Elizabeth Fry (1780 - 1845) and Forest Gate

Thursday 29 November 2018

Elizabeth Fry is one of Britain's most famous historical figures (of either gender).  Her Forest Gate significance is probably that her life donutted the district, with firm connections to: East Ham, Green Street, West Ham, Barking, Dagenham, Stratford, Plaistow, Hackney and Wanstead!

Elizabeth Fry - 1780 - 1845
She was born in Norfolk on 21 May 1780, as Elizabeth (better known as Betsy) Gurney. Her father was a banker and her mother was from the Barclays family, behind the eponymous bank. She was, by six years, Samuel Gurney's (see here)older brother, and when their mother died in Elizabeth's twelfth year, she took on a major responsibility for bringing up her younger siblings, including Sam. She was, like her family, a Quaker, but unlike most of them, took her religion seriously.

She spent her childhood years in Earlham Hall in Norfolk, after which the Forest Gate Grove is named.  That building now houses the law faculty of East Anglia University.

Aged 20, Betsy met Joseph Fry, also a Quaker and a tea merchant, who was a member of the chocolate manufacturing family. The couple married and moved to Brick Lane in Whitechapel - close to Fry's work place. They soon moved to St Mildred's Court, opposite Mansion House in the City and became hosts and hostesses to much of the City of London's considerable Quaker society - a duty Elizabeth hated.

Joseph's father died in 1808 and left the Fry estate - Plashet House, with servants and a cattle farm - in East Ham and Green Street, to him. The Frys upped sticks and moved. Their St Mildred's Court house has long gone but on its site is a City of London blue plaque, recording "Mrs Elizabeth Fry, 1780 --1845, prison reformer, lived here 1800 - 1809." (for details of the other, many, memorials to Betsy - see the end of this article).

Joseph Fry - Elizabeth's
husband, in 1824
Elizabeth, meanwhile, was busy producing her 11 children, who in turn provided her with 25 grandchildren. She would have been the first, however, to accept that a life of domestic bliss was not for her. In 1811 she became a Minister of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). She soon set up a girls boarding school in a large house, opposite her own in Plashet, with accommodation for 70 girls.

The Frys home in Plashet,
before hard times descended
Two years later, a French Friend, Stephen Grellett, was visiting  Newgate prison (on the site of what is now The Old Bailey)and witnessed, inside:

a sight and smell so dreadful ... above everything it is the plight of the women and babies, women lying in layers, the babies on the ground, all but naked, and dying in the cold - a population rendered diseased, brutish and depraved (that sends Grellett)out onto the street, chocking for breath.

Grellett rushed with his story to Elizabeth Fry, and she took up the cudgels.

She found, for herself, that the women's sections of prisons were over-crowded with women and children, who were forced to do their own washing and cooking and sleep on straw.

Elizabeth Fry, entering a women's cell at
Newgate. The overcrowding she encountered is
indicated by the cell, on the left of the photo
Her response was to get clothing in to female prisoners, establish education classes and sewing groups there and provide bibles. She set about bullying prison authorities to introduce humane, sanitary conditions for women, many of whom were held there without trial or on trivial, or no, charges.

In 1817 she founded the Association for the Reformation of Female Prisoners in Newgate, and four years later the London Society for Promoting the Reformation of Female Prisoners.

She was in her element, in the early years of the nineteenth century, and applied what would be regarded two centuries later as slick PR campaigns to draw attention to her and the female prisoners' causes. She called upon the resources of her well-connected friends to highlight prison conditions. 

She insisted on entering Newgate unaccompanied, and thereby gained both the trust of the female prisoners and great public attention for here "fortitude and bravery".

Visiting prison cells,
unaccompanied by prison staff
She campaigned against women being manacled in chains, against the public exhibition of female prisoners, against transport ships, solitary confinement and above all, capital punishment.

She would attract wealthy visitors (left of sketch) 
and supporters, to watch her read to female
prisoners at Newgate - good for fund raising
In 1818 she gave evidence to a House of Commons committee on conditions in British prisons - and so became the first woman to present evidence to the British Parliament. Not the only "first" to her name.

