Wednesday 29 December 2021

Meotra Winter Newsletter December 2021

Photo of Tredegar Square of a night as seen from Morgan Street

Our latest newsletter dropped through letterboxes 2-3 weeks ago and I hope you managed have a read and find something of interest. If you didn't get a copy through your door then please let us know by email, but here is an online copy of it in any case.

The 8-page newsletter included articles about Liveable Streets, School Streets, a MEOTRA project aimed at rewilding the Holy Trinity churchyard, an opportunity for you to feedback on Tredegar Square Gardens and several other features. Please do take a look and let us know what you think.

Since the newsletter was distributed we have of course had our Carols in the Square. Many thanks to Vivien and Alice for ensuring we had plenty of mulled wine and mince pies and to the Meotra committee for all their efforts. The event was quite well attended, especially considering the state of our Covid-afflicted nation, and I hope those of you who attended (around a 100 or so?) enjoyed yourself. The kids enjoyed Santa and his presents, and grabbing the mic. I must apologise for the amplified singing - all professional singers seemed to go underground - which left yours truly with the mic in hand for the first time ever. Next year we will have background music and more mince pies.

If you have any photos from the carols then please can you email them in. Any other feedback is welcome too. Thanks,

Don't forget we archive all our old newsletters on this page

We would like to thank WJ Meade for their ongoing sponsorship of Meotra and their recognition of the importance of a residents association. You have supported us through a difficult couple of years. Thanks.

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Stan Jones 1929-2021


Photo of Stan Jones (1929-2021 RIP) in his Lichfield Road home.
Stan Jones

Stan Jones of Lichfield Road passed away last Friday the 17th December. He had recently had a couple of falls and although he seemed to be on the mend, he sadly didn't recover.

Stan moved into Lichfield as a ten year old in March 1939 with his mother and father and lived in the same house for over 80 years. His parents were married in Holy Trinity church and he was baptised there.

He had a famous photo published in The Times on Coronation Day in 1953 of his parents standing in their Lichfield Road doorway with their house decked out with bunting and Union Jack flags. Something of a tradition formed with newspapers sending photojournalists for each subsequent Jubilee in 1977 and 2002 to document how Stan and the area in general marked those anniversaries. Many of us will fondly remember a robed Bishop John Sentamu dancing away in the street outside Stan's house.

Coincidently on Friday 17th December I was out walking with a neighbour from Lichfield and the conversation turned to the forthcoming Queen's Jubilee in June 2022 and that it would be great to have Stan at the head of the [very long] table as the longest resident of our area.  Alas, as we were finishing our walk and turned back into Lichfield we saw an ambulance and heard of Stan's passing earlier that day. 

If you have memories of Stan then please do email them.

The Gentle Author has a wonderful portrait of Stan's life written in August 2021. It is well worth a read.

Stan's photo of his parents standing at their doorstep with their house covered in Jubilee bunting and Union Jacks.

Saturday 18 December 2021

Carols in the Square - Sunday 19th at 5PM

MEOTRA residents singing carols in Tredegar Square

[PLEASE NOTE: This event is for MEOTRA residents only]

Tomorrow sees Meotra's Carols in the Square event. Which as usual is the last Sunday before Christmas.

The song sheets have been bagged up, the mulled wine is standing by the stove, mince pies stacked by the oven, children's presents wrapped and the Square walked today, like Wembley's hallowed turf before Cup Final.

I do hope you can join us for a 5PM start. Please have a read of our COVID precautions below. The carols are OUTDOORS, which really helps reduce the risk, but in addition:

  1. Please do not attend if you have flu or cold-like symptoms
  2. Please take a lateral flow test an hour or two before attending
  3. Groups are asked to remain in their family/friend bubbles
  4. The carol sheets are laminated and untouched for two years!
  5. Rather than man-handling the song sheets you may prefer to download them to your phone as a PDF (light and carols in one small package!)
  6. Hand sanitiser will be at both entrances
  7. Children’s pressies will be wrapped and bagged the week before
  8. We will have football splats on the ground at 2 metre intervals to aid distancing
  9. Please bring a clean mask to wear as we gather and depart
  10. Mulled wine and mince pies will be laid out on tables ready for to pick-up as you come into the Square. Just like a school-dinner queue, but with booze!

Click on Santa to download the Carols

Sunday 12 December 2021

Cheering up Tredegar Square Gardens - Lots achieved, but more to do next Saturday 18th December?

