In October last year, I wrote about a statue that used to adorn Island Gardens. Regular contributor, Eric Pemberton had sent a couple of photographs which shows a classical style statue entitled Diana the Huntress.
According to the page from a book “Greater London by Christopher Trent which was published in 1965, the statue was there in the 1960s. It is in the 1970s that the park was transferred to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and it was around this time that people think the statue disappeared from the gardens.
The story generated considerable interest and a number of people began to make enquiries into the statue, one of the first leads was that there was a similar statue in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Island Garden statue was considered a copy of this statue.
However, further investigation into the V & A statue began to create considerable interest.
The interesting part about the V & A Statue is that it does have a connection with East London.
The Marble statue at the V & A is called Diana Hunting by Giovanni Maria Benzoni born 1809 – died 1873 and was made in Rome in 1859.
Diana is shown carrying a bow and arrow with a dog by her side. It was exhibited at the International Exhibition in South Kensington in 1862. The statue is adapted from the 4th century B.C marble known as the Diane de Versailles in the Louvre in Paris.
The statue was part of the Dixon bequest, Joshua Dixon was a merchant and art collector who bequeathed his collection of 295 oil paintings, watercolour drawings, bronzes and statuary to the Bethnal Green branch of the South Kensington Museum in 1886 for ‘the use of the public of East London’.
So the question arises is the V & A statue, the same Diana that was in Island Gardens ?
I decided to visit the V & A to have a closer look, the statue is not hard to find being in the middle of the café.
On close inspection, the statue is practically identical with dog looking quite appealing and arrows in quiver, it would be quite a coincidence if there was this statue in Bethnal Green and an exact copy in Island Gardens.
If the statue had been placed in Island Gardens by the local council, why are there no records ? is it possible that the statue was part of a wider campaign to bring art to the people that was popular in the 60s and 70s ?
We will only know for sure, if the V & A have records about where the statue has been and a number of people are asking the museum for more information.
Only then we can confirm that the Island Gardens Diana and the V & A Diana are the same statue.
Eighty Not Out: The Memories of Ernest Edward Loades 1890 – 1976 (Part Three) Chrisp Street Market and a Holiday in the Country
When Ernest Edward Loades was eighty in the early 1970s, he wrote about his eventful life which started from humble beginnings in Poplar before he worked in service to some members of the aristocracy before leaving the UK for the sake of his health to live in Australia.
In the next part of Ernest’s ‘memories’, we find him entering the world of work in Chrisp Street Market and sees the other side of life by meeting some of the aristocracy on a summer holiday in Somerset. I have used some postcards from the period to give some idea of the market and Maiden Bradley.
When I was about 12 and a half, I got a job – Friday nights and all day Saturday – at one of the biggest provision shops in our local market (Chrisp Street, Poplar)- Coppen Brothers. We got a big lump of cake and a cup of cocoa for supper on Friday nights; dinner, tea and cake again on Saturday, and the wages were one and sixpence a week, for the long hours of 6pm till 11pm Friday night, and 8am till midnight on Saturday.
I had a reasonable good time, and all 8 or 9 other boys had to do was to look after different stalls – bacon, eggs, cheese, fresh and salt pork, poultry etc and pass goods up to the men on the scales . I finished up on the bacon stall working with the leading hand- Charlie Shaw. He was a good friend as the following story will show. The shop was owned by two brothers – Frank who did the buying, and Walter who ran the shop. Walter was a very decent sort of bloke, but Frank was a real pig. Perhaps he had been buying and working among pigs so long, that he had grown like one.
He never knew one of the boys names but if he shouted out: “YOBO!”, you were supposed to run to see what he wanted. If you were an “also ran” in the race to get to him, he would sarcastically ask why you were not at your stall looking after things.
Now, down the back of the shop was a big cold room and the boss decided that if anybody had to work in it they were to keep the door closed because the ice was costing too much.
After working in there for 10 minutes things got pretty cold and you were glad to get out, but that was nothing to “Uncle”. He had a big sign put on the doors: “Anybody leaving this door open will be dismissed”; and another: “If you find this door open SHUT IT”.
