As far as years go, the general consensus was that 2016 was a tumultuous one. Brexit, Trump, Syria: in 2016 we lost more beloved famous personalities than we’d have cared to and had a lot more things hit us closer to home. And yet, we stay hopeful and ready to take on another year with it’s own challenges and opportunities. In the spirit of things, we’ve compiled this January To-Do List including our pick of things to do in and around the Bethnal Green area. This 2017, we’re off to a strong one.
Don’t Keep This Secret – Friday 14th January // The Pickle Factory, Oval Space
Head on over to SecretSundaze at Oval Space for 8 hours of non-stop partying. That’s right, 8 whole hours. DJs Giles Smith and James Priestley, sundaze residents for over 15 years, will take you on a night you will never forget or, if the night goes really well, that you’re going to wish you remembered. Bringing you hit after hit in Oval Space’s Pickle Factory, get ready for a night of fun, dancing and some hits.
Tickets: £9 before midnight, £14.50 after midnight
Oval Space, 13-14 The Oval, London, E2 9DU
Caffeine Kick – Saturday 15th January – Monday 17th January // The Larder
A coffee kick this January sounds like a plan. LBG favourite The Larder has teamed up with Union Hand-Roasted Coffee to create what is most people’s idea of heaven. Interested in creating the perfect coffee at home? Want to try out different flavours? This sounds like the afternoon for you. With Union being a local brand which sources its coffee from farmers at a fair price, it’s difficult to see the downside to this collaboration. The other good news? Get a bag of Union Hand Roasted coffee to take home with you.
Tickets: £5, pre-book essential
The Larder, 241-243 Globe Road, Bethnal Green, E2 0JD
Que Fabuloso – Tuesdays // Oxford House
If Christmas is to turkey what New Year is to alcohol, then January is certainly a match made for new workout resolutions. This year we revisit an old favourite: Zumba. Incorporating constant cardio with fun Latin American moves makes this workout a winner, and given the trends towards higher intensity sports, it must be said that Zumba has become somewhat an oldie but goodie. Oxford House holds a class every Tuesday at 7:30. Judging by the smiles after class every week, we’d say it’s worth a go.
Tickets: £6, pay as you go
Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green, London, E2 6HG
Seeing Red – Tuesday 31st January // Espacio Gallery
Espacio Gallery is one of the gems of Bethnal Green, continuously offering exhibitions which are thought-provoking, out-of-the-box, and oftentimes in support of many different artists at once. To round off the month, we suggest seeing red (not literally). Seeing Red is the upcoming exhibition at Espacio Gallery exploring the different connotations and effects of the colour red in different art mediums. Curated by Sally Gumbridge and featuring work by Tania Beaumont, Zelda Ealy and Paul Butler amongst others, seeing red will present works which
Espacio Gallery, 159 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 7DG
-By Izora Baba
On the 12th of October, Oxford House held a special opening exhibition called fans for diversity, with free entry and free drinks and snacks provided it was no surprise then that Oxford House was as busy as I had ever seen it. The exhibition started at 6.00pm and finished at 9.00pm and the event was fully packed from very early on in the evening. With little room to move, various different conversations could be heard overlapping each other in a room and venue that seemed a perfect fit for an event such as this and helped add to the ambience of the evening.
The exhibition was put on by Kick It Out who are a campaigning organisation that work with professional footballers, football clubs and communities to tackle discrimination in every shape and form. At the heart of Kick It Out’s campaign is diversity, transparency and inclusiveness, not just in football but in the community too and this marries perfectly with the ethos here at Oxford House making it feel like an even more special, and even more natural exhibition.
The exhibition itself consisted of a series of photographs that had been expertly shot by Liam Aylott of fans during Euro 2016 football tournament. The photographs depicted fans of all nationalities, ages and genders showing varying emotions but all portraying the same intense passion whilst watching their teams. The photos were hung side by side on the wall of the gallery in Oxford House and this was an excellent way to display the pictures as it meant people attending the event got a chance to look at every single photo on their way down to the hall where the drinks and snacks were. In fact, there were so many brilliant photos that had been shot by Liam, the gallery space was not enough and a few more pictures were hung up on the walls of the hall.
The night has a huge success, with approximately 100 to 150 people wondering around the gallery and the hall perhaps even more at times. All the guests were fascinated by the photos, looking at each one in meticulous detail. Overall, it was a great night for Kick It Out, for Liam Aylott, for Oxford House and for all those who attended in general.
