Saturday, 2 April 2011

ditch The Block

OPEN Shoreditch member Jago Action Group is taking up arms against the gross over development of the Huntingdon Estate, the light industrial estate bordered by Bethnal Green Road and Redchurch Street, next to the Tea building. Developers Londonnewcastle are so passionate about the neighbourhood that they want to bless this low-rise mixed residential quarter with a 25-storey tower block.

In a cynical bid to buy off Tower Hamlets development committee, Londonnewcastle proposes to build affordable housing squidged between two busy railway lines half a mile from the gleaming tower block. The 'fact' sheet issued in support of the development application omits just one really crucial fact: the Huntingdon Estate application is for a 25-story tower block. And neither do the pictures tell the real story, as only eight floors of the proposed tower can be seen.

In a covering email, the developers claim to be 'tremendously passionate about the location, the area and it's possibilities...' There's no doubting their passion – to dig themselves out of the large hole in their balance sheet, as a result of taking an option on the site at the height of the property boom. Faced with a site cost of double what's it's currently worth, Londonnewcastle is desperately trying to claw back potential losses by bequeathing the neighbourhood a monument to its folly.

Jago Action Group objects to the plans because:

  • A 25-STOREY TOWER BLOCK is completely out of keeping with the current scale, massing and height of the existing buildings on Redchurch, Ebor and Chance streets, which are all 2-4 storeys in height.
  • There is ZERO affordable housing proposed on the Huntingdon Estate. A gated community in the sky for City bankers will not contribute to the development of a sustainable mixed community.

JAGO Action Group can be contacted at

What you can do:

If you live, work or socialise in this part of Shoreditch, support the local community by:

1/ Joining our 'ditch The Block' group here on Facebook

2/ Printing and distributing the 'ditch The Block' poster (click on the image and drag it to your desktop)

3/ Viewing the planning application here

And if you agree with us, email Tower Hamlets' planning team/department:
and cc your email to the local councillors:
4/ Copying and pasting the letter below into your own document and sending it to the planning department:

(Remember to include your address and postcode with your objection and include the planning application reference numbers: PA/11/00460 and PA/11/00461)

Simon Ryan
Development Control – Planning Department
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Mulberry Place (AH)
PO Box 55739
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 2BE

Dear Sirs

PA/11/00460 and PA/11/00461: Huntingdon Estate on Redchurch, Chance and Ebor Streets and Bethnal Green Road

I strongly object to planning applications PA/11/00460 and PA/11/00461 as gross overdevelopment of the former Huntingdon Estate and specifically because:

(a)            the proposed 25-STOREY TOWER BLOCK is too high and completely out of keeping with current scale, massing and height of the existing buildings on Redchurch, Ebor and Chance Streets, which are all 2-4 storeys in height;

(b)            the development will cause GREAT HARM to the character of the Redchurch Street, South Shoreditch and Boundary Estate Conservation Areas;

(c)            it is unacceptable that the proposed development includes ZERO social or affordable housing on the site of the Huntingdon Estate development as this will not contribute to the development of a sustainable, mixed community; and

(d)            it is unacceptable that ALL of the social and affordable housing is located on a site surrounded by two busy railway lines, which is a large distance away from the Huntingdon Estate.

I urge the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to REFUSE the above planning applications.

Yours sincerely





Wednesday, 27 October 2010

2nd Annual Residents' Question Time

This year have your say on

Anti Social Behaviour (ASB)

Wednesday 3 November    5.30pm - 8pm

Whitechapel Idea Store, 321 Whitechapel Road, E1 1BU

Your chance to question senior officers from the Police, Council and Fire Service on what we've been doing, how we can improve and what you can do!

Guest speakers include Richard Taylor, father of Damilola Taylor (Damilola Taylor Trust) and Jim Webster (Met Police Commander, North East London).

Food, refreshments, performances, quiz and prizes. Creche also available on the night. 

Due to high demand for places at previous events, please confirm your attendance as soon as possible.