I was going down the yard one day and there was the door wide open and to save some poor devil getting the sack, I pushed it too. About a half hour later I of course was back on my stall with Charlie when through the shop came ” Uncle” roaring like a bull swearing that he was going to cut somebody’s heart out, and he had the knife in his hand to do the job. He was making straight for me when Charlie said, “Run boy, he’s after you!”
I didn’t wait to find out what it was all about. I ran up the street with ” Uncle ” in full pursuit, first turn to the right to get to the back gate of the shop.
Only the little gate was open. That was big enough for me. I went through at a run and shut it behind me. The boss was outside and he nearly blistered the paint with his language. I went back to my stall and asked Charlie what it was all about. He was laughing his head off and said I had shut “Uncle” in the cold room. Other men also were enjoying the joke. The boss was making sure I did not get a chance to run away the next time he tried to get me. He crept up behind me and made a grab, but Charlie saw him and pulled me out of his way. He told the boss that I had only obeyed his own orders and he was at fault for not closing the door. Of course he said I was sacked. He would have put me off then, only he wanted to get his money’s worth out of me and we were only half through the day. When Walter paid me that night, I said “goodbye” to him. He asked the reason. I told him that I was sacked.
He said, “You come back next week. It served the old So and So right. It might teach him that what was right for the men should be good enough for the boss”.
I worked there till I got a permanent job, but I do not think the boss ever loved me.
When I was 13, I came in contact with the aristocracy for the first time. It came about this way. There was a charitable organisation called the Fresh Air Fund whose activities were to give children from the towns a fortnight’s holiday in the country during the Summer (August) holidays.
You had to pay according to your means. If you were too poor, you got the holiday for nothing. Mother paid 8 shillings for me. This included all travelling expenses and board at cottages or farms. Well, I was sent to Maiden Bradley, Somerset which was part of the estate of the Duke of Somerset, in fact one of his big houses was at Maiden Bradley. I was placed with three other boys at the cottage of one of the hot house gardeners at the Dukery. This couple also had a son who was a footman at the Dukery and practically all residents – 200 or so – were connected with the estate. There were also quite a number of farms which were included in the Ducal properties.
The people made us welcome and materials for sports and games were available at the Rectory. What with good walks, and watching the hay-makers at work (doing a little bit ourselves – voluntarily of course) made the time go by quite nicely. One day the Rector, got most of the boys together and told us we had all been invited to the Dukery for tea on Saturday and deputed us to let the others know. Now some of the boys had been billeted at a farm some four miles out. He asked if some of us would go out and tell them. Four of us started. I was the one that finished and then they refused the invitation saying it was too far for them to come.
Of course it had not been too far for me to come with the invitation. Oh well, just one of those things. The incident was closed as far as I was concerned but, on the Saturday afternoon the Rector took me to the Duchess, told the story and the Duchess most graciously thanked me. As I had heard that people in that position would hardly speak to poor people my impressions were changed and later confirmed when I eventually worked among the Gentry.
On arrival at the Dukery, the whole 20 or more boys were formally introduced to the house party. Most of us were very shy and a bit out of our element. One old gentleman came to the rescue to put us at ease. He said, “Can any of you boys run?”
There was a unanimous yell of “Yes!”
“Right o”, said the old sport, ” All line up here”.
Then he called to another gentleman. “Go and stand down near that tree”
This was 60 yards away.
“Now”, said the old gent, “when I say go, run round that tree and the first boy back gets this”, and he held up a golden sovereign.
When he said “Go” did we run! I was an also ran, but the ice was broken and for the rest of the afternoon we were all good friends together. We enjoyed ourselves belting tennis balls on the court (no Davis Cup strokes), trying to play croquet under the guidance of these nice people, and various ways that they had devised to entertain us.
Perhaps the highlight of the afternoon was the spread that was put on for us and served under the trees at the edge of the lawn. The Ladies and Gentlemen (mostly titled) waited on us and would not accept “No” for an answer until we had the biggest feed for most of our lives.
They say first impressions are best. For my part, I think I was sold to the upper class from that time on.