MEOTRA Residents planting bulbs in Tredegar Square

Many thanks to all those who came along on Saturday to plant up some of the Square's borders. We managed to plant the following in the south east border:

  • 48 Geranium Cranesbills "Johnson's Blue"
  • 50 Allium "Summer Dancer"
  • 25 Allium nigrum

In the rose bed at the northern end:

  • 8 lavender
  • 8 rosemary
  • 250 hyacinth
In the north-western bed:
  • 8 mahonia
Thanks again to Cheryl and family for negotiating the partially flooded rose bed; Olivier from Rhondda Grove in particular for all the fetching and carrying on Friday and manning the drill; Jean-François from Lichfield Road who managed to do lots of strenuous planting despite having to keep checking his wife hadn't gone into labour::"I've got time to plant a few more mahonia"; Diana for negotiating the locked gate and planting all those alliums; Steph and Chris from Aberavon Road for the encouragement.
"I can't wait till we move in and get to bring out tea and biscuits" Cheryl who has yet to officially move in to her house on the Square.

Saturday 18th December - "Once more unto the [borders] dear friends"

We have something like  500 tulips. hyacinths and daffs (some lovely "special" varieties) still to plant. Please pencil in this Saturday for what will be the last planting session of the year. Any bulbs left over you can have - there are some lovely varieties

A photo of the Tredegar Square plant bed in need of some TLC

Friday 10 December 2021

Come Join Us! Planting in Tredegar Square Gardens tomorrow (Saturday) 10-12

Photo of MEOTRA residents planting masses of bulbs and plants in Tredegar Square Gardens

Tomorrow (SATURDAY) in Tredegar Square Gardens we have some perennials and shrubs to plant in the borders. We will be there from 10 until approximately 12 (depending on numbers!).

Please do come along and help out if you can. It is a lot for 2-3 to do, but with more help it will much quicker and more pleasant. In any case pop along and say "Hi" if you are out and about.

We have 48 hardy geranium cranesbill (Johnson's Blue), 8 lavender, 8 rosemary, 8 shuttlecock fern and 8 Mahonias. 

We have tools, and gloves etc; but if you prefer to bring your own trowel/shovel that would be great.

Hopefully the light and weather will be as wonderful as it has been today.

In terms of COVID precautions:

  • Please don't come if you have cold/flu-like symptoms (sorry 😒)
  • If you can, please do a LFT before coming
  • Masks are optional (it will keep your face warm though!)
  • We are outdoors and will be spaced out too, which dramatically reduces any risk
  • Please bring your own shovel/trowel if you can (though we have disinfected ones)

Thursday 9 December 2021

Getting your COVID-19 Booster Jabs

A map of the COVID-19 vaccination centres with Tower Hamlets.

Amongst all the news stories of  Christmas parties at Number 10 you'd be forgiven for missing that the following people can now pre-book their booster dose of the vaccine if it's been 2 months (61 days) since their second dose:

  • aged 40 and over
  • aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts you at high risk from COVID-19
  • frontline health and social care workers

Wednesday 8 December 2021

A reminder about the MEOTRA Carols - 19th December 5PM

MEOTRA Carols - 19th December 5PM in Tredegar Square Gardens

Please put a note in your diary that the MEOTRA Carols in the Square is on the 19th December at 5PM. We have mulled wine, mince pies, pressies for the younger children, Santa and we are planning it to be as Covid-safe as we can.

If you would like to help out on the gate, or with serving mince pies or mulled wine, marshalling or happen to be a closet choirmaster/musician/singer then please do get in touch

Thursday 2 December 2021

Over 50s Winter Warmer Concert - at the Eco Pavilion, 9th December, 2-4.30PM

The Sunshine Band in full swing

Tower Hamlets’ over 50s residents are invited to put on their party clothes and join fellow Hamletis for an afternoon concert of seasonal music and song. Top London jazz and swing band The Sunshine Kings are back to provide live music and festive cheer with New Orleans, Dixieland, 20s, traditional and vintage style sounds. In between sets, the choir of St Paul’s Way Secondary School will serenade the audience. Light refreshments will be served.

Seats are allocated in advance and booking is essential due to limited numbers. Please book as a group if you want to sit with friends. There is a maximum of 8 people per group.

Due to Covid-19, Tower Hamlets Council are unable to hold a Christmas Tea Dance this year so please note that there will be no dancing at this event.

Bookings can be made between 10am and 2pm Monday to Friday. Please call
020 7364 3115 / 020 7364 7900 or email
Free admission. This event is for Tower Hamlets residents only

We recommend that face coverings are worn, and all guests take a lateral flow test within 72 hours of the start of the event. Please only attend if the results are negative and you do not have any flu or cold-like symptoms.

Tuesday 23 November 2021

Street Cleaning Issues - Use the LYN App to report concerns


Too common a site: An overflowing litter bin on Grove road
Two weeks without emptying

Lately, our streets have not been in a good way. 