For further details and to confirm your place please contact:

Mohamed Raja
T: 020 7364 6108

What is Anti-Social Behaviour?
Anti-social behaviour is any aggressive, intimidating or destructive activity that damages or destroys another person's quality of life.

Examples of Anti-Social Behaviour:

  • Street Problems intimidation, drunkenness, begging, drug dealing and prostitution
  • Nuisance Neighbours threat, intimidation, loud noise and vandalism
  • Environmental Crime littering, graffiti and vandalism

To report ASB call the Council's 24 hour freephone reporting line on 
0800 917 5 918

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Mayoral Elections Hustings Events

The Tower Hamlets Mayoral election is due to take place on Thursday 21 October.

The candidates confirmed by Tower Hamlets council are:

  • Helal Abbas (Labour)
  • Alan Duffell (Green Party) 
  • John Griffiths (Lib Dems) 
  • Neil King (Conservative)
  • Lutfur Rahman (Independent)

Details of all the candidates can be found online here: 
Tower Hamlets website

The following are the latest dates for proposed hustings with each candidate speaking

  • Tuesday, October 12 – St Matthias Church, Woodstock Terrace, Poplar, at 7pm – chaired by Malcolm Starbrook, group editor of the East London Advertiser and other titles
  • Friday, October 15 –  Bangla TV – Friday Plus show
  • Sunday, October 17 – Oxford House at 3pm. Jointly organised by the following local groups: Tower Hamlets & Jenin Friendship Association, United East End, Viva Palestina and Tower Hamlets Stop The War
  • Monday, October 18 – Spitalfields Small Business Association – business hustings at 7-15 Greatorex Street (6.30pm)
  • Operation Black Vote - also on Monday 18 October - 7.30pm at St Margaret’s Hall in Bethnal Green

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Gilda O'Neill

Bestselling author Gilda O'Neill, who chronicled the history of the East End of London in her novels and non-fiction, died on Friday after a short illness, her literary agency Curtis Brown has announced.  
She was 59.

Born in 1951 in Bethnal Green, O'Neill was brought up in the East End, the granddaughter of a Thames tug skipper and a pie and mash shop owner. She left school at 15 but went on to take three degrees as a mature student, turning to writing full time in 1990.

She hit the bestseller lists with her history of cockney London, My East End, following it up with Our Street, about East Enders during the second world war, and The Good Old Days, chronicling the underbelly of London in the 19th century.

O'Neill was also the author of 13 novels set in and around the area she grew up, from her most recent second world war-set Secrets of the Heart, in which 16-year-old Freddie is conducting a secret relationship with a girl from the local Chinese community, to Sins of the Fathers, about East End crime family the O'Donnells.

"Gilda O'Neill was a generous, loving and popular person whose writing and life touched all those came into contact with her," said Curtis Brown in a statement. "Her works of oral history were held in high regard and widely read."

From The Guardian        Curtis Brown

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Bengal History Week

History week runs from 2 - 10 October 2010

EAST INDIA COMPANY WALKS(Advance booking only)
Saturday 2 October 2010, 3-5pm
City of London and West End by Nick Robins (The Corporation that Changed the World: How the East India Company Shaped the Modern Multinational)

Sunday 3 October 2010, 2-4pmInvisible Empire and East India Company Dockside by Dr Georgie Wemyss (The Invisible Empire: White Discourse, Tolerance and Belonging)
Mile End Arts Pavilion, Ashcroft Rd, E3 5TW
The exhibition is based on the book Plassey’s Legacy: young Londoners explore the hidden story of the East India Company. The book has been written by eight young people (18-25) who explored the London heritage of the East India Company and the city’s historical links with Bengal. 
Exhibition Opening hours 9.30am-5.30pmThe exhibition is open to all and Brick Lane Circle particularly welcomes school visits, which can be arranged during weekdays:  10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm, starting from Monday afternoon, 4 October 2010.
Monday 4 October 2010, 4.30pm – 8.30pmPrivate viewing, special guest speaker, networking and entertainment
More details will be provided in due course
Friday 8 October 2010, 9.30am-2.00pm Young people’s conference Half day conference, including lunch, aimed at young people from secondary schools and colleges.  The conference will have presentations from a number of young authors of the Plassey’s Legacy book, workshops, refreshment / lunch and informal   discussion.  Teachers and youth organizations are encouraged to bring their students to participate in this unique conference.

