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ISLAND WOMEN: Experiences, Challenges, Impact at St John’s Community Centre – 9th March 2019

As part of International Women’s Week, the Friends of Island History Trust will host an exhibition which will be looking at the significant contribution of women living, volunteering and working on the Isle of Dogs from the 20th Century onwards.

The exhibition includes a screening of a short film entitled Island Girl, by the female students of George Green School and an exhibition of images of ‘Island Women’ by Designer Anna Lincoln and will include a presentation by FoIHT on the life of Nellie Cressall, one time Island resident and former Mayor and Councillor for Poplar. During the afternoon attendees will also be invited to reflect on and consider how the Equality Act and recent campaigns have impacted on ordinary women today and how further changes can be achieved.

The afternoon will start off with a fitness session in the main hall with Zumba for ladies 18 and over from 1.15 until 2.15, at the same time the presentation on the remarkable Nellie Cressall will take place in the history room.

There will be stalls run by local groups and refreshments and time to reflect on the event which will be rounded off at 4’oclock by centre user group TANGO E14 with a demonstration of Argentinian Tango

Invited participants include One Housing, George Green School, Tower Hamlets Sports Development and TANGO E14 and Exhibition Designer Anna Lincoln and local photographer Ioana Marinca

St John’s Community Centre,
37-43 Glengall Road E14 3NE
Saturday 9th March 1pm-5pm

Everyone is welcome.

Friends of The Island History Trust Open Day – 7th October 2017

Many people who have lived or live on the Island have taken great pride in its history, this site is one of many that delves into the Island’s fascinating past.

One of the main resources for local history on the Island in the 20th century was The Island History Trust which was created by local people in the 1980s. This was a time of great change on the Island with the closing of the docks and many of the local factories. Many on the Island thought a way of life was under threat and began to record and preserve the local history of the Island.

The Island History Trust began by collecting photographs and then started to undertake recorded interviews with elderly Islanders, other people were encouraged to write about their lives which were then added to the collection.

When the original The Island History Trust ceased in 2013, a new group formed in 2014 to take on the task of recording and sharing the History of the Isle of Dogs from the late 19th century to present day. The new group called the Friends of The Island History Trust have undertaken to collate and categorise photographic and historical data to make it more freely available to researchers and interested parties. It also aims to expand projects around the Isle of Dogs which have historical importance to the groups members or anybody that may have an interest in the islands past.

The Friends of The Island History Trust in its short life has built up a strong network with other local groups and organisations relying on its dedicated volunteers and funding provided by a growing number of friends and members to undertake projects. One of the traditions that the new group has carried on from the original Island History Trust is the popular Open Days where people can see some of the historical and photographic data and can talk with many of the volunteers who have comprehensive knowledge of the Island.

The next Open Day is on the 7th October 2017 at St John’s Community Centre at 37-43 Glengall Grove between 11.30am and 5pm.

If you would to find out more about the history of the Island, the Friends of The Island History Trust in one of the main resources and it is well worth a visit to one of the Open Days.

The Isle of Dogs Living Archive Training at Tower Hamlets Local History Library and St John Community Centre – 24th and 25th June 2016


At the end of April, I reported on the launch of the The Isle of Dogs Living Archive which is a community group set up to explore and celebrate the visual and oral history of The Isle of Dogs.

Part of the work of the group is to train local people in oral history interviewing , sound recording and archival research methods. The first training sessions have been organised and provides plenty of opportunities for people interested in local history to learn some research skills.

Archival Research Training: Friday 24th June. 10.30am- 12.30pm

Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives

277 Bancroft Road, E1 4DQ London, United Kingdom

For the group’s first project 80s Island Protests, The Isle of Dogs Living Archive will be providing free training in archival research for local people.

The oral history interviews the group will conduct are vital, but so is unearthing all sorts of other material about the protests in the 80s. So a training session is going to be held 10.30-12.30 on Friday June 24th. It will be run by Heritage Officer Perdita Jones and will consist of an introduction to Tower Hamlets Local History and Archives (who they are, what they do, what are their collections etc.), a demonstration of their online catalogue and an explanation of how to use the hard-copy subject guides, followed by a chance to look at a selection of library and archive material of our choice.

Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/events/1139136682775174/

Oral History Training : Saturday 25th, 10m-4pm. St John’s Community Centre

For the groups first project Island Protests of the 80s, The Isle of Dogs Living Archive will be providing free oral history training for local people to find out more about this fascinating period of Island history.

The training will cover what oral history is and why we do it; how to conduct the interview as effectively as possible; an introduction to using the appropriate digital recording equipment; an opportunity to interview each other, with feedback and analysis; transcription, summarising, archiving and legal and ethical issues.

Teas/ coffees/ light refreshments will be provided, but please bring your own lunch

Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/events/1233810483303623/

All Welcome, but please RSVP to theisleofdogslivingarchive@gmail.com

Regular readers will know that the Island’s history is fascinating and the 1980s on the Island is an important period in the Island’s recent history, it was a time of considerable uncertainty, the closing down of the docks threatened the livelihood of thousands of people. It was also the period before widespread development of Canary Wharf and the Island.


Queen’s 90th Birthday Street Party at Glengall Grove – 4th June 2016


The Island has a long history of street parties and on the 4th June the bunting and plates will come out of storage to celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday.

The party is open to everyone and will be held on Glengall Grove close to the centre of the island.

The reign of Her Majesty The Queen has seen remarkable changes all over the country, but few areas have seen such rapid change as the Island. As well as celebrating the Queen’s Birthday, the street party will be an opportunity for the different parts of the Island to come together to share some time together. These type of events depend on the time and generosity of a wide range of individuals, groups and organisations.

This event has been supported by Canary Wharf Group, One Housing Group, the Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Planning Forum, Cubitt Town Junior & Infant school, The Metropolitan Police, Tower Hamlets Council, Cafe Forever, The George pub, Friends of Island History Trust and St Johns Community Centre.

There will be plenty of activities for young and old at the party, so why not join in the fun in Glengall Grove. It will take place between 3pm and 6pm on Saturday 4th June.

The Friends of the Island History Trust


On Saturday, we were fortunate to attend the first Open Day of the Friends of the Island History Trust. The new group succeeds the Island History Trust project which was responsible for collecting photographs, ephemera and relevant historical information about the Island.

The Island History Trust under the stewardship of Eve Hostettler was a charitable trust created in the 1980s to promote interest in the history of the Island and of the people and places within the Island.  Some of the most popular events of the Island History Trust were the Open Days when visitors and Islanders came together to look at and discuss the many hundreds of photographs and documents.


The new Friends of the Island History Trust have decided to follow that tradition and a wide range of people visited the first Open Day at St John’s Community Centre.

Although a  number of the original Trusts collections have been transferred to Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives, many have been transferred into digital form and been put onto the internet.


The new group are hoping to expand this area, using the new technologies to give access to the latest photographs and information to interested people both in the UK and from all over world.


Listening and talking to many of the people at the Open Day shows there is a growing interest in Local History and many older people especially understand the importance of remembering and recording the past  for future generations.

An important focus for the new group will be getting new Islanders and young people involved and celebrating their part in the story of the Isle of Dogs.


The Friends of Island History Trust will play an important part in providing a central hub in which people who want information about the Island  will have access to a  number of knowledgeable local people.  The group have a history room in St John’s that has a number of old photographs, books and other information, at present it is only open once a week manned by local volunteers. Other initiatives are a production of a calendar full of old photographs of the Island and a membership scheme where you can be a member of the Friends of Island History Trust and receive regular newsletters.


The group is also keen to have feedback from people about the direction the trust should take, so if you have any ideas or wish to contribute in any way, please contact them by email foiht2014@gmail.com


In many areas ,  local history is kept alive by the often unsung work of volunteers who come together  for their love of their area. We are sure, the new Friends of Island History Trust will be a great success and an invaluable resource for the Island.