Feminism, corner shops and bricks: Here's what's happening in Newham Heritage Month

Beckton Gasworks pictured in the 1960s

Beckton Gasworks pictured in the 1960s. Newham Archives and Local Studies - Credit: Newham Archives and Local Studies

Details of this year's Newham Heritage Month have been announced, with the line-up including brickmaking, feminism, corner shops and more.

The celebration, which is funded by the National Lottery, will take place mainly online with free events and activities throughout May.

Rosie Murdoch, programme manager, said: "This year’s line-up has exciting invitations for everyone, from Kid’s Trails to underground record stores, revolutionary feminists to music and memories, poetry to brickmaking.

De Underground Records in Sebert Road

L-R: Mike De Underground, Randall, Marly Marl, MC Fats, Cool Hand Flex and Jonny 2 Bad outside De Underground Records in Sebert Road, Forest Gate in July 1995. The shop features in this year's Newham Heritage Month. - Credit: Eddie Otchere

"We’ll be revealing how one iconic record store and studio played a huge role in the birth of the UK’s dance music scene, while another project promises to reveal 'Newham’s best-kept secret'.

"This is a celebration which has been made by the Newham community for the Newham community with amazing insights into our shared heritage. We’ll take the audience racing through history, from Newham’s brickmaking past hundreds of years ago, right up to the present minute.


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"This year’s fascinating line-up is all free and offers unique experiences you can’t find elsewhere. As well as some great entertainment, residents will have a chance to take part and get free creative lessons from some renowned Newham experts."

A shop in Barking Rd in about 1895

A shop at 231 Barking Road in about 1895. - Credit: Newham Archives and Local Studies

The theme this year is shops, docks and factories – Newham’s urban heritage.

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It promises to take in the history of industry, innovation and creativity in the borough, highlighting businesses, places and people.

The festivities are due to honour corner shops and family-run curry houses besides paying tribute to the factories and docks which formed Newham’s landscape in the 20th century.

Kiln firing

A sneak peak of the Newham Brickfields project which is due to take place live during Newham Heritage Month. - Credit: James Darling Photography

A recreation of a historic brickworks with a live kiln recreated in the Royal Docks is also among the events. A visit from Thames Barges is planned too.

The 2021 event follows the first official Newham Heritage Month last year, which saw thousands participate in virtual walks, art workshops, live theatre and more.

It included a Newham-themed quiz delivered by TV personality Bobby Seagull, who is from the borough.

Newham Heritage Month is organised by the town hall as part of Newham Unlocked.

A full programme is due to appear on newhamheritagemonth.org on May 1.

The projects which have all received grant funding for Newham Heritage Month 2021:

· Crate Digging: The influence of De Underground Records

· Newham’s Wonderful Working Women

· Stories of Africans Living in Newham

· Counter Culture: Celebrating Newham’s corner shops

· Designs That Travel

· Brickfield: Kilns, Bricks, Working and Dwelling

· Drawing Woodgrange Road, Past and Present

· Heritage Heroes of Newham

· J D McDougall: Newham’s Best Kept Secret

· Roots of the Curry House

· Darning Newham

· Connecting the Past to the Present – A Photographic Journey

· Creative Shopping around Newham Markets

· Voice of the Dragon: Sharing our Heritage

· Madge Gill – East London Textiles

· Shops, Docks and Factories – A Musical Celebration

· Movies and Memories

· Rosetta Creative Workshops

· Thames Barges in Royal Docks

· Islanders

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