taken place so far. The inaugural meeting, elections, consultations have all taken place without any minutes.

Don't get me wrong I want a Neighbourhood Plan, but it has to be for Bow and have people from all over the proposed area help shape it; not just a few people focusing on one small part of the area however well-intentioned they are.

Please email with your views.

Residents have until Friday 23rd December to put their views in writing to the council by emailing them to or:

Neighbourhood Planning Consultation
D&R Strategic Planning
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
PO BOX 55739
E14 1BY

Monday 21 November 2016

Tower Hamlets Parks and Open Spaces Consultation Event - Wednesday 23rd November (Ecology Pavilion)

Poor gardening - shrubs pruned days before the St John's Wort would have bloomed

Tower Hamlets Council is developing a five-year plan for its parks and open spaces and it is crucial that the plan takes on board the views of the community. With that in mind, this Wednesday sees a couple of consultation events at the Ecology Pavilion in Mile End Park.

The first session runs from 14.30 to 17.00, and for those unable to make that one, there is an evening session from 17.30-20.00. Both sessions will begin with a short presentation from the Council about our parks and open spaces and then users will have an opportunity to express their views on how they would like to see the borough's open spaces develop (for want of a better word).

One thing I'd like to see is for the guys on the ground to know more about plants. Late summer I was in Tredegar Square and noticed the St John's Wort above was just about to flower. Two days later I returned hoping to see it in all its glory, but was disappointed to see it had had all the buds chopped off.

What would you like to see? Pop along and have your say if you can spare the time - the Ecology Pavilion is only 'round the corner just passed the Britannia Fish Bar in Grove Road.

Mile End Park's Eco Pond in a state of disrepair
The Ecology Pavilion Pond, 22nd September 2016

Sunday 20 November 2016

Tredegar Square - Big Dig Saturday 26th November - 9.30am-1pm

Tredegar Square Gardens circular flower bed needs some TLC

Can you help next Saturday, the 26th November, to plant the above flower bed with plants and shrubs provided by the council?

This will be the first of two Meotra community gardening events this year. Over the past few months Meotra has met Tower Hamlets Council with the aim of giving the Tredegar Square Gardens their first major replantings since approximately 1988 when the above bed was "installed".

Last Wednesday the bed was rotovated by the council's Green and Clean Team and some 300 litres of well-rotted manure mixed in (thanks to Margaret Winniak for fetching and carrying it all!).  The ground is now really friable and ready for us to plant the many dozens of plants and shrubs that the council is providing.

Can you help provide some manpower for the planting? Anyone over 16 is welcome and if you have spades and forks you can bring even better - although we will have some tools. It would be great to see some of you come along. There will be hot drinks on offer, and afterwards we'll go for a coffee or maybe even something stronger.

A big thank you to all those from the Council who have helped, but especially to Keith Woodard who has put lots of time and effort into arranging everything from the council's side of things.

The week after, on Saturday 3rd November (10-12 noon) we are having a Family Planting Day to plant a thousand daffodil, grape hyacinth and narcissi bulbs around Tredegar Gardens. Again we will have some trowels, but if you have your own please bring them along. 

I hope some of you can help out at one or other of these events which promise to be a wonderful pre-Christmas event bringing neighbours together.

Sunday 13 November 2016

Roman Road Neighbourhood Plan - Area Application submitted

A map showing the Roman Road Neighbourhood Plan area

In Tower Hamlets it seems you can tell when Christmas is 'round the corner as it is when important planning applications get submitted. Last year it was to build flats on the Grove Road Texaco site, the tower block on the site of Benjy's, and the house in a MEOT back garden. 

This year's present comes from a group known as "The Roman Road Neighbourhood Forum". I have written about them before, and although their aims (currently largely unknown) are I'm sure well intentioned, it remains to be seen if the whole "neighbourhood plan thing" is right for us in MEOTRA and if this incarnation of it, in particular, best serves us. 

So as well as getting the kids and relatives presents, staggering through work parties, all that food shopping and getting the house ready for Chrimbo you've also got to see if you can find time to absorb and comment on this.

I received the following email from the council which links to the 19-page application form and details how you can obtain further info and also comment on the application. So if you have a spare half hour can I suggest you click on the links below and see what you think. I'll write soon with further info soon, but please try and take a look.

