In the 1st of our features from London College of Communication students, Joe Thompson explores the comfort and therapy that we can all draw from Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in E2
Ever wanted to cosy up with a cat, a cuppa and a scrumptious scone or a slice of cake? Well, then all you have to do to make all your wildest dreams come true is pay Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium a visit. Opened in 2014 Lady Dinah’s was London’s very first cat cafe, and now has 17 cats living in residence.
The two-story café is kitted out with anything a cat or human could need, with a selection of coffee and tea as well as an appetising selection of snacks, cakes, and nibbles. Combine that with two hours of feline-loving and there’s not much more you could ask for. The £5 entry fee feels like a small price to pay for some much-needed affection to lighten up your day, particularly with the hustle and bustle of London living. The overall reception the café receives is outstanding, leaving customers raving – “Absolute cat lover heaven, all the cats are content and well cared for,” said one happy customer. “It’s so nice to think you can go there for a cuddle if you, like me, are not allowed pets in your flat! We had the most wonderful time and from the minute we arrived we were made to feel welcome.”
The business itself began with a crowd-funded campaign online, where the business received a bountiful sum of £109,000 in donations to kick-start. This alone speaks for itself, with such overwhelming support it’s hard to believe that it took so long to become a reality. The idea originated in Japan, and owner Lauren Pears says the idea is to “give stressed out Londoners who can’t own pets a bit of animal therapy”. Pairing lovely sweet treats and refreshment with the undisputedly therapeutic and calming feeling that comes with petting a cat, Lady Dinah’s is the perfect place to make some feline friends.
Therapy involving cats has been a growing practice in which those who suffer from anxiety, depression, and loneliness seek comfort in the company of animals. It’s been thought that coming into contact with animals can lead the body to produce oxytocin, a hormone which can help reduce levels of stress, and by reducing the levels of stress it can lower the chances of suffering with anxiety. Therefore, this cat café is a beacon of hope to those who don’t necessarily have somebody in their life who they can turn to for support in times of need.
Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is at 152-154 Bethnal Green Road, and is open every day except Wednesday.
We’re really happy to announce that LoveBethnalGreen.com is working with London London College of Communication (LCC), giving students from their BA in Journalism the chance to come and immerse themselves in some east end greatness.
LoveBethnalGreen.com is an excellent vehicle for supporting the varying elements of life in E2, and this winter, we’re gathering fresh perspectives on Bethnal Green, with young writers pitching stories that shine a light on life in the area.
This could come in the form of an interview with a local hero, a favourite place to eat in profile, a contemplative piece on the changing face of Bethnal Green, or a deep dive into the history of pie and mash. However our young writers have approached this, they’re aiming to shine a positive light on the area, giving some profile to its myriad characters and cultures.
Look out for the articles as they start to flow over the coming days and weeks, and give us a shout if you think we’ve missed out on a great story…
“The Green” will meet next Tuesday, 20th February, bringing together businesses, residents, organisations and representatives from the Tower Hamlets Town Centre Team. At this meeting, we’ll be reflecting on points covered last month, as well as hearing about offers to local businesses to save money and looking forward to valuable renovations to public spaces in the area.
Tuesday 20th February – 6pm – Oxford House
Derbyshire St, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG
We’re delighted to say we’ll be joined by guest speaker Michael Smythe, Project Director for Phytology & the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve. Michael’s work provides a meeting place for the sciences, the arts, anthropology and social welfare – can’t wait to hear what he’s got coming up in Bethnal Green.
Next Tuesday’s agenda;
Guest speaker, Michael Smythe from Phytology / Bethnal Green Nature Reserve
Updates from our last meeting
A word on the Zero Emissions Network
A word on the East End Trades Guild event coming up in March
The Library & Bethnal Green Gardens works
To bring any discussion points to the table this month, please email: email@example.com
Funded by Tower Hamlets Council
Supporting our High Streets and Town Centres
In a dusty corner of St Peter’s Church in Bethnal Green are plaques displaying the names of 168 men of the parish who fell in WWI. Of those fallen, biographies of 125 have been uncovered. There is not a single Officer amongst them.
They worked in a range of professions that existed at the bottom of society. Wood carvers, umbrella stick makers, errand boys, labourers, carmen, hamper liners and a host of professions lost to us today.
They died in the slaughterhouses of Belgium and France, in Turkey, in Jerusalem, in Basra and on ships torpedoed and sunk in the North Sea.
A group of volunteers has come together to fund-raise to erect a permanent memorial to them and to tell their stories. They were ordinary men from one of the poorest places in England, and their sacrifice should not be forgotten.