As I have already said the whole country side around Maiden Bradley was owned by the Duke Of Somerset. Once a year, there was a flower show and garden competition for the village. The week previous to the show, garden experts went through the Village and awarded the points for the competition. The prizes were not in cash awards, but if you had the best all round garden your prize was a whole year’s rent free.
And so it went on. There were prizes for so many things that you could perhaps get a week’s rent free for the way your hedge was cut. We know that all the upper-class were not as generous as this, but those that were not did not enkindle the same feelings of respect and veneration as did the people of Maiden Bradley.
One other little story about the holiday at Maiden Bradley. All visiting boys were under the watchful eye of the Rector who invited us to go to Church and Sunday School on Sunday after breakfast. Having nothing to do, I strolled around the Sunday School, arriving actually before the teachers. When they came they took me in and made a great fuss over me and just before starting proceedings told me to ring the bell. I had no idea why I should do so and on inquiring was told that the first boy to arrive had the honour of ringing the bell.
Had I stirred up trouble? When I got outside after Sunday School, half the village boys got stuck into me for spoiling one of their mate’s record, and I was getting the worst of it when the Superintendent came to my rescue, broke up the scrap and did he tell those kids off! Moral, don’t be early if going to a strange place.
Many thanks to Sharlene Jones-Martin from Brisbane, Australia for sharing the memories of her great grandfather.
Every year, thousands of marathon runners make their way around Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs in the London Marathon. The marathon is an event with global interest and the organisers of The Big Half are hoping their brand new event will become as popular.
The route for The Big Half started by Tower Bridge by the Tower of London and went east to Canary Wharf before doubling back to cross Tower Bridge and follow the river to finish in Greenwich.
Remarkably after the considerable snow and bad weather, it was bright sunshine as the runners made their way around Canary Wharf. There was real doubts whether the event would go ahead after the terrible weather and the small crowds perhaps reflected some of the uncertainty.
Amongst the elite runners were multi gold medal winner, Sir Mo Farah, Callum Hawkins and Daniel Wanjiru from Kenya.
The elite women included Alyson Dixon , Sonia Samuels, Charlotte Purdue and Lily Partridge.
Unlike the London Marathon, the club and fun runners in the Big Half arrived in Canary Wharf quite early in the race and were in good spirits and full of energy.
The organisers behind the Big Half, hope the event will become a brand-new world-class mass participation event, featuring the half marathon (13.1 miles) and other events. They hope the event will show how sport and community can come together to improve health and wellbeing.
The Big Relay part of the event is exclusively open to community groups from the host boroughs of Southwark, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich whose runners will run in teams of four, each person will run one leg of The Big Relay – over distances ranging from one mile to five miles.
The Little Half: a fun, family friendly mass participation event that was due to take place over a 2.4 mile course was unfortunately cancelled this year because of the weather.
However, The Big Festival in Greenwich with a huge range of food, music and entertainment is due to go ahead.
Due the weather, the Big Half was quite low key but with normal weather conditions in the future, the event will hopefully go from strength to strength and showcase some of the delights of Southwark, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich .
From Cuba Street to Buckingham Palace: The Remarkable story of Harry T Waterman DSM (1917-1984) by Gerard Gilbertson
Last October, Gerard Gilbertson sent a fascinating short history of his Grandfather John F. Gilbertson who was Mayor of Poplar between 1938 and 1939 which we published on Isle of Dogs Life. I am delighted to say that Gerard has written another piece which will be published in two parts, this time about his uncle Harry T Waterman who was born in Cuba Street on the Isle of Dogs. The following piece by Gerard reminds us that in times of war, young men and women were often asked to undertake dangerous tasks on a regular basis.
Harry Waterman was born in 1917 at no.3 Cuba Street on the Isle of Dogs, attended St Luke’s School on the Westferry Road , and together with his parents and many brothers and sisters lived in Cuba Street until almost the whole extended family moved to Denham in Buckinghamshire shortly after the start of WWII. He saw service in the Royal Navy from October 1940 until January 1946. During that time he was on convoy escort operations primarily in the North Atlantic and on Arctic runs. This article gives the background to the spectacular events surrounding the sinking of the Italian submarine Pietro Calvi in July 1942 and the subsequent award of the DSM (Distinguished Service Medal) to Harry for “bravery, skill and determination”. The investiture was by King George VI at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in December 1942.