Neighbourhood Planning Area Consultation
 A consultation period has begun on an application by the community group ‘The Roman Road Neighbourhood Forum’ to establish a Neighbourhood Area in the borough, in the Roman Road area (Core Strategy ‘Place’: Bow, Wards: Bow East and Bow West).

Neighbourhood Planning was introduced by the Localism Act (2011) and enables community groups to submit applications to the Council to establish ‘Neighbourhood Planning Forums’ and ‘Neighbourhood Planning Areas’.

The Plan Making Team has assessed that the application includes the necessary information required by legislation to determine the application. If the Council designates the Area, no other applications are able to be ‘made’ for the area until the designation is withdrawn.

Before the Council is able to determine the applications, a 6-week consultation period is required by legislation to be carried out within the proposed Neighbourhood Planning Area. Your views are sought on the application.

The application materials may be inspected free of charge from Friday 11th November 2016 to Friday 23rd December 2016 at the following locations:

•             on the Council’s website•             at the Tower Hamlets Town Hall reception
•             at Idea Store Bow, 1 Gladstone Place, Roman Road, E3 5ES

The focus of the consultation is on people who live, work or carry out business in the proposed Neighbourhood Planning Area. Responses from individuals or groups in other locations are also welcome. Written responses should be made by 5pm on Friday 23rd December 2016.

Responses should be sent to  or to:

Neighbourhood Planning Consultation
D&R Strategic Planning
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
PO BOX 55739
London E14 1BY

Sunday 23 October 2016

Halloween Events this week in Mile End and Victoria Parks

Flyer for the Halloween events in Mile End Park and Victoria Park

Halloweek Events

This week Mile End and Victoria Parks are putting lots of spooky activities for a special half term Halloweek!
All of the events are free, but some have very limited spaces so will need to be booked in advance:

Pumpkin Carving | Monday 24 October | 12pm - 3pm
It’s time to get your scare on! Start your Halloween this year by making your own Petrifying Pumpkin!
Meet at The Hub Building.
For more information, please email here

Creepy Crafts | Tuesday 25 October | 12pm - 3pm
Scary spiders, blood-curdling bats and ghastly ghosts! Come and get creative with the Community Park Rangers.
Meet at The V&A Building.

For more information, please email here

SOUP DAY |  Tuesday 25 October 12-4PM
Come and brew up some delicious soup with produce from the Park's Grow Zone 
Mile End Children's Park, Locksley Street, E14 7EJ. No need to book. Call 020 7364 3937  or email here for more info.

TEENY  Halloweeny | Wednesday 26 October | 12-3PM
Spooky Halloween Treasure Hunt 1pm and repeated at 2pm
Apple Bobbing | Face Painting | Arts & Crafts
Mile End Children's Park, Locksley Street, E14 7EJ. No need to book. Call 020 7364 3937 or email here for more info.

Spooky Seeds and Tree Fruit Walk | Thursday 27 October | 1.30pm - 3.30pm
Join Terry Lyle (Friends of Tower Hamlet’s Cemetery Park) on a hunt around the park to find mysterious hidden seeds and fruits. See, taste, learn, collect and eat!
Spaces are limited – to book a place, please contact 0207 364 7968 or email

Parks after Dark - Werewolves, Wizards and The Mystery of the Dogs of Alcibiades | Friday 28 October | 6pm - 9pm
The highlight of our Halloweek is a truly terrifying night time tour of the park. Join the park staff for a horrific history stroll meeting werewolf’s, wizards and witches along the way. If you’re lucky, you’ll break the spell of the Dogs of Alcibiades and survive to tell the tale!
Not suitable for under 5s.
Places MUST be booked in advance - to book, please contact 0207 364 3937 or email

The Big Draw 2016 - The Junk Monster invades Vicky Park | Sunday 30 October | 11am - 3pm 
Join our community rangers to create Vicky Park’s most important historical monuments using recyclable household items and paint – then create a monster to destroy them! Hosted as part of The STEAM Powered Big Draw Festival 2016.
Spaces are limited – to book a place, please contact 0207 364 7968 or email

Saturday 3 September 2016

Open Day at Bow Police Station - Sunday 4th September 11-2PM

Exterior of Bow Road Police Station

This Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to visit the historic Bow Police Station, which first opened in 1903. It is open 11-2PM. As well as sitting in a cell, pretending to be Ashes to Ashes' Gene Hunt, you can also take a gander around the police horse stables. There are usually half a dozen or so horses. And of course, you can always take a bag of fresh manure home with you!