-By Thufayel Ahmed
It is an exciting time to be living in London, particularly for those of you who are avid party goers or work late night shifts. The night tube has officially opened on the Central and Victoria lines providing a 24 hour service on Fridays and Saturdays. There are many reasons to be positive about this, it will create more jobs, meaning that the economy gets a further boost whilst also meaning that you do not have to worry about rushing through the busy London stations only to have missed the last train by a few seconds.
With the night tube expected to be broadened to the Jubilee, the Northern and the Piccadilly line this autumn, it is fair to say getting around the city at night will be made a lot easier, opening up London in a whole new way to people, and will make the night just as alive and accessible as the day in this beautiful, busy city.
Perhaps one of the best things about the night tube is that ticket fares will be charged at the standard off peak price and day travelcards will be valid until 4.30 am of the next day of the date of your initial purchase meaning that travelling at night will not cost you an extravagant amount and is a much cheaper and more convenient alternative to getting a taxi.
The night tube is particularly exciting for Bethnal Green – as the central line is the only tube line available at the station – this means that people can now access the area 24/7 on Fridays and Saturdays. The added exposure is likely to mean an increased number of people visiting Bethnal Green at later hours of the night. The opening of the night tube could mean more businesses try and get a 24 hour license to stay open and maximise the potential revenue they could make.
-By Thufayel Ahmed
Although the Boishakhi Mela was delayed this year from the second week of May to the last day of July the celebration is very much not over. The Boishakhi Mela, if you are not familiar with it is the celebration of the Bangladeshi New Year, and the Mela is a carnival of Bangladeshi culture where the streets all the way from Bethnal Green to Brick Lane are very much immersed in Green and Red (the colours of Bangladesh) and drowned in a plethora of Bangladeshi culture – from music to dance to traditional clothing. The extravagant nature of the Mela is what makes it appealing to so many people. Just to signify how big an event the Boishakhi Mela is, one of the headline acts – Ayuub Bacchu & LRB have performed in one of the most notorious, if not the most notorious venues in the world and that of course is Madison Square Gardens. Not only have they performed in Madison Square Gardens but they were also the first Bangla rock act to play there, certainly quite a coup then for the Mela, and the people of Bethnal Green.
Although that coup is hardly surprising considering the Mela is the second largest street festival in the UK, in fact it attracts about 80,000 people from all over the UK and is the largest open air festival.
-By Thufayel Ahmed
Siansah’s Florist, Bethnal Green Road’s first flower shop, opened up last month. It is a family business that aims to change the way we buy flowers. Simone, the owner explains, “We do not have to buy flowers inside a bouquet. There are other ways”. In fact, buying flowers inside arrangements or in bubble gel can make them last up to three times longer.
The shop itself is very much oriented toward the local community. It caters to this diverse bubble between two train stations. One daily customer declared “Take this picture of me and put it in a frame. I am your best customer”. The shop also takes part in charitable initiative like fundraising for the Great Ormond Street Hospital, that specialises in caring for children. With a personal touch, competitive prices and original compositions, this shop brings warmth and colours to the Bethnal Green Community.
-By Helen Taupin
9,400 Londoners die of the consequences of air pollution every year. That is why, Plume labs developed a mobile phone application to help you find out about the quality of the air you are breathing, and gives you advice on how to protect yourself. Currently, they are using race pigeons to fly sensors all over London. If you tweet your area of London to @PigeonAir, they’ll tell you how toxic your air is!
The current data (http://pigeonairpatrol.com/) on Bethnal Green indicates that the air is generally highly polluted. Their next recent project, in collaboration with Imperial College London, will start in June of this year and asks 100 Londoners to wear their own pollution sensors to create the first human-powered air pollution monitoring network. So far, the company has crowdsourced over £10,000.
-By Helen Taupin
Would you be tempted by a Mussel and Artichoke bisque circled by anchovy butter and sourdough? If your mouth is watering at the mere thought of that dish, it is time for me to tell you where you can find that particular delight in Bethnal Green.
Two and a half years ago, new owners decided to rejuvenate the ground floor of the 18th century Old George pub. Their project was successful and the pub was awarded the Time Out Award in 2015. However, until recently, the upper floor was under the rule of Patches the cat, to which the space had been attributed in the sales contract.
A month ago, the first floor opened as a cosy and retro dining-room able to cater for 45 guests. The venue now opens on Thursday and Friday evenings as well as all day on the week- ends. In the kitchen, four people, including a chef, toil to make a delectable menu come to life.