Please give generously to this campaign.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
The photo features Bethnal Green soldier William Arthur Bates (1894-1969), who served in the Royal Field Artillery. He was gassed but survived the war. He’s believed to have been a horse handler at Bishopsgate Goods Yard.
We wanted to share a few last minute options for February 14th – just to show you that LoveBethnalGreen.com is still feeling the love this month;
Pub Quiz – The Old George – 14th February
If you want to test your knowledge in a classic cauldron of competition, head to The Old George for their weekly quiz, hosted by none other than Ewen Macintosh – the quizmaster better known as big Keith from ‘The Office’. Expect deadpan delivery and some genuine brainteasers in the heart of Bethnal Green.
8pm – more info here
The Old George, 379 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0AN
Moody Bright Designs – St Margaret’s House -14th February
Looking for something slightly different to spice up your Valentine’s Day? How about needlework that focuses on customisation of second hand items? Come to St Margaret’s House to learn new skills in embroidery from Moody Bright Designs. With a step-by-step guide and plenty of transfer and thread to practice your stitching on, this could be a way to find new levels of relaxation and mindfulness in 2018. With tea and other refreshments also available, St Margaret’s pull it out the bag again with a perfectly peaceful option.
7pm – Tickets Available here.
St. Margaret’s House 21 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PL
Brainwash Club – V-Day Massacre – Backyard Comedy Club – 14th February
London’s top comedy/variety/oddity night is back with a world-class cast of fools for Valentines Day. Do this lot care about Valentines Day? Not especially, but getting a good Brainwash is always a treat whether drizzled in faux-romance or not, and this time around, you’re in for a treat, with a lineup featuring Trevor Lock, Shenoah Allen, Lucy Pearman, Robert White, and your hosts Ellis and Rose. Get involved!
7:30pm – Tickets Available here.
Backyard Comedy Club, 231 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 0EL
By Thufayel Ahmed
January seems to have lasted an eternity. 5 Monday’s in one month, with freezing weather to match. Long live February! To make sure you start the month off right, we’ve compiled a list of highlights as usual, picking the best bits Bethnal Green has to offer so you don’t have to!
Tower Hamlets Labour Party Winter Jumble Sale -3rd February – St Margaret’s House
Whether you enjoy politics or not, everyone loves a bargain and that’s exactly what you can expect to find at the Labour Party Winter Jumble Sale. With a range of gadgets, toys, books and kitchenware all on sale at rock bottom prices, pop down to St Margaret’s House for some austerity essentials. You can also donate items that are cluttering up your life – drop them off at 11am on the day.
Entrance is 50p for Labour members, £1, for others
12pm – 4pm, St. Margaret’s House 21 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PL
Super Bowl Party – 4th February – The Star of Bethnal Green
Touchdown at The Star for the screening of the 52nd Super Bowl. With special Super Bowl themed food, special drinks promotion and pre-game entertainment; there will be nowhere better to watch the game and soak up the atmosphere. All tickets come with a free beer and a bag of popcorn to kick things off. What better way to check out the banging refurbishment at one of Bethnal Green’s smoothest venues?
£5 ticket – complimentary beer and popcorn
£17 ticket – complimentary beer and super bowl platter (Smoked BBQ Rib Chunks, Spicy Buffalo Chicken Wings, Deep Fried Pickles and a Homemade Potato Salad)
10pm – 3am, The Star of Bethnal Green 359 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6LG
New Acts of the Year 2018 Comedy Selection – 6th February – Rich Mix
Comedy nights can often be extremely expensive, especially in and around East London. However Rich Mix are showcasing new, exciting young comedians battling it out to be chosen in the heats for their New Acts of the Year series, where 12 will eventually feature in the showcase final. With free entry, go have a laugh on the cheap!
18+, 7.30pm Rich Mix
35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA
and from the team at Oxford House….
“The Green” – 20th February – Oxford House – Tuesday 20th Febraury
“The Green”, our monthly meeting, will meet once again at 6pm, Oxford House, on Tuesday 20th February, to discuss ourlatest business support news as well as taking a look at the issues that are affecting residents in the area.
This month, our guest speaker is Michael Smythe, project lead at Phytology and the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve. Michael explores mental and physical well being in our increasingly cramped urban environments. We’re looking forward to hearing how access to nature and complex ecosystems is really important for this.
To get involved in the meeting and to add an agenda point you feel needs addressing please email: email@example.com
The strength of these meetings is in the guestlist, so please do share this opportunity far and wide; businesses, residents, organisations – all welcome.
Oxford House, Derbyshire St, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG, United Kingdom
Compiled by Thufayel Ahmed
Photo is from Museum of London and shows an evicted matchbox maker, circa 1910, in Bethnal Green.
Funded by Tower Hamlets Council
Supporting our High Streets and Town Centres