A historic photo of Bow Police Station  from 1903

Thursday 18 August 2016

Mansard Roofs - Latest LBTH advice.

A Photo of a Mansard Roof

Many Tower Hamlets residents who live in Conservation Areas would like to extend their properties, and last year the council produced an 18-page Mansard Roof Guidance Note to help residents across the borough understand the planning application process.

In addition, last November the Council produced a detailed draft Addendum to the existing Conservation Area Character Appraisal and Management Guidelines document, for eight of the borough's 58 conservation areas. Tredegar Square (but not Clinton Road) was one of the eight.

The Tredegar Square Addendum was put out for consultation between 23 November 2015 and 18 January 2016. Letters were sent to all the 1,045 addresses within the Tredegar Square Conservation Area informing residents how to engage in the consultation.

The Addendum is very detailed and maps the roof types of all of the non-listed buildings within the Tredegar Square CA. It lists some 47 properties where roof extension/alterations might be considered acceptable subject to a planning application (shown in sky blue below).

An annotated map of the Tredegar Square Conservation Area indicating houses where Mansard Roofs might be permissible
The western side of Tredegar Square CA

A few weeks ago, in July, the council published a summary of the consultation responses. If you think local election turnout is poor (52% for Bow West), then goodness knows what you will think of the response to the consultation: Of the 1,045 properties within the Tredegar Square CA, responses were received from a mere 40. Of these, 45% supported the Addendum and 55% objected to it.

On Tuesday 26th July 2016 the Tower Hamlets Cabinet met and formally approved addendums to six of the Conservation Area Management Plans including that for Tredegar Square.

The addendums for Driffield Road and Medway Conservation Areas have not been adopted. Instead, further research is being undertaken to more fully explore the potential for extensions in these areas.

That these two Conservation Areas appear to have received "special treatment" has not gone unnoticed by the Twitterati of Bow. But council planners see these areas as very different to Tredegar Square CA. Driffield and Medway have a consistency in the elevation of streets, unlike Tredegar which has a varied roofscape.

Buttermilk helps your house price reach levels other colours can't reach.
I can't believe it's not Buttermilk

Some MEOT residents are understandably dismayed that whilst some neighbours seem to get away with all sorts (plastic windows, non-traditional paint colours, bungalows at the end of the garden, etc) they can't get permission for what they consider to be sympathetic roof extensions.

This is the list of addresses in Tredegar Square Conservation Area where roof extension/alterations might be considered acceptable subject to a planning application:*

 Property Number
Addington Rd
1 Westwood Mews, 2 Westwood Mews.
Alloway Rd
Coborn Rd
14, 55, 57, 59, 59A, 61, 69, 71, 71B.
Grove Rd
4, 4a, 8, 8a, 8b.
Lichfield Rd
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 94, 95, 96, 97.
Morgan St
8A, 8B, 9, 9A, 9B, 9C, 9D, 10A, 10B, 10C.
Pembroke Mews
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Tredegar Square
1B, 1C, 1D.

*Inclusion on the list does not mean that a full mansard is acceptable. Where appropriate, alterations may simply be a small traditional dormer.

I understand the council is going to publish a more detailed summary of the consultation and I will pass that on when I have a copy.

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Planning News for the MEOTRA Area

The last few weeks have seen quite a few local planning issues come to a head, including the redevelopment of the Grove Road Texaco site and a developer losing an appeal to build a house at the end of residents' gardens in Grove, Litchfield and Alloway Roads.

Grove Road Texaco Site Redevelopment Scheme WITHDRAWN
The plan to build around 30 homes on the site has been withdrawn. You may recall that around 40 neighbours objected to the scheme and this large number triggered the scheme to be brought automatically to the council's planning committee. That the developers withdrew at this stage suggests they thought they would lose the application, and developers like to avoid that as it affects the land value and their chances of selling it on for a good price.

