On reflection

Wednesday 23 April 2014

This marks the first anniversary of the establishment of this blog, so a bit of reflection and a progress report is called for.

We've published 50 posts, on a wide range of ... well, Forest Gate-related issues, past and present, to date.

We are upto an average of 200 -250 hits per day on the site, which given the relatively small geographic area of its focus and the fairly eclectic nature of the content, isn't bad.

We've established a complementary Twitter account (@E7_NowAndThen) which now has in excess of 380 followers.  This is used largely to announce new postings on this blog, and many of the Tweets are retweeted and favourited - many with generous comments - which is satisfying.

Although we always invite comments, suggestions, recollections, additions, corrections to Blogs posted,;we've had relatively little feedback, which is slightly disappointing.  All comments submitted are subject to being overseen by a moderator before being published. The ONLY ones which are screened out are attempts by (often dodgy) commercial organisations to hijack the site for their own purposes, or responses which are potentially unlawful, or abusive (very few).

Below is a list of the hyperlinks to the eight most viewed posts, together with photos representative of the article.

Upper Cut Part 1

First week's bill at the
Upper Cut - magic!

Christmas Day in the Forest Gate Workhouse

The Forest Gate Industrial School, later maternity
hospital and now flats - scene of description
of Christmas day in the Workhouse

Forest Gate good (and not so good) pub guide

Forest Gate Hotel - part of the local pub trail

Rise and decline of local Jewish community

The old West Ham synagogue, Forest Lane

Fire guts famous gym  This was the first blog

Arnie and Wag, outside Bennett's gym
(now, sadly in tatters) on Romford Road, c 1966

Booming Woodgrange Road

Saturday markets at the junction of Woodgrange
and Sebert Roads, early signs of the
Woodgrange Road boom
Spotted Dog, still under threat Another very early posting

An undated woodcut of the Old Spotted Dog

Food hygiene in Woodgrange Road

A long-established local eaterie,
featured in the food hygiene story

24-hour Forest Gate gourmet trail One of the most recent posts, which has had a relatively huge hit rate in its short time on the site

CoffeE7 - the beginnings of the Forest Gate gourmet
trail and still less than 18 months old

The titles of the posts are fairly self-explanatory, and eating, drinking and being merry seem to provoke most interest! Also, not surprisingly, older posts get quite high hit rates, because they have been around longest and so have had more opportunities to be viewed.

To reinforce the popularity of the eat drink and be merry point, the least viewed posts (by a long way!) are the two on Forest Gate's local cemeteries, and their inhabitants.  Clearly, not much merriment there, but we think they are interesting!

Perhaps surprisingly the local good schools guide, with summaries of the Ofsted and other inspection reports of all local schools bombed a bit, in terms of viewership. 

Our small number of posts on Clapton FC (Walter Tull, the club history etc) haven't attracted too much attention.  I guess the club isn't huge and they have their own sites etc - but the are local, and having their best season for years - so give them watch - on line, but more importantly in the flesh, while the good times are here (as I, do elsewhere, unfortunately). 

As regular visitors will know, we've produced a monthly update on who featured at the Upper Cut Club 47 years ago, each month.  This has provoked a wildly varying range of  numbers of viewers, which it is difficult to understand, other than because of the popularity of the acts performing.  The two biggest sets of interest have been over the Jimi Hendrix gigs and the Stax tour with Otis Redding, Sam and Dave etc that we featured recently. We have a couple of interesting photos to update these with.

The first is a poster of the first Jimi Hendrix gig (Purple Haze, written while waiting to go on stage), on Boxing Day 1966.  The Emporium, next to CoffeE7  is selling a limited number of these, in frames (all repro, of course), a photo is reproduced below, for aficionados.

Jimi plays the Upper Cut,
after writing Purple Haze
For real geeks, we are delight to post a photo of the (rather undistinguished looking) complimentary tickets for the Stax tour, previously mentioned.  These were sent to us by attendee Brain Lovegrove.  Thanks, Brian.

Ticket to ride - or at least see the Stax tour,
with Otis, half price!
We did rather wonder how much material there would be around for further interesting(ish) posts for the future, but the options and opportunities just keep growing - almost exponentially.  So, there's a good couple of years of weekly posts left before repetition, deviation or hesitation kicks in.

Additionally, we'll try and Tweet a couple of photos, from the archives, each week from now, as nudges to view older pieces and to bring the photos to the attention to new audiences, perhaps.

Finally, some interim thanks.  It's been great fun, and an opportunity to meet up and discuss all kinds of weird stuff with lots of interesting people.  We welcome all of this. Many thanks to the authors, whose books we've plundered for information - and we don't object if we are the subject of the same (though a touch of acknowledgement would be welcome).

A very special thanks however must go to the over-worked staff at Newham Archives, whom we drive mad on a regular basis - particularly to Jenni, now back from a period of absence.

Enough of the introspection.  Proper stuff and service will resume next week!


  1. Thanks so much for this site and all the amazing posts on it!! I love local history and look forward to the new posts every time. Truly wonderful local resource!!


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