Musa, our energetic broom-spinning street cleaner, who many residents thought was off sick, was in fact relocated to Bethnal Green.

So who took over from Musa? No one as far as we can tell. The open-backed caged trucks were supposed to empty the street bins daily, but that hasn't happened.

MEOTRA have emailed the Mayor and local councillors, and indeed within two minutes the matter was brought up at the council's monthly Overview and Scrutiny Committee Meeting. You can watch a recording online if you really are that interested (from 36.30 mins in with the MEOTRA bit at 1hr:44mins). The section on recycling, litter, street cleaning is around 2 hours and 15 minutes long. 

Mayor Biggs has also replied and assured us that keeping our streets ship-shape is a priority.

Just a reminder, the easiest way to report just about ANY issue in Tower Hamlets is to use the council's Love Your Neighbourhood (LYN) mobile phone app. Take a photo, pick a category and send the report in under a minute (it knows where the issue is using your phone's GPS).

There are LYN versions for both android and the iPhone, just click on the appropriate image below:

 You can also report common street cleaning issues using the following forms:

Strangely, having managed to get the issue raised on-the-fly at 8.30 last night in a council meeting, Musa has returned to our streets this morning 🎉🎉🎉 What a coincidence 🤔? We are going to follow this up with his boss and establish why our streets were left upswept and street bins unemptied.

Musa cleaning Grove Road, Bow
Normality returns to the 'hood

Six huge bags filled, ties laces and carries on

A pile of black bin bags in Grove Road
Even the graffiti is disgusted


Thursday 11 November 2021

MEOTRA Carols in the Square Returns - Sunday 19th December, 5PM

 Meotra residents singing carols in Tredegar Square by torchlight

We are pleased to announce the return of the Meotra Carols in the Square on Sunday 19th December at 5PM in Tredegar Square.

Last year a singular "doorstep carol" replaced the traditional arrangement due to the essential pandemic restrictions, but this Christmas we are close to getting the all clear from Tower Hamlets Council.

A big thank you to Margaret Winniak for undertaking the Herculean task of completing the council's risk assessment procedures. Although it looks like we won't have to sip mulled wine through (individual) straws and double glove to munch on a minced pie, there will be some safety precautions*.

So please put the time and date in your diary, and let's all look forward to a cracking carols with friends old and new, young and old.

*We may have to sing in family bubbles all in a large circle facing a central cross painted on the floor! More of that in another post/newsletter.

Jingle toes

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Light the HAC Event, Morgan St, Saturday 13th November 2021 18.00-21.00

Interior of the HAC lit up with liquid light of many colours and shapes

The Heritage and Arts Centre (The HAC) is a newly formed, community focused space dedicated to facilitating heritage and arts events within the restored Holy Trinity Bow Church on Morgan Street.

This Saturday artists  @heena_song_  @julian_hand  @dylan.glanz @whytelightvisuals will employ liquid light, interactive live visual projections and ambient sound to transform this interior space. This multi-sensory light and sound installation is for one night only as a fundraiser for this emerging venue. 

Tickets are £10 and are available from Eventbrite

Some of you will have noted that MEOTRA resident Alice Sielle has her book launch earlier (5PM) the same night, but it shouldn't be too difficult to combine the two and still have time for a beer in the Lord Tredegar afterwards.

Thursday 4 November 2021

Alice Sielle- Stations of the Cross book launch


Alice Sielle's pencil drawing of the Crown of Thorns

Local artist and MEOTRA stalwart Alice Sielle invites MEOTRA residents along to celebrate the publication of "The Stations of the Cross" at St Barnabas Church, Grove Road, London E3 5TG on Saturday 13th November from 5.00-7.00pm

It is a hardback book (12x12", 30x30cm) with 14 lino prints by Alice and an introduction by Rev Brian Ralph

Special introductory offer on the night £20 (RRP £25)

Friday 29 October 2021

Planting events this weekend - starting in Tredegar Square 10-12 this Saturday 30th October


Bow residents planting bulbs in Tredegar Square's flower beds

Tomorrow from 10-12 we have lots of Primulas and Geranium Johnson's Blue to plant in the beds in Tredegar Square. Light showers are predicted in the morning. I'll be there whatever.

Last weekend we had half a dozen or so neighbours preparing the main bed we are planting up - removing weeds, loosening the soil, pruning the roses and removing the odd Red Bull can.

Pop along and help out for a bit if you can, or just for a chat and to say "hi". Please bring a trowel, something to kneel on and if you can manage a fork or spade that would be amazing.

