Loo for a Day

The Hut changed the other day. If you’d have gone into it, there in front of you would have been a sparkling new kitchen, bath and toilet.


And the next day, they were gone again !

Transform 220150702-01331

The reason for the instant one-day house is simple.

Tower Hamlets Homes had rented the Hut for a few hours for a Drop-In, in order to show tenants what their new kitchens and bathrooms would look like in real life. Much better than a leaflet through the door.

We were pleased to have them there – rental money all goes to community events on our estate, planting flowers and to pay for the Hut. We need more bookings! So please pass the word around.

The Hut is a great place for children’s parties, small meetings, receptions, workshops and so on. And dont forget – there’s a special price too for residents.

Contact Debbie for details – 07931 712276

The Mystery of the Moving Table (and the non-moving rubbish)

Once there was a ping pong table here

Now you see it….


Now you don’t…


After it had been wrenched off its screws, it kept moving around – for one stupid time it was in the lobby of Dunmore Point where residents were – not surprisingly – not pleased.  Then it was to be found at the side of The Hut where kids were playing on it. And then it vanished again. Early last Saturday morning there was no sign of it, not in the playground, nowhere at the back, front or side of The Hut.

Stolen, it seemed.

And then it came back again. People got in touch and reported seeing it at the back of The Hut.

We have a magic ping-pong table with a mind of its own.

But what a shame the rubbish around the playground and The Hut can’t do the same trick.

Right now, it looks really bad. This picture is only the half of it…

How nasty for kids to play here and for any of us to sit out here. So…

Hut litter 2

….this is an appeal for people to come and help clear up the playground and the sandpit, on this Saturday at 11am. Bring plastic bags, and gloves.

Unlike the ping-pong table, the rubbish isn’t going to move itself.

Finally – come back at 2.30pm for a slice of cake and then the Annual General Meeting of the Gascoigne Neighbourhood Association and hear what we’ve done in the past year.

More on Pollution

We knew it before the Evening Standard used the Freedom of Information Act and discovered, “Levels of toxicity are up to three-and-a-half times the EU legal limit – and all of the country’s worst blackspots for dirty air are in the capital.”

But where’s our proof?

Some weeks ago, a team of local residents looked at maps and discussed which bits we feel suffer most from traffic fumes. IMG_3393

Then we went and placed small diffusion tubes around Bethnal Green Road, Hackney Road/Columbia Road,  Redchurch Street, Arnold Circus and Club Row. The tubes measure the levels of nitrogen dioxide – the toxic gas that is closely linked to asthma and other respiratory problems, and causes such grief to many local people. IMG_3398

We left the tubes there and then collected them after one week.  The London Sustainability Exchange is currently analysing the data. Watch this space for their results.

But don’t breathe too deeply…..

Cut the Pollution !

Have you noticed, when you are near a main road, the way your chest tightens up? It’s pollution – caused by traffic fumes. And it is deadly. London Sustainability Exchange (LSE) reckons 100 people die a year in the borough because of air pollution. But at a lesser level, it is also responsible for bronchitis, asthma and heart disease.

East London has long been heavily polluted by industry but Tower Hamlets has some of the busiest roads in Britain passing close to large high-density housing estates. Nowhere in the borough is further than 500 metres from a busy road and new housing developments targeted at young families are popping up right by main roads.

This Saturday morning (January 31st) we are going to be shown how to measure air pollution in our area, and be given kits to take out to parts we reckon could be trouble spots.  We are gathering in The Hut at 10am, for a short lesson, and then going out with the kit for around an hour.

Come and join us. Have a hand in protecting our families and cutting pollution.

The data that we collect will be entered on a map and given to the Council and also be part of the East Shoreditch Neighbourhood Plan.

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.