Above - Newgate Prison, in 1902, shortly
before its demolition.  Below, the statue of
Betsy that stands in the Old Bailey, built
on the site of the prison.
For relaxation, in 1824, the family took a lease on two fishing cottages at Dagenham Breach (pretty much on where Ford's factory is today) and spent subsequent summer holidays there. Elizabeth's daughter, and East Ham historian, Katharine wrote:

It is difficult to convey the sort of enjoyment Dagenham afforded us ... there was fishing, boating, driving and riding inland by day, and when night closed in over the wild marsh scenery the cries of water birds, the rustling of the great beds of reeds, the strange sounds from the shipping on the river gave the place an indescribable charm.

Dagenham Breach in 19th century

The charm was not to last, however. In 1829 Joseph Fry's business hit financial difficulties and the family were forced to sell the Plashet estate in order to survive. Family connections stepped in, to save the day. Elizabeth's younger brother, Samuel, himself a successful banker, was beginning to build himself a substantial property portfolio in the Forest Gate area.

The Upton estate, at the time of the Frys residence
He owned Ham House and its grounds - what was later to become West Ham Park. Within the grounds was Upton Lane House, which is said to have been constructed earlier in the century from the barn and buildings of an earlier house. He lent it to his sister and brother-in-law.

Upton Lane House - later
became the Cedars, see below

This later became known as Cedar House, with its distinctive yellow bricks and central pediment and classical porch. It was located on what is now Portway.

After the Frys/Gurneys moved on, the building became the headquarters of the Territorial Army, until its demolition in 1960.  The current building  on the site bears a plaque, commemorating Betsy's stay there.

Samuel was indebted to the Frys - Betsy had helped bring him up, after their mother had died, and Joseph had nurtured his career, when he first moved to London, in search of work. Samuel showed his gratitude, by loaning it out to the Fry family, until Elizabeth's death in 1845. Katharine was to remark that: "from the grounds there was a fine view across the river to Greenwich Park."

Elizabeth always referred to the house as "Upton".

The wolves, having been kept from the door, Elizabeth was able to resume her philanthropic works.

She worked with other Quakers, including her brother-in-law, Thomas Fowell Buxton, to fight against the slave trade. She founded a Night Shelter for the homeless in 1819 and, in one of her last acts,  a Refuge for Prostitutes, in Hackney, in 1844.

She campaigned vigorously against prisoner transportation, and visited 106 prison ships and over 12,000 convicts. Her campaign resulted in the abolition of prison ships, in 1837.

In 1840, she opened a training school for nurses and inspired Florence Nightingale, who took a team of Fry's nurses on her famous Crimean War mission in 1856.

Elizabeth Fry was no shrinking violet. She revelled in the public attention she attracted. Queen Victoria was an admirer and patron, and they met on a number of occasions.

Betsy sought, and gained, international recognition for her works, touring French prisons in 1839 and Danish prisons two years later.

Victoria was not the only royalty drawn to Betsy. In 1842 she entertained Frederick William 1V of Prussia, at "Upton", after she had given him a tour of Newgate Prison, following his interest in her reform work there. The visit caused all kinds of upsets in diplomatic circles, because many state protocols were ignored.

Above - King of Prussia pub
Prussia. Below Stratford pub named
after him, whose name was changed to
King Edward V11 on out-break of WW1

The king's visit to West Ham was commemorated by naming a pub on Stratford Broadway the King of Prussia  - a name rapidly changed to the King Edward V11, with the onset of war, in 1914.

Elizabeth Fry died in Ramsgate, aged 65 - on 12 October 1845, three years after the king's visit to Upton. She was initially buried in the Friends burial ground, in Barking, but as that closed, and the one at Wanstead Friend's House, in Bush Wood, was refurbed in 1968, she was moved there and remains.

Her legacy is huge - and at a time when, rightly, there are complaints about the lack of statuary etc to women in this country, Elizabeth and her supporters can have few complaints.

She became the first female non-royal to appear on a British banknote, when she adorned the £5 note, from 2001 - 2016. There are plaques commemorating her on the site of her birth, death and original burial ground, in Barking - as well as those in St Mildred's Court and site of Cedar House, referred to, above.  

There is a statue of her in the Old Bailey - the site of the old Newgate Prison, demolished in 1902 - with which she is most associated, and memorials to her at Kensall Green cemetery, Wormwood Scrubs, All Saints Church, Cambridge and the Home Office in Marsham Street.