***BONUS EVENT*** - tomorrow the Friends of Mile End Park have bulb planting from 1PM in Chris' Wood (that is just be the Art Pavilion). Please bring a trowel, fork or spade if possible.

On Sunday we are due to hold sessions 10-12 and 1-3; but the forecast is 90% chance of heavy rain in the morning, so I may cancel the morning session. I'll email tomorrow night when the forecast will be more reliable.

Wednesday 27 October 2021

Neighbourhood Forum AGM and Bow Community Day Saturday 30th October

This Saturday 30th October from 1.00-4.30 is the Bow Community Day at St Paul's Old Ford. This event has a range of free activities and is well worth popping along to and is an opportunity to bring local people and the community together after a very tough time to celebrate the many good things about Bow and help make it an even better place to live, work and enjoy together.

At 2.30 pm is the Neighbourhood Forum Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is being held at St Paul's Old Ford in St. Stephen's Road. 

The coming year is a crucial time for the Neighbourhood Forum and Bow and will likely see a referendum of all Bow residents as to whether or not we should adopt the plan. More info is below.

MILESTONE REACHED: Draft Neighbourhood Plan submitted to Council

After more than five years of community engagement, research and writing, a draft neighbourhood plan for Bow was submitted to the Council by the Neighbourhood Forum in mid-October.. The plan and supporting evidence is on the Forum website

Next steps 

  • After the Council cabinet confirms all the required documents have been submitted on 24th November, the Council will hold an eight-week consultation on the plan during December and January.
  • The updated plan then goes to an Independent Examiner who checks the plan meets all the legal requirements.
  • If the Examiner recommends the requirements have been met, then the final step is a local referendum on the plan. .Everyone can vote who lives in the referendum area and is entitled to vote in local elections.
  • If a majority vote in favour, the plan becomes part of the statutory development plan for the area, sitting under the Tower Hamlets Local Plan 2031.

How can you get involved?
  • You can join the Neighbourhood Forum on their website. This entitles you to vote at Forum meetings.
  • Come to the Neighbourhood Forum Annual General Meeting (AGM), which is at 2.30 pm on Saturday 30th October at St Paul's Old Ford in St. Stephen's Road.
  • Consider joining the Forum committee, which will be elected on 30th October They need more people to help steer the plan through these final steps. The committee currently meets online once a month. They would love to hear from you if you are interested. Please send a short email to the Neighbourhood Forum at:           

Friday 22 October 2021

Tredegar Square - Half Term bulb planting sessions

Tredegar Square: Daffs and Hyacinths from 2019
Tredegar Square 2019: Daffs and Hyacinths

Mile End Old Town Residents Association has arranged a number of bulb, plant plugs and plant planting sessions over the next ten days or so in Tredegar Square. We have lots of lovely Geranium Johnson's Blues to plant, a thousand or so ornamental bulbs (no daffs!) and a few dozen 2L potted plants. Last time we did this in the Square it was a great outdoor event with lots of neighbours getting to know each other; and the children enjoying being in the outdoors.

If you pass by then say "Hi"

The sessions are:
10-12 Sat 23rd October (late notice I know, but be good to get off to a good start)
10-12 Sat 30th October
10-12 Sun 31st October
13-15 Sun 31st October If you'd like to come please fill out this short form so we have an idea of numbers:  We do have some tools, but it would be best (from a COVID point of view) if you were able to bring your own equipment (hand trowel/fork/sturdy gloves/a knee mat etc).

I hope to see some of you there.

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.

A map of the parks in Tower Hamlets with a suggested walking route to link them all together

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

The atmospheric interior of the Hac in Morgan Street

Wednesday 21 July 2021

Redevelopment of Onyx House, 401 Mile End Road

Photo of CZWG's iconic Onyx House peering through renovation hordings
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. 

Photo of Essex House which was on the spot now taken by Onyx House.
Essex House, demolished 1937

A photo of the Mile End Odeon Cinema which occupied the site where Onyx House now stands.
The 2,304 seater Mile End Odeon cinema demolished in 1984

Monday 19 July 2021

COVID-19 in Tower Hamlets - Local vaccination info

"Everyone over the age of 18 can get the COVID-19 jab

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.

Government statistics showing the low uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine in Tower Hamlets compared to the rest of the UK
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)

An historic wedding photo from inside Holy Trinity Church, Morgan Street.

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 (

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

The sparse but atmospheric interior of the Hac (formerly Holy Trinity, Morgan Street)

St Marylebone Music Festival -18th - 23rd July


Painting of St Marylebone Church

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:

Artwork by local resident Alice Sielle.

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 Sielle in Fun Day mode supervising the Splat the Rat
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