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Successful Newham Heritage Week ‘takes us one step closer to a museum’

PUBLISHED: 12:01 01 November 2016 | UPDATED: 12:01 01 November 2016

Brick Lane Music Hall

Brick Lane Music Hall

Vickie Flores

A week devoted to the borough’s history has been hailed a “huge success” – and a step towards a permanent museum.

The Changing face of Forest Gate exhibition at the Gate Community CentreThe Changing face of Forest Gate exhibition at the Gate Community Centre

Newham Heritage Week, which ran from Monday last week up until Sunday, attracted hundreds of people with a variety of events highlighting Newham’s past.

Abbey Mills Pumping Station, in Abbey Lane, was opened up at the weekend for tours while in North Woolwich, the Brick Lane Music Hall was explored on Thursday.

Organiser Kevin Jenkins, whose project was run in partnership with Newham Council, said he was very happy with the week.

“It’s the first time anything like this has ever been done, so it was a learning experience,” the co-founder of Canning Town charity Community Links said.

Vincent Hayes gives a tour to residents at Brick Lane Music Hall in North Woolwich.Vincent Hayes gives a tour to residents at Brick Lane Music Hall in North Woolwich.

“But it was a huge success.”

He added: “We’re going to try to do this next year and the year after – to turn it into an annual event – and I think the interest is there for it.”

Mr Jenkins said the turnout was “very good”, with more than a hundred people attending the Abbey Mills weekend tours and a similar number heading to a lecture on Forest Gate through the years at the Gate Library on Wednesday last week.

Another major feature of the week was the unveiling of new street signs by Newham Council.

A heritage sign marking the site of the West Ham Stadium which was unveiled in Young Road      Picture: Newham CouncilA heritage sign marking the site of the West Ham Stadium which was unveiled in Young Road Picture: Newham Council

Howards Road in Plaistow was one, which featured a description of the great meteorologist’s achievements – including naming cumulus, stratus and cirrus clouds.

Speedway-themed signs unveiled included one in Young Road, Custom House – named after World Speedway Champion of 1951 and 1952 Jack Young – and a plaque commemorating the West Ham Stadium, also in Young Road.

Colin Grainger, who played a leading role in the week, said it was important to remember and protect the borough’s history.

“Speedway still attracts a massive interest here,” the former Recorder editor said. “We’ve got to preserve what we have for the future.”

Staff volunteer Elisabete Lopes with visitor Martin Bates at the Changing Face of Forest Gate exhibitionStaff volunteer Elisabete Lopes with visitor Martin Bates at the Changing Face of Forest Gate exhibition

Mr Grainger stressed the ultimate purpose of the events was to see a permanent museum opened.

“There’s a real passion for everything to do with history in Newham,” he said.

“We just need a site to put all the great stuff we’ve got in.”

Mr Jenkins, who alongside Mr Grainger is a member of the group A Museum for Newham, agreed.

Cllrs Ken Clark and Forhad Hussain help unveil a sign in Young Road paying tribute to World Speedway Champion Jack Young       Picture: Newham CouncilCllrs Ken Clark and Forhad Hussain help unveil a sign in Young Road paying tribute to World Speedway Champion Jack Young Picture: Newham Council

“This week has taken us one step closer to getting a museum in Newham,” he said.

“That is the key – and people really seemed receptive to the idea.”


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