St Stephen's, Upton Park - now demolished,
following WW2 bomb damage - St Stephen's
Parade on Green St sits on the site. Church
dedicated to Elizabeth Fry
More locally, there is a bust of her in East Ham library and St Stephen's church - finally demolished after bomb damage in 1954 - off Green Street, was dedicated to her. Katherine Road is a misspelled (should be Katharine)is named after one of her daughters and the broken drinking fountain on the corner of Capel Road and Woodford Road, is dedicated to one of her sons, Joseph, who ran the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain Association (see here).

Clearly, no small Fry!

We are grateful to Derk Pelly's Upton Connection - 1732-1916, a story of families, for use of some of the line drawings of houses in this article.

John Fothergill (1712-1780): Quaker, physician, philanthropist and botanist

Monday 19 November 2018

John Fothergill was one of the earliest prominent Quakers to make Forest Gate both his home and a place of national significance.

He was born in Wensleydale, Yorkshire, in 1712, and, after an apprenticeship as an apothecary, studied medicine in Edinburgh.

After graduating, he moved to London and practised at St Thomas', on the south bank. He worked with the poor, often without pay, and at times subsidised wholesome food for his patients.

Ham House, as Fothergill renamed Rooke Hall
 - its grounds were to become West Ham
Park just over a century after Fothergill acquired it
He was a doctor in advance of his time, successfully treating what is now known as diphtheria, tuberculosis, migraine and influenza and introducing innovative methods to cure sore throats. He was a strong advocate of immunisation as a means of preventing smallpox, many years before it became accepted medical practice.

His reputation grew rapidly and he began to attract many of the rich and famous as his patients; among them, John Wesley, founder of Methodism and novelist Fanny Burney. As Fothergill himself put it: "I climbed on the backs of the poor to the pockets of the rich."

Such became his fame, that Fothergill had his portrait painted by Hogarth (see below).

Fothergill, by Hogarth
By 1774 he had the largest physician's practice in London, was said to work up to 20 hours a day and was reputed to earn the truly phenomenal sum of £5,000 per year (£700,000 in today's terms).

His medical fame and fortune provided him with an income to pursue his other - wide-ranging - interests, with notable effect.

Fothergill's first purchase of note came when he was fifty, and it was to become the foundation of his formidable non-medical reputation.

He bought Rooke Hall in 1762. This was a small estate of 30 acres that had belonged to the Rooke family for a century, from 1566. It then passed through the hands of Sir Robert Smyth and his descendants until it was purchased by Admiral Elliott. It was from Elliott that Fothergill purchased the property.

Fothergill extended and developed the house and grounds considerably - doubling its footprint to 60 acres. He renamed it Ham House. On his death it was sold, enlarged yet again, and soon became the property of the Gurneys (see here) and later West Ham Park.

It was, however, what Fothergill did with the property that made his stay there so significant. He was a keen botanist. He laid the enlarged lands out as flower gardens, surrounded by shrubberies, with a wilderness beyond. A watercourse ran through the land and the banks were planted with exotic shrubs.

Gilbert Stuart's portrait of John Fothergill (1712 - 1780)
Cartographers, Chapman and Andre, writing in 1777, described the grounds thus:

A winding canal, in the figure of a crescent, divided the garden into two ... occasionally opening on ... rare, exotic shrubs ... A glass door from the house gave an entrance into a suite of hot ... and green houses, nearly 260 feet in extent, containing upwards of 3,400 distinct species of exotics ... and in the open grounds ... nearly 3,000 distinct species of plants and shrubs.

Five years later, Sir Joseph Banks - botanist, president of the Royal Society for 41 years and advisor to George 111 on the establishment of Kew Gardens - said of the estate:

In my opinion no other garden in Europe, royal or of a subject, had so many scarce and valuable plants. It was second only to Kew in attracting visitors from overseas.

Sir Joshua Reynolds' portrait
of Sir Joseph Banks

He was able to stock his greenhouses and garden with unusual plants by paying plant hunters and sailors to bring back specimens of botanic interest from their voyages in the Americas, Far East and Africa.

Such was his influence on botanists of the day, he had species of plants named after him - for example Fothergill's Geranium and Fothergill's Lily.