A map showing the the Texaco Garage area in relation to the conservation area boundary
On planning maps, the garage sticks out like a sore thumb as it is an island in a sea of Conservation Areas and protected park land. A seemingly obvious way to help protect how the site is developed in the future would be to alter the Clinton Road conservation area boundary to include the garage. Apparently, this isn't something the council does lightly and the boundaries aren't due to be reviewed for a few years. I have been reassured (somewhat) that the close proximity of the site to these two conservation areas and the park means the site will be treated almost as if it were in a CA.

Some MEOTRA residents are annoyed that all the letters opposing the plans have vanished from the council's planning site. Apparently, that is how it works. They can't keep our letters up there as the application doesn't exist anymore. Don't worry this MEOTRA site isn't going to remove our articles on the subject!

48-50 Grove Road - new house. Appeal dismissed.
Just a stone's throw from the garage and opposite is 48-50 Grove Road which was built 15 or so years ago on the site of the short-lived church (built 1988). When the flats were built, what would have been the rear garden of number 48 (before the Luftwaffe did their best) was given over to the flat residents as "amenity land". The developer's drawings showed an oasis of calm with wonderful shrubs and a path meandering through a wildflower meadow inhabited by red admirals. Instead, we got a black weed-proof membrane and industrial mulch that gave off a sour, acrid smell for months. It is now a playpark for a family of foxes and contains hundreds of pieces of litter.

So 15 or so years down the line the developer applied to build a house on the space, this application was refused; an appeal submitted to the secretary of state; and now this has been dismissed, in a wonderfully damning letter from a Mr Humphries from the ministry.

In the next articleI will look at the decision passed by the LBTH cabinet concerning Mansard Roof Applications by residents within Tower Hamlets and MEOTRA in particular.

Tuesday 2 August 2016

House Fire in Coborn Road

Four fire engines and 21 firefighters and officers were called to a fire at a mid-terraced house in Coborn Road, Bow on Sunday.

A small portion of the ground floor and the roof of the property were damaged by fire.

A 20 kilogram light portable gas cylinder was cooled and removed from the scene by firefighters.

One man was taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service.

The Brigade was called at 1454 and the fire was under control at 1620. Fire crews from Whitechapel, Shadwell, Dowgate and Dockhead fire stations attended the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Thursday 7 July 2016

24-HOUR SHUFFLE FESTIVAL 2016 – GODS + IDOLS + LIGHT 10AM Saturday 9th July – 10AM Sunday 10th July

Artwork for the Shuffle Festival

Building a giant, semi-living Golem in the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Deep in the woods of a London forest, in the burial place of 380,000 people, next to a colony of urban beehives, the world’s leading biological artists are collaborating with Shuffle, biochemical and tissue engineers to build a life-size golem, fashioned from mud and clay and studded with living cells grown in London’s scientific laboratories.

Inspired by the folklore of the Golem, the sculpture will be built by artists and scientists as a live performance over the course of a day, and marry old and new techniques of caring for and controlling life to look at the festival’s theme of Gods and Idols, and the seduction and dangers of artificial human-made life.

The torso of the Golem will house a 3,000-year-old technology: a compost of rotting material and rich burial soil, generating heat and turning the six-foot-tall statue into a rudimentary incubator. This inanimate body will then be used to keep alive the product of a very modern technology: miniature 3D printed golem-shaped biomaterials, seeded with living cells at the laboratories of biochemists and tissue engineering scientists, and then transferred and embedded in the head of the sculpture in the cemetery. 

The Golem will then stand all night, lit and heated and powered as the 24-hour Shuffle Festival continues around it. In the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, a place of continuum between life and death, the six-foot tall Golem becomes a semi-living being. 

Come and help build the Golem, have a drink at the special Hiver bar - serving craft beer fermented with urban honey - and take part in one of the free workshops or listen to one of the related storytelling sessions:
 • 0930 - 1030 Bee workshop & honey collecting
 • 1230 - 1330 Storytelling: The Prague Golem & Prometheus
 • 1400 - 1500 Sleeping Beauty: workshop on deconstructing fairy tales and myths with anthropologist Chris Knight
 • 1500 - 1600 Moon Time: talk on the moon and culture with anthropologist Camilla Power
 • 1600 - 1700 Kids' Storytelling: The Prague Golem
 • 1700 - 1800 Storytelling: The Tissue Culture King, by Julian Huxley and The Jurassic Park Effect, a talk on synthetic biology with Deborah Scott
. • 2000 – 2030 FINALE Come and observe the tiny living golems, and speak to the biological artists Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr about their work around the world, using life as their material.
 • 0200 - 0300 Two hundred years after Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, join others back at the Golem at for a night science fiction reading
 • 0930 – 1000 The Killing of the Golem
 • 1000 – 1100 Free group feast with Shuffle Festival

In the story of The Prague Golem, the most famous of the golem stories, the creature is a powerful technology, brought alive to protect humanity. Its power careers out of control, and so the people that brought it alive then kill it.

