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North Woolwich shipyard’s heritage link with the Titanic

Inside the factory. Courtesy of Eastside Commmunity Heritage Inside the factory. Courtesy of Eastside Commmunity Heritage

Saturday, August 2, 2014
11:32 PM

What has Newham in common with the ill-fated passenger liner the RMS Titantic which in 1915 struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage killing 1,500 people?

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A ship outside the factory. courtesy Eastside Community HeritageA ship outside the factory. courtesy Eastside Community Heritage

The link lies with shipbuilders’ Harland and Wolff, which built the vessel at its Belfast shipyard, but which also had shipyard in the Royal Docks at North Woolwich,

The yard, which opened in the 1920’s no longer exists, having closed in the 1970’s.

Now a Stratford based arts organisation has been given a £10,000 Heritage Lottery grant to uncover the forgotten history of the H&W shipyard at the Royal Docks.

The Rosetta Art Centre in Hamilton Road, Stratford, was awarded the grant last week through the Lottery Fund’s “Sharing Heritage” scheme.

It will be used by the Rosetta Arts Centre and Eastside Community Heritage for its project “Ships in The Night” which will look at the part the shipyard played in the industrial and maritime heritage of the area.

As part of the project it wants ex-employees of the shipyard or people who have memories of their time in the docks to participate by sharing their stories.

The grant will also enable 20 volunteers to be trained in archive research skills and how to collect oral histories.

The collected research will then be shared with schoolchildren from 10 local schools through interactive arts workshops and organising a touring exhibition of the heritage information around the borough.

Sanaz Amidi, Director of Rosetta Art Centre, said “We are delighted to receive our first grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and begin this exciting journey, using art to explore an understanding of our local maritime and industrial heritage.”

Sue Bowers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London said: “Sharing Heritage is a wonderful opportunity for communities to delve into their local heritage and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant so that Rosetta Art Centre can embark on a real journey of discovery.

“Heritage means such different things to different people, and HLF’s funding offers a wealth of opportunities for groups to explore and celebrate what’s important to them in the area.”

An open session for people to share their stories takes place on Friday, September 12 at the Hopkins Room in Stratford Library from 11am-1pm. Contact office@ech.org.uk or 0208553 3116 for more details of how people can contribute to your story to the project.

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