There will be an opportunity for students and young people to learn about shared history, exchange knowledge and experiences with each other and contribute ideas for making heritage learning more interesting and valuable. 

Tuesday 5 October 2010
Muslim Rule in Bengal (1204-1757) by Mojlum Khan, who was born in Habiganj, Bangladesh and brought up and   educated in the UK. He is the author of several publications and research papers including the acclaimed book The Muslim 100: The Lives, Thoughts and Achievements of the Most Influential Muslims in History (2008, reprinted 2009, 2010) and The Muslim Heritage of Bengal (forthcoming).  Idea Store Whitechapel, 321 Whitechapel Rd, E1 1BU
Wednesday 6 October 2010, 7-9pmBengal Muslim Identity: Mapping Changing Perspectives by Dr Ferhana Hashem, a Research Fellow at the University of Kent.  She recently completed two research projects: ‘What kind of language service should public authorities provide to minority groups: the case of Bangladeshis in London’ and 'Ethnic Options of Mixed Race Identity' in Britain’. Ferhana completed her doctorate in political sociology in 2003, which examined Bengal Muslim identity in the Indian subcontinent. Idea Store Chrisp Street, 1 Vesey Path, East India Dock Road, E14 6BT
Thursday 7 October 2010The beginnings of British rule in Bengal by Dr Jon E. Wilson, who teaches history of South Asia at King's College London, and recently completed a book on the colonial regime in Bengal entitled The Domination of Strangers. He studied   History and Anthropology at Oxford University and the New School for Social Research.  Idea Store Chrisp Street, 1 Vesey Path, East India Dock Road, E14 6BT
Friday 8 October 2010The establishment of the Hindu College in Calcutta in 1817 and the 19th Century Bengal RenaissanceDetails of speaker and venue to be confirmed
Saturday 9 October 2010, 3.00-5.00pm
Bangladesh: Partitions, Nationalisms and Legacies for State-Building by Professor Mushtaq Khan, who teaches economics at SOAS. He completed his first degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford and then studied PhD in Economics at Cambridge. Previously  he taught at the universities of both Oxford and Cambridge. Information on his research interests are available at

Mile End Arts Pavilion, Ashcroft Rd, E3 5TW
Sunday 10 October 2010, 2.00-4.00pmThe ethno-nationalist conflict in Chittagong Hill Tracts: A tale of partition 1947 by Rumana Hashem, who teaches sociology, culture and gender in University of East London. She is finishing her PhD on Gender and Armed Conflict: The case of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.  Prior to joining UEL she taught sociology and gender in BRAC University.
Sunday 10 October 2010, 4.00-6.00pmCultural event
Details to be confirmed
Mile End Arts Pavilion, Ashcroft Rd, E3 5TW
All welcome! Free Entry! For further details please call 07574224891 or email

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Muslin: The famous textile from Bengal

By Professor Dr. Sharif uddin Ahmed

MONDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2010, 7.00-9.00PM

Lab 3, Idea Store Whitechapel
321 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1BU

He gained his MA at Dhaka University, undertook postgraduate studies (B.Litt) at Oxford University and completed his PhD at London University (School of Oriental and African Studies). Currently he is a Professor of History Department at Dhaka University and Director of Centre for Dhaka Studies. Previously he was the Director of National Archives for Bangladesh and president of the historical society of Bangladesh.  He has authored several books on city of Dhaka, including Dhaka: A study in urban history and development (English) and Mitford Hospital and Dhaka Medical College (Bengali).


For more details please call on the number below or send an email.

Muhammad Ahmedullah
Brick Lane Circle

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

An Oasis off London's Beaten Path

Read what New Yorkers are being told about this part of London:  

Photograph: Charlotte Player