Fothergill.  Although devoted to his botanic collection, was too busy with his medicine, which funded it, to devote much time to cultivating it.

He was rarely at Ham House, but paid 15 gardeners to tend his impressive collection. He was not just a collector, but a recorder and cataloguer of his stock A very detailed catalogue of it survives in the British Library (see below).

Above - the opening plate of the
catalogue of Fothergill's collection.
Below, the first page of the
detailed description of each plant

He also employed four artists, full-time, to make drawings, in vellum of each plant in full bloom. Below is a rare, surviving, black and white print of one of the Fothergill collection. 

Cortex Winteranus - one of the
thousands of drawings of Fothergill's
collection, painted on velum
The 18th century was the golden age of botanical drawings, and Fothergill engaged some of the finest artists to help him capture the images, including George Ehret (1708 - 1770) and John Miller (1715 - 1792). Below are surviving examples of their work, in full colour.

As for the Fothergill collection; it was sold on his death, along with his house and plant collection. Bizarrely, the prints were bought by Catherine the Great of Russia (1729 - 1796) - see photo, below. She was a keen horticulturalist and had had medical encounters with Dr Fothergill, so was well aware of him and his works.

Catherine The Great (1729 - 1796)
 bought Fothergill's botanical prints
and took them to Russia

The collection of 2,000 prints are now believed to be housed in the Komarov Botanical Institute, St Petersburg, part of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

They have never been shown in public and attempts to view them have been thwarted. It would be a fine gesture if the Corporation of London and St Petersburg's municipal authority could jointly mount an exhibition of this magnificent and historic collection.

The Komarov Botanical Institute,
St Petersburg - present home
to the Fothergill collection
As with the other Quaker polymath dignitaries who have lived in Upton over the years, Fothergill had a wide range of interesting pursuits. In addition to his innovative medical practice and - literally and metaphorically - ground-breaking botanical work, he played a full part in civic society.

He, for example, advocated the proper registration of births and deaths, sixty years before the national register was established and promoted the use of public baths, as a health measure a century before they became popular.

He was subsequently elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquities in 1753, and the Royal Society, a decade later.

The front plate on the first volume
of Fothergill's collected works
Like a fellow future Quaker resident of Ham House, Samuel Gurney, he was an active prison reformer. Just as Gurney had supported his sister, Elizabeth Fry, in the cause, so, a generation earlier Fothergill provided support to John Howard - after whom today's prison reform pressure group is named. Fothergill worked with Howard to try to get programmes of employment for ex-prisoners in order to facilitate their rehabilitation - quite a novel idea at the time.

Again, just as Gurney had become active in public affairs (education, campaigning against capital punishment, slavery etc), so too - in the previous century - had Fothergill. He was the founder of Ackworth public school, in Pontefract, Yorkshire. It was co-educational from its foundation and offered free education to poor Quaker children.  It survives today as one of only eight Quaker schools in Britain. 

Indeed one of the school's four houses remains named after him.

Ackworth school, today
Fothergill had close associations with pre-independence America,  and worked, to no avail, with Benjamin Franklin trying to prevent the succession of the American colonies in 1776, having been elected a member of the American Philosophical Society six years previously.

An illustration Fothergill sent to
Philadelphia, to help illustrate
a lecture on anatomy there.
On Fothergill's death, in 1780, the house and gardens were sold up and the plant stock dispersed. The garden and greenhouses, however, together with many of the trees survived Fothergill's tenure in the property.

The greenhouse function has continued until the present day. For almost a century and a half the Corporation has used them as a nursery, producing plants and shrubs for prestigious Mansion House events.

Until now, that is ... the Corporation has recently decided to "out-source" the function and bring to an end almost two and a half centuries of botanical pride and excellence to a small corner of Forest Gate. The Park Management Committee and Corporation of London are currently considering alternative uses for the space occupied by the now redundant green houses and nursery.

And so another bit of Upton's great history (like the Old Spotted Dog pub and Clapton FC) is facing extinction from those with cash signs in their eyes and minimal regard for local heritage.

Fothergill is still remembered in West Ham Park today, as a flower bed and rockery, named in his honour, survive - see extract from park map, below.

Thanks to the Friends of West Ham Park, whose recent exhibition on Fothergill, in the park, has provided assistance with the contents of this article. Views in the article are should not be taken as theirs.

