Good Bye to Glamour

Very sad news that Roy Silvester died, from cancer, two days ago.

You couldn’t fail to have noticed him as he picked his usual way slowly and carefully from Leopold Buildings – a skinny man with a pale face and twinkling forget-me-not blue eyes. And such unforgettable style.  Waistcoats, trilbies, old-fashioned grandpa shirts, sharp lacquered cane. And hats, hats, hats – he’d got hundreds, he said happily.  He had a talent for finding just the right thing in charity shops.



Stopping and talking to him, in his soft Cornish burr, was always a pleasure – hearing   stories of his life as a chef (and what great cakes he devised and baked for Apple Day), getting gardening tips.

He was never well, but with what spirit, courage and grace he tackled his life.

And he brought glamour to Gascoigne.

Bring On Spring

We are going to plant spring bulbs and sweet-smelling herbs this Wednesday afternoon –


Come and join in – Guidance given by Gabby our Gardener. No previous experience at all required.

2.30-5.30 Wednesday the 29th October.


The Shame of Bad Alley

Do you want to know where to go to buy drugs? Where to go to vomit on the pavement?

Search no further. We have just the place for you…

The little cut-through from Virginia Road onto our Gascoigne Estate used to lead into an area in Victorian times that was called Sweet Apple Square. Now it is rancid. Because the wall on one side – between us and the Mildmay estate – has a kink or a small dog-leg in it, no-one can see round the corner. So that means the cut-through attracts this…

Bad Alley2

…and it attracts dealers who hover in the corner where they can’t be seen (except by kids of course who use this alleyway regularly on their way to the primary school).

You can peer through the railings beside the path, down into the closed-off underground garages. Needless to say, full of debris….


This is one of the main entrances to the Gascoigne Estate, and a way that many people make their way through, on to Columbia Road. What an advertisement for our estate, and how dispiriting for all our struggles to make it a place to live in that we can be proud of, not ashamed of.

It is even worse now that the bright new Mildmay development, constructed by Genesis, has started to be inhabited, on the other side of the dividing wall. What a contrast.

Tasty Apple Day

A week before Apple Day, people found a surprise on their doorstep – a small white carrier bag left mysteriously there…


…… Inside they found a few fresh apples, specially picked the day before in an orchard in Sussex, and a request – Make something from these for Apple Day. Or if they didn’t feel like doing that, then just bring something else to share.

People did just that. They bought apple tarts, apple pies, apple muffins as well as lovely spicy pakoras and bhajias. The younger residents of the estate ran the Sweet Apple Cafe with all the offerings, charging 10p per person. They made the grand sum of £34.25 that will go towards spring bulbs that we will be planting on Wednesday October 29th. (Do come and join in.)

Mazuma + tea    View + sign

 Apple Day focused on health and nutrition. There were tables and sales and give-aways from St Hilda’s Food Co-Op, Women’s Environmental Network and Food Not Waste, and Richard from Spitalfields Farm cycled up with their colourful trailer.

But the star of the day were the Smoothie Bikes. Pedal on them, and you turn soft fruit into delicious healthy Smoothies. They were so popular that by the end of the day, children (and a few adults) had made 100 Smoothies!

Pedalling his way to health

Pedalling his way to health

St Hilda's Food Co-Op accompanied by sweet music

St Hilda’s Food Co-Op accompanied by sweet flute music

Tara from WEN and Richard from Spitalfields Farm

Tara from WEN and Richard from Spitalfields Farm

The Apples Are Coming

Here and there around the estate you can see notices secretly stuck up on walls and walkways by anonymous people…

Secret post-er

These are the quiet army of publicists (now you see them, now you don’t…), reminding you that APPLE DAY is coming.

Secret poster 2

Save the date – Sunday October 12th, 2.30-5.30pm.  A day of games – test your strength with the Tug of War (adults and children!). A day of fun – have a go on the fabulous Smoothie Bikes, a day to share at the SWEET APPLE CAFE to the sound of soft music.

Watch out for the apples due to arrive on your doorstep – all the way from an organic orchard in Sussex, and the best you’ll have ever tasted! Make something out of them to bring to the Sweet Apple Cafe, or just bring something to share if you don’t bake.

apple_day_16See you there !

More Apples

Apple Day was such a great event that we are doing it again this year.

SUNDAY  12 th OCTOBER , 2.30 – 5.30pm

Watch out for apples landing on your doorstep, and give some thought about what you can make from them. Last year, people brought such a lovely spread – apple muffins, turnovers, cakes, slices… But you needn’t be limited to apples or even bake yourself. The children who run the Sweet Apple Cafe will welcome any contribution.



Begin at the Beginning

We’ve made a start. Last week we attacked the chickweed and other undesirables. They were starting to choke the plants on the beds that run along the length of Leopold Buildings.

Day One

Five adults, three children and one baby worked hard for a few hours and made a noticeable difference. Have a look and see what you think.

Next Wednesday, we are going to spread bark to stop the weeds just growing back. Come along and join in. No special knowledge is required. Our gardener, Gabby,

Gabby pic

will be there to stop us doing anythign disastrous.

She’s also advising us on what plants will go well in those beds. As soon as we can, we’ll put some in but last week the earth was so hard that a spade couldn’t even made a dent. The big planting will take place – with bulbs and others – will take place in the autumn though.

Be Part of the Rescue !

Come and join in, this Wednesday 16th, and get rid of the weeds that are choking the few flowers around Leopold Buildings.

We are going to clear the ground and start to put in new planting so that in time a glorious colourful display will meet your eye instead of sad bushy greenery.

THCH has agreed that we can take over the contract from Aspire who’ve been doing the maintenance. As you can imagine, it’s not that much money for a year. So the more energy we ourselves put into it, the better it’ll look.

Gardener, Gabby Boraston is going to come once a month, and the grass is going to be mown more frequently. What would you like to see here?

Come on Wednesday – any time between 2.30 and 5.30. Come and join in, come and meet Gabby and tell us. Be part of the rescue.


Once Arnold Circus was a dump, and look at it now….

Let’s make Leopold Lovely!


Sunshine and the way ahead

This is the way to do an Annual General meeting….

On a sunny day, outside…

Our Treasurer, Jane Deacon

Our Treasurer, Jane Deacon

Jane presented the year’s accounts, and James read an account of what we have done during the year. A full year with a new playground and a Master Plan commissioned about improvements to make the whole estate pleasanter, greener and safer for all.

Annual Report 2014

We combined the AGM with a Bring’Buy Sale, donations going to CLIC Sargent, the charity that helps children and young people who have cancer.  People were generous and contributed £150.

James Greem chaired

James Green chaired

Have a Clear-Out – help children (and yourself)

What have you got hanging around in your place that you don’t need any longer?

Clothes?  Books?  Kitchenware?  Toys your children don’t play with any more?  Loads of stuff… You name it!


Have a good clear-out. Bring them to the Gascoigne Bring’n Buy Sale this coming Saturday, 1.30 – 5pm.

Tables cost £5 – first come, first served.

Bake or bring cakes for the Refreshment TableCIMG3297

Give something from what you make to CLIC Sargent, the charity that raises money to help Children with Cancer.