At 0930 on the 10th July, the Golem will be ceremoniously killed. Join others to reflect on the modern relationship between the creator and the created, and the control we retain over even our most powerful technologies.

The Golem is a joint project between
 • Oron Catts and Dr. Ionat Zurr, SymbioticA, The University of Western Australia, and the Royal College of Art
• Science Department, Shuffle Festival 
• Abi Aspen Glencross, Tissue Engineering and Biophotonics Department, Kings College London
• Dr. Michael Sulu and Dr. Brenda Parker, Department of Biochemical Engineering at UCL

With special thanks to
Professor Lucy di Silvio and Dr. Trevor Coward and of Kings College London Dental Institute; anthropologist Adam Kenny; Jackson Poretta of designEARTH lab, Srishti School of Art and Design and Technology; Chris Knight; Camilla Power; Deborah Scott; Saulo Jamariqueli; Rob Curry and all the volunteers who will help build.

Shuffle Festival is free to enter, but a single 24-hour ticket gives access to the entire programme of art, film, science, music, live scores and much more, and supports ongoing regeneration work in the east end.

Full programme details

Buy tickets

Thursday 23 June 2016

East End Canal Festival: This Sunday 11-5PM at the Art Pavilion

The East End Canal Festival at Mile End Parks Art Pavilion

This Sunday sees the "East End Canal Festival" which takes place in and around the Art Pavilion (behind the Texaco Garage in Grove Road). It promises to have something for everyone, whatever your age and has a varied program of activities:

ALL DAY: Stalls, Exhibitions, Children’s Activities, Food
BOAT TRIPS: Book at the Information Desk
To the Ragged School Museum: 12.00, 1.00, 2.00, 3.00, 4.00
To Victoria Park Bandstand Concert: 1.00, 2.00, 4.00

WORKSHOPS: 11.00-1.00, 2.00-4.00
Canal Art Painting
Mahogany Carnival Costumes

Throughout the Day Canalside
- The Village Butty
- The Record Deck
- Story-telling

Performances on the Island
12.00-12.45 Shkembe Soup
2.00-2.45 Shkembe Soup



2.30-3.00:"How the Canals were Constructed", Bob Philpotts, author
of ‘When London Became an Island’.

Sunday 19 June 2016

Park Life: Dog Show & Community Fair (Sunday 3rd July 12-5PM)

Park Life Flyer - Thanks to Jude Davis for updating it!

This year's Park Life is only two weeks away and is going to be jam-packed with something for everyone.

Activities Galore
Face Painting | Newspaper Stixx Sculpturing | Wire & Tape Sculpturing
Juggling Workshops and Show | Bobby Bubbles & His Amazing World of Bubbles
Coconut Shy | Fair Rides | Bouncy Castle | Inflatable Mid Dragon Slide
Climbing Wall | T-shirt Printing | Inflatable 5-a-side Football Pitch | Jewellery Making

Dr Bike will be there so bring your bikes along.

For Your Entertainment
Capoeira Display
Shkembe Soup (Arabic/Turkish/Roma Gypsy Music & Dance)

Bric-a-Brac | PDSA Advice Stall | Tutor Doctor 
Local Councillors | Veolia Recycling Team | Local Artists  

East End WI with Cakes galore and teas and drinks | Smoothie Bike
 Ice Cream Van | Burger Van | Waffle Stall 

And of Course The Dog Show with the following categories:

            1. Waggiest Tail
            2. Most Endearing Rescue Dog
            3. Most Courageous Golden Oldie (7 and over)
            4. Most Fabulous Fella
            5. Loveliest Lady
            6. Most Stunning Big Dog
            7. Best Trick

This year we will also be running Dog Agility demos and try-outs. So bring fido and see how he likes our agility course.
Photomontage of activities at this year's Dog Show and Community Fair