Heritage Week in Forest Gate

Thursday 1 November 2018

Newham Council is holding its third Heritage Week from 8 - 18 November this year. There are literally dozens of events taking place across the borough and almost all are completely free of charge.

There are over a dozen in Forest Gate and Manor Park alone, and this article focuses exclusively on them. Some events are at specific times on particular days - they are shown in chronological order, here. Other exhibitions, displays etc last for the whole of the festival, and are listed at the end. For details of the borough-wide programme, see foot of the article.

Thursday 8 November

WE Wright: The Photographer and His Work
W.E. Wright was a late Victorian and Edwardian photographer of note. He had two studios in Forest Gate, and six others across East London and Essex.

This is the launch event of the Week. There will be a small reception, from 6pm, followed by  an illustrated talk by Wright's great-grand-daughter and the editor of this blog, on the man and his work.

The exhibition, which will run for the duration of the Week has been curated by Wright's great-granddaughter  this blog and a number of local historians. It extends over three separate galleries and features some of his extensive work, including many of his local photographs. There are also details of his family and extensive business life.  There will be a 10 minute running slide show, on a continuous loop, showing the man and his work, running until the end of November.

Have your photograph taken as a Victorian, on the night of the launch! 

Attendees will be able to have a period photograph taken. Bring along century old family photos and discuss them with the exhibition producers.

A great opportunity to compare and contrast locations in Forest Gate today and a century ago, and to see how fashions, costumes and cars have changed over the period!

Thursday 8 November, 6-8pm.  Forest Gate Library

Saturday 10 November

 Forest Gate Heritage Walk - North To South: from Forest Gate Station to West Ham Park

An illustrated walk revealing many of Forest Gate’s hidden gems, including the site of THE Forest Gate, two sets of almshouses, The Upper Cut Club, Forest Gate’s two oldest churches, the home of Britain’s most important trade banner manufacturer, Newham’s oldest secular building, London’s oldest senior football ground, the site of the home of the founder of antiseptic medicine, Lord Joseph Lister, sites of bomb damage.

THE Forest Gate

Forest Gate's earliest purpose-
built church - still standing!

Pawnbrokers' almshouses

Bombed out Methodist church

Upper Cut Club
Jimi plays the Upper Cut
Appalling working conditions in Forest
Gate Steam Laundry at turn of 20th C
Conducted tour of Grade11
listed St Antony's church
The home of Britain's most
significant trade union banner maker

Old Spotted Dog - Newham's
oldest secular building

Dame Anna Neagle's
childhood home
Birthplace of the founder of modern surgery

Home of Dr Fothergill and site
 of Britain's one-time second
 largest botanical garden
Ham House - stood where West
 Ham Park now is, and its
remains cans still be seen
Samuel Gurney, "Mr Forest Gate",
whose lands covered most of
what is now Forest Gate, and
who lived in what is now
West Ham Park

Gurney's sister, Elizabeth Fry, who
 he put up around the corner, when
 her family fell on hard times.
The walk will end at West Ham Park, home of "Mr Forest Gate", Samuel Gurney, the one-time second best botanical collection in Britain and home of prison reformer, Elizabeth Fry. 

Please note that this is a two-hour pavement walk. There will be a short site visit to Grade 11 listed St Antony's church, where one of the priests will give a conducted tour.

Saturday 10, 11am-1pm Meet outside the Forest Tavern (173 Forest Lane, Forest Gate, E7 9BB) just before 11am.

Newham Heritage Week Launch

Come down to Forest Gate Library and immerse yourself in heritage activities and find out what will be happening during the Heritage Week.

There will be a wealth of information and varied activities available for children and adults, including a children’s banner making workshop with the Museum of London, plus interactive activities and workshops with Salmagundi films, your chance to purchase rare heritage titles from Newham Bookshop and much, much more.

Saturday 10, 12 - 4pm Forest Gate Library

Museum of London, Children’s Banner Making Workshop

Join the Museum of London and the Museum of Docklands in this suffragette themed banner-making workshop, taking inspiration from the Museum of London’s extensive militant suffragette collection and learning about the East London Suffragettes.