Part One: Harry’s early Navy career.
Harry joined the Navy in October 1940, starting his training at two land-based “ships”, HMS Collingwood and HMS Pembroke. Here he received intensive training in gunnery, and joined the crew of his first real ship, HMS Lulworth, in June 1941 as a gunner, a posting he retained until June 1943.
HMS Lulworth had only recently been allocated to the British Navy under the Lend/Lease Programme. Originally she had been cutter #45, the Chelan, of the US coastguard, and a total of ten such ships were loaned to the British as anti-submarine escorts. These were the Banff-class sloops. She was named after Lake Chelan, built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Quincy, Massachusetts, and launched on 19 May 1928. She had performed Bering Sea patrols and international ice patrols. She became HMS Lulworth on 2 May 1941 and sailed to England with convoy SC 31. Harry joined the crew almost immediately afterwards on June 10th 1941. These loaned sloops were initially used to escort eastern Atlantic trade convoys between England and Sierra Leone, and one was sunk while so employed. It was on these runs to and from Sierra Leone that Harry saw much of his early action.
Pre-war photo of HMS Lulworth, at that time still USCG Chelan. (Photo: http://www.jacksjoint.com)
HMS Lulworth. Late 1943 in Atlantic. (Photo: http://www.ww2aircraft.net).
Oerlikon 20mm gun operators on convoy escort duty in WW2 (Photo: Imperial War Museum, no date/place). This was the job of Harry Waterman while assigned to HMS Lulworth on West African and Atlantic convoys. The idealized and propagandistic nature of this photo is clear: sunny weather, calm seas, an alert gun crew, no enemy vessels or planes anywhere in sight, and an orderly and safe convoy!
Harry Waterman (left) and fellow gunner relaxing on HMS Lulworth. (Pre-June 1943, private family photo). Probably while on convoy duty from Freetown, Sierra Leone.
There were several notable events involving HMS Lulworth while Harry Waterman was a member of the crew, and with Lt.Cdr. C. Gwinner as Captain. Some of these involved rescue operations of other ships’ crews from the sea. They include:
27 Aug 1941:HMS Lulworth picked up 27 survivors from the Norwegian merchant Segundo that was torpedoed and sunk west of Ireland in position 53°36’N, 16°40’W by German U-boat U-557
23 Sept 1941:Lulworth picked up 42 survivors from the British merchant Niceto de Larrinaga that had been torpedoed and sunk the previous day by German U-boat U-103 South-West of the Canary Islands in position 27°32’N, 24°26’W.
24 Sept 1941 Lulworth picked up 5 survivors from the British merchant St. Clair II that was torpedoed and sunk west-northwest of the Canary Islands in position 30°25’N, 23°35’W by German U-boat U-67.
Harry on look-out duty on HMS Lulworth. (1941/42, personal family photo). Probably on a North Atlantic or Arctic run
11 Jun 1942 HMS Lulworth picked up 20 survivors from the British tanker Geo H. Jones that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-455 north-northeast of the Azores in position 45?40’N, 22?40’W.
Author of „Das Boot“: Lothar-Günther Buchheim in 2006 (wikipedia)
The submarine U-96, author Lothar-Günther Buchheim, and the novel/film “Das Boot”
As part of the 7th U-boat Flotilla, stationed in Saint Nazaire, on the French Atlantic coast, U-96 conducted 11 patrols, sinking 27 ships and damaging four others.
During 1941, German war correspondent Lothar-Günther Buchheim joined U-96 for a single patrol. His orders were to photograph and describe the U-boat in action for propaganda purposes. Over 5,000 photographs, mostly taken by Buchheim, survived the war. From his experiences, he wrote a short story, “Die Eichenlaubfahrt” (“The Oak-Leaves Patrol”) and a 1973 novel which was to become an international best-seller, Das Boot, followed in 1976 by U-Boot-krieg (“U-Boat War”), a nonfiction chronicle of the voyage. In 1981 Wolfgang Petersen brought the novel to the big screen with the internationally critically acclaimed film Das Boot. Readers of this article may remember its extremely successful and popular serialization on BBC TV in the mid-1980s.
