Newham Heritage Month: History and diversity of borough to be celebrated with online activities and stories

Iroko performing at the Old Town Hall in Stratford during an event to announce the National Lottery

Iroko performing at the Old Town Hall in Stratford during an event to announce the National Lottery Heritage Fund's support for Newham Heritage Month. Picture: Newham Council - Credit: Archant

The rich history and diversity of people who have made the borough home through centuries of migration is set to be celebrated.

An online programme of free and fun activities highlighting the culture and creativity of people of all ages will run throughout June for Newham Heritage Month.

The Making a Home in Newham programme is being delivered in a different way this year because of the restrictions in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

New activities will be published every day on a dedicated website, including live-streamed tours, workshops and sing-a-longs, to help people discover more about and appreciate where they live.

Deputy mayor for community, councillor Charlene McLean, said: “People have been arriving to make a home here from as far back as the 12th century to work in milling and farming at Stratford Langthorne Abbey monastery, and at the Grade 1 listed House Mill in Stratford in the 18th century.”

Ahead of the activities beginning, the Newham Heritage Month website has shared heart-warming stories about life in wartime and post-war Newham.

These include Harry Cumberbatch MBE, who arrived from Barbados in 1964, and a look at how VE Day celebrations were reported 75 years ago.

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Other groups involved include Canning Town educational charity Caramel Rock, which will be sharing African textile design tips, and Shpresa Programme, a Plaistow organisation promoting the contribution of the Albanian-speaking community, which will play Albanian folk lullabies.

Other activities include: a live Zoom discussion with “honorary Bengali” Suresh Singh about his upbringing in Tower Hamlets and subsequent life in East Ham; and a whole family reminiscence session in English and Cantonese from True Heart Theatre.

People who’ve made homes on the waterways of Channelsea River in Stratford will be interviewed, capturing a mix of under and above water sounds presented by Surge Cooperative.

There’ll also be a focus on Green Street heritage businesses - including international fashion designer Mani Kohli’s first shop Khubsoorat Collection on nearby Plashet Grove in 1985, and a jewellery shop opened by Bhanji Gokaldas’ family in 1975 and now run by its third generation.

Visit for daily activities and stories.