On a mission with Eastside Community Heritage.
November 18, 2014  //  By:   //  History  //  No Comment

It was interesting and a great pleasure to spend some time with Eastside Community Heritage (ECH) learning how to work the necessary machinery and ask the right questions to gather from working people the oral history of the East End. It was great to do the training with executive director Judith Garfield, who was awarded the MBE for services to community heritage. Eastside itself, was established in 1993 as part of the Stratford City Challenge community history project. In 1997 it became an independent charity and over the years has worked and continues to work on numerous projects documenting the lives of ‘ordinary’ people from and who live in East London.

One of ECH’s current projects is to gather memories from people who worked in Harland and Wolff (featured above) or in other areas of ship building and repair on the Thames. To assist in this task they are bringing their recording equipment to Custom House Library, Prince Regent Lane, E16 3JJ (020 3373 0855) on Tuesday 2nd December 2014 between 10.30am and 12.30pm. Anyone connected with shipbuilding is welcome, even if all you have is a story about your father,mother or a relative who was part the industry. Eastside Community Heritage’s contact details are below if you cannot make it to Custom House Library and they will arrange to visit you and save your memories.

Glancing through ECH’s back library, one of the publications struck the writer as particularly poignant, “North Woolwich, Stories from the Riverside”, Eastside Community Heritage 2003, Richard Bolt/Judith Garfield: ISBN 0-9542697-3-X. The memories of people with a rich and fascinating history who “played and very important part in the development of London and the whole country”.

On page 18 there is a quote from Glynis Webb which reveals the depth of the connection a generation must have had to the docks and the ships that arrived there.

“When I attended Drew Road School,……….the school had adopted one of the Glen Line Ships-the Glen Orchy. We thought it great fun when the ship entered or left the dock to climb the stairs to the roof of the school and sing the sailors hymn to the crew on board-did they really hear us? We thought so despite being escorted by tugs and the flags flapping in the breeze. The top class of each year……were invited on board for tea-if it was in dock”.

That is a childhood memory and below is the Glen Orchy.


Eastside Community Heritage
The Parish Centre
Cardinal Heenan Centre
326 High Road
Ilford IG1 1QP

020 8553 3116

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