Saturday 10, 12-4pm Forest Gate Library

Salmagundi Films: Digital Archiving Workshops

Salmagundi Films will be in residence at Forest Gate Library to facilitate lively and informative digital archiving workshops, using iPads. 

‘inHERitance’ workshop

An opportunity for Newham residents to celebrate the influential women who have shaped their lives. Women who are well known, friends, family members or community figures. Bring along photographs, an object or ‘curiosity’ of historical or personal significance which celebrates influential women and share memories.

Work with Salmagundi Films to preserve their stories and share with the community.

Saturday 10, 11.30am-1.30pm

WW1 Memorabilia workshop

An opportunity to share and record treasured war memorabilia and their stories. Bring along photographs, medals, an object or ‘curiosity’ of historical or personal significance and work with Salmagundi Films to preserve the story and share with the community.

Saturday 10, 2-4pm Open to all.

Spaces are limited, to book contact Forest Gate Library

Monday 12 November

From Suffragettes and Beyond
Discover the history of women and the vote.  Be inspired by the fascinating story of how women won the vote, from the earliest petitions and protests to the direct action of the suffragettes and beyond. Find out when women sat in the Lords and what they did when they got there. The event will be led by Charlotte Dobson, who is a Senior Education and Engagement Officer for Parliament.

She focuses on building relationships with local community groups, in order to deliver sessions which encourage people to become more actively engaged with Parliament. You are welcome to turn up on the day but places are limited so you may wish to book by visiting Forest Gate or calling 020 3373 0856

 12.30-2pm Forest Gate Library

Talk: Manor Park Seen Through Old Postcards

A rising locality – the life and times of Manor Park at the turn of the last century. Local historians Peter Williams and Mark Gorman will tell the story of Manor Park 100 years ago, illustrated by local postcard images.

Earl of Essex, in better days
- soon after opening in 1902
You are welcome to turn up on the day, though spaces are limited so please guarantee your space by contacting Manor Park Library either in person or on 020 3373 0858

 6.30 - 8.30pm Manor Park Library

Tuesday 13 November

Talk: Forest Gate During World War 1
An illustrated one hour talk on Forest Gate and the First World War by the editor of this blog. It will examine life on the home front - particularly food shortages and Zepplin raids - through the detailed diaries of Godwin school, local soldiers and their fates (particularly in the Hammers' Battalion), the treatment of local conscientious objectors. There will be half a dozen brief biopics of local people and "their ward, including a touching story of a romance killed in its tracks by the war. 

The causes and objects of anti-German riots during the war, the Armistice, and the fate of the local war memorials erected to remember the dead will all be covered in this extensively illustrated talk.

Local anti-German riots in April 1915

The Hammers Battalion story
 - unit for many local men

Zepplin raids over Forest Gate

Some of the many thousands of
Forest Gate men who signed up
Troops mustering, on Wanstead Flats

The fate of local Conscientious Objectors

George Drewery VC -
from Claremont Road, one 

of six local case studies 
covered in the talk

Another. William Busby MC, local
congregationalist and scout leader

And another - Jack Richardson - 
whose local romance was 
ended by the war

And one of many local 
memorials to the fallen
Places are limited, you can book by visiting Forest Gate Library or calling 020 3373 0856

 7-8.30pm Forest Gate Library

Wednesday 14 November

The Princess and the Suffragette
 Visit from popular children’s author Holly Webb to Forest Gate Library to discuss her book The Princess and the Suffragette with Newham school children in years 5 and 6. Newham Bookshop will be on site to sell signed copies of Holly Webb books (from £6).

Schools are asked to get in touch with Forest Gate Library if they are interested in their year 5 and 6 classes being booked in. Tel: 020 3373 0856 Email: CN.forestgate@newham.gov.uk

Session times: 9.30-10.30am, 10.45-11.45am and 1.15-2.15.pm Forest Gate Library

Thursday 15 November

Film: Archibald Cameron Corbett: The man and his houses
A one hour professionally produced film about the remarkable story of the man behind the Woodgrange Estate and Forest Gate’s iconic clock and water trough, followed by a Q& A with the film’s producer and a  historian of the estate.

Corbett, a Scot, was a housing innovator, a public health campaigner, very progressive Liberal M.P and generous philanthropist. 

A fascinating insight into the man behind the Woodgrange estate and much of Ilford, as well as impressive estates in south London.

