Week long celebration of Newham heritage

11 October 2016 in Events
Newham residents can celebrate and learn more about the borough’s rich history during a special week of events being held this month.
Newham Heritage Week, organised by Newham Council in partnership with a range of other organisations, will run between Monday 24 and Sunday 30 October.

A wide range of walks, films, talks, exhibitions and activities for people of all ages will be held in venues across the borough highlighting the people, places and events that have shaped Newham into the borough it is now.

Today Newham has a population of more than 330,000. However, the borough comes from humble beginnings with the Domesday Book recording the manor of (West) Ham with a population of just 130 in 1086.

Among the notable historical figures that have called Newham home include prison reformer Elizabeth Fry who moved to East Ham in 1809, James Keir Hardie who became Britain’s first Labour MP in 1892 and Jack Cornwall who is one of the youngest ever recipients of a Victoria Cross for his brave actions during the Battle of Jutland in May 1916.

Among the events being organised during Newham Heritage Week include:
  • an exhibition of sporting heroes who have been born, lived or trained in Newham including the borough’s very own Olympic Gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu;  swimmer Edward Temme who was the first man to swim the English Channel in both directions; and boxer Terry Spinks who became the youngest Olympic gold medallist in British boxing history at the Melbourne Games in 1956. The display at Stratford Library, The Grove,  will also include Arnold Schwarzenegger who was a regular in Wag Bennett’s gym in Forest Gate in 1967 while training for his fourth Mr Universe title.
  • heritage themed greeting card workshops run by Rosetta Arts Centre in libraries across the borough in which children will create their own greeting cards adorned with places and faces from Newham’s history
  • a talk by local historians Peter Williams and Mark Gorman at Forest Gate Library, Woodgrange Road, on Wednesday 26 October, entitled Forest Gate; Growth of a Victorian Suburb. The event starts at 6.45pm
  • an audio walk along the North Woolwich Trail featuring the sounds of the River Thames and Newham’s docklands. The walk will take place on Monday 24 October between 1pm and 3.30pm. People should meet at the King George V DLR Station, in Pier Road.
  • a talk by archivist Murray Melvin at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, Stratford outlining the history of the Grade II listed building synonymous with legendary theatre director Joan Littlewood. The event will take place at 11am on Thursday 27 October.
Councillor Ken Clark, cabinet member for building communities, public affairs, regeneration and planning, said: “Newham has a rich and colourful history that many people living here now may know little if anything about.

“Newham, like every part of the country, has changed over the years. We should not lose sight of our past which has helped Newham develop into the vibrant, dynamic and resilient borough we know today.

“I hope all of our residents take the opportunity to find out about the events and people that have shaped our borough by visiting the wide array of events being organised by the council and our partners.”

A full list of events being held during the week is available from the council’s libraries.