In October 1941 this U-boat was attacked by HMS Lulworth off the west Irish coast while escorting convoy OS 10, but was not damaged, as reported here:
October 31st , ,1941 – At 10.47 AM 400 miles West of Ireland, U-96 sinks Dutch SS Bennekom (5 crew and 3 gunners killed, 46 survivors picked up the next day by British sloop HMS Culver). U-96 is attacked by a British sloop with 27 depth charges (U-96 is not damaged).
Author Buchheim adopted this depth-charge attack by HMS Lulworth as background to dramatic scenes in his novel and film.
(Sources for the above textual details include uboat.net/allies and worldwar2daybyday.blogspot.)
U-96 berthed at St Lazaire in France in March 1942 (Photo: wikipedia fr.). The author Buchheim’s experiences on board this submarine in 1941, including being depth-charged by HMS Lulworth, resulted in his best-selling novel and film “Das Boot”, as well as other factual books and articles.
Part two of this article deals with the specific action leading to the award of Harry’s DSM, his injury , the end of his service on HMS Lulworth, and his return to civilian life.
Many thanks to Gerard for sharing this story with our readers.
In 2014, I was contacted by Alex Barrett who was raising funds for his very interesting film project about London. The project become a reality and was released to considerable success. The film was nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017, and was the winner of four categories in the Silent London Poll of 2017: Best Silent Film DVD/Blu-ray release, Best Silent Film Theatrical Release, Best Modern Silent Film of 2017 and Silent Hero of 2017 for the film’s director and editor Alex Barrett.
London Symphony is a silent film which offers a poetic journey through the capital. It is directed and edited by Alex Barrett, and features an original musical composition by composer James McWilliam. The film is a contemporary take on the ‘city symphony’, a genre of that flourished in the 1920s and consisted of works that attempted to build poetic portraits of city life.
London Symphony is celebration of London’s culture and diversity and footage for the film was captured in over 300 locations around every borough of London.
During the making of the film, Alex Barrett took a wide range of photographs, some of which will be featured in photography exhibition at Southwark Cathedral. The exhibition runs from the 10th February – 2nd March in the Cathedral Refectory.
If you would like to see the film, you will be able to attend a special, candle-lit screening of London Symphony which will take place in the nave of the Cathedral on February 23rd. This screening is part of the film’s on going UK theatrical tour, which was launched with a sold out screening at the Barbican Centre in September 2017.
London Symphony will also be released in the UK on DVD through New Wave Films on Monday February 12th 2018. The DVD is available to pre-order from all good stockists, including Amazon here and direct from New Wave Films here .
Visiting Mudchute Park and Farm is one of the joys of living on the Island and I was delighted to hear they had been awarded Rare Breed Survival Trust Approved Conservation Farm Park Status.
Mudchute is home to a wide range of rare and native breeds including Oxford Down, Whitefaced Woodland, Southdown and Jacob sheep, Dexter cattle, Tamworth, Large Black and Middle White pigs as well as Golden Guernsey goats. The farm is also home to rare breed poultry including Aylesbury and Rouen ducks, Dorking and Indian Game chickens.
This policy of supporting a rare breeds programme has been recognised and the award of the prestigious Rare Breed Survival Trust Approved Conservation Farm Park Status for an urban farm is ‘rare’ and is high level recognition for the work of farm manager Tom Davis, staff and volunteers.
The official unveiling of the new approved farm park sign took place on Tuesday, January 30th with the help of celebrity chef and rare breeds ambassador Cyrus Todiwala MBE.
Quite naturally, everyone at Mudchute was delighted with the award but a few of the animals didn’t seem that impressed.
There have been quite a few developments at the farm recently which offer a variety of attractions, the Park and Farm are well worth a visit at any time of the year.