Corbett - the man

Above and below, Corbett's public legacy
 in Forest Gate: the clock and drinking
 trough. The only local surviving reference 

to the  man behind the 700-house
 Woodgrange Estate

Guardian journalist, Lucy Mangan - the
film's narrator and former

 Corbett house resident
Contact Manor Park Library to book your place either in person or on 020 3373 0858

 6.30-8pm Manor Park Library

Friday 16 November

Newham Female Voices
A performance organised by Newham Music, this powerhouse group of female singers have formed a ‘pop-up choir’ for Newham Heritage Week 2018. The choir is made up of singers from several Newham schools and they will be performing a variety of songs exploring the intersection of Newham’s musical history and the 100th anniversary of women receiving the right to vote in the UK.

 1pm Forest Gate Library

Saturday 17 November

Forest Gate Heritage Walk - West to East
An illustrated walk that embraces: a site of championship boxing contests, the house of the last person convicted of witchcraft in Britain, the location of the Rolling Stones conviction for indecent behaviour, site of Forest Gate's Anglo-Saxon treasure find. 

There will be a site visit to the former Odeon Cinema (hosted by the Minhaj mosque). We will come across, serious WW2 bomb damage, with pictures and stories, the location of the first Rock Against Racism gig, home of Mr Universe Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the childhood home of Small Faces’ Ronnie Lane.

"The Killer" plays West Ham baths
Witchcraft in
Forest Gate
Criminal convictions
for The Stones
Forest Gate's
Anglo-Saxon treasure

Site visit to the former Odeon cinema,
now Mosque, with access to the balcony
and views over Forest Gate
The bombed out Queen's Cinema
Muscle Mansion - one-time
home of Arnold Swartzenegger

Teenage home of former
Small Face, Ronnie Lane

Site of dreadful Victorian slums
Potato Hall - whose owners employed
 Irish farm labour, seeking
refuge from "the Hunger"
The walk will end at the site of a mid 19th century slum, condemned by Charles Dicken's brother, Alfred, Potato Hall and Irish Row, where some of those fleeing the famine found homes on local farms. 

Please note that this is a two-hour pavement walk. The site visit  will require climbing of stairs, from which a great views of the balcony of the former cinema (usually blocked off) and Forest Gate itself can be seen. Participants can sit this out.

 11am-1pm Meet just before 11am outside Atherton Leisure Centre, 189 Romford Rd, E15 4JF

Children’s Suffragette Sash and Community Rosette Making Workshop

Eastside Community Heritage will facilitate suffragette sash and rosette making workshops that will pay homage to this historic movement and help a younger generation learn about their vital role in political history. There will also be a selection of sound bites to aid discussion and learning from oral histories so children will find the topic truly engaging and inspiring.

Spaces are limited, so booking is advised but not essential, please contact the library.

 1-2.30pm Manor Park Library

Throughout the Festival

Exhibition: W.E. Wright: The Man and his Work
W.E. Wright was a late Victorian and Edwardian photographer of note. He had two studios in Forest Gate, and six others across East London and Essex. This exhibition - curated by his great-granddaughter, this blog and a number of local historians - features some of his extensive work, including many of his local photographs plus details of his family and business life.

There will be a slide show, on a continuous loop, detailing his life, his business and some of his fascinating photos, in addition to displays of his photographs in three separate galleries. The exhibition provides an excellent look back at Forest Gate 100 years ago - buildings, fashion and social history.

The exhibition is in Forest Gate library and runs until 30 November

Heritage Display Case:  Forest Gate Playing music in the 1960s

Objects relating to music of the era.

Thursday 8 - Sunday 18 - Forest Gate Library

Addresses and opening hours of venues

Forest Gate library (The Gate)
6-8 Woodgrange Road, E7 0QH
Open: Monday-Friday: 8am-8pm Saturday: 10.30am-8pm Sunday: Closed
Tel: 020 3373 0856, e.mail: CN.Forestgate@newham.gov.uk

 Manor Park library 685-693 Romford Road, E12 5AD
Open: Monday-Saturday: 10am-8pm Saturday: 10.30am-8pm Sunday: Closed.
Tel: 020 3373 0858, e.mail: CN.Manorpark@newham.gov.uk

Full Heritage Week programme 
Can be downloaded here