Love Bethnal Green view? The new restaurant perfectly complements the pub by offering finer cuisine for acceptable prices without altering the charming, and welcoming atmosphere of the old establishment.
More information available: http://oldgeorge.co.uk/
Old George Pub, 379 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0AN
-By Helen Taupin
Are you a fan of Spanish food ? If yes, this post will make your day. In approximately two weeks time, a brand new Spanish deli and restaurant called Padron will open on Bethnal Green Road. Padron will take over the retail space left by The Décor Store.
The owners of Padron also own the Japanese Canteen chain. They are hoping Padron heralds the arrival of a Spanish success story.
Padron , 341-343 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 0AH
-By Helen Taupin
Dear Bethnal Greeners, have you ever thought of visiting Berlin?
Stay here for now, Berlin is coming to us!
Catch Berlin’s spirit from 5th to 11th October at the pop-up store to discover twenty Berlin-based creative companies, labels and start-ups. Listen to various types of music while discovering products in the field of fashion, design, technology, furniture, food and drinks.
Discover Tom Shot jewellery specialised in handmade quality items with innovative colours or more classical one with silver, gold and even Swarovski crystal. If you are more a tech person, you could be interested in Panomo which created a 360° panoramic ball camera with 108 megapixels. Or you can even experience the smallest disco in the world – Teledisko.
The Berlin pop-up store is touring in five cities of Europe for only one week. Don’t miss it!
Where? 133-135 Bethnal Green Road, London E2
Monday 2pm – 9pm
Tuesday 11am – 4.30pm
Wednesday – Saturday 11am – 9pm
Sunday 11am – 6pm
St Peter’s Bethnal Green sits off Warner Place, between Old Bethnal Green and Hackney Road. The vicarage is next door, the old school houses an organ works, and the church spire stands tall amidst the surrounding housing.
Now a thriving church community, this wasn’t the case five years ago when the congregation of elders approached Rev Adam Atkinson for help. “We want to see children in the church again. We don’t want St Peter’s to close after we’ve died,” was their concern.
So, in 2010, Adam and other local people gathered in support with the mantra, “Honour the past, navigate change in the present, and build for the future”.
As Adam explains, “It’s really important not to just sweep in and make changes”. He and the others prayed, talked, listened and built new relationships; the elders were open to new ideas and things began to happen.
St Peter’s has been a place of worship since 1841. Under Adam’s stewardship, the traditional way of worship has been enhanced, adding family and reflective evening services to the Sunday morning prayer, and the doors are open during the week. The small team of staff and volunteers are keen to empower local people. “The area and congregation is diverse; we work hard to involve everyone so the vision and projects is not just about one person.”
Now there are more community activities, children in the congregation, a youth group and big plans for the future. Under the footprint of the church, the crypt is now set to be transformed; they hope to have a parish nurse, linked with the local GP surgery, who will see people with non-clinical health needs, there will be space for a café and more activities for children and young people.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has committed £1.8 million to the crypt project, and Adam and his team are currently raising match funding of £2 million. “It’s an expression of new life,” says Adam, extending the role St Peter’s plays in Bethnal Green.
This article can be found in the East2 Insider’s Guide to Bethnal Green Magazine 2015. – See more at: http://issuu.com/walkeast/docs/east_2_2015_issuu_2
By Eleanor Image
The walk below the railway bridge in Bethnal Green is a grey and not really welcoming gateway to bustling and bright Bethnal Green. We are sure that anybody who ever walked under that bridge (and had to avoid the droppings on the pavement) would agree that refurbishing and repainting the bridge with a bold ‘BETHNAL GREEN’ is a simple way to add a much needed repair and burst of colour and has worked wonders in Bruce Grove and The Cally.
If you would like to support initiatives like this one, make sure you attend meetings of Bethnal Green Business Forum, more info www.bgbusinessforum.org.uk
– Arpita Ashok
On 31st May 2015, Bethnal Green Station was incorporated into the London Overground network. This change involved several other stations along two suburban lines and was part of Transport for London’s plans to improve the connection of central London with wider rail services.
West Anglia main line, part of the Great Anglia franchise was overtaken by London Overground Rail Operations, introducing a total of twenty-five stations to the service. These provide links to Liverpool Street, ultimately giving easier access to east London dwellers, the demand for which has significantly grown since the introduction of the first east London branch in 2010.
As well as the addition of these stations to the Overground line, TfL also intend to improve the overall condition of the stations and lines, including the replacement of old worn out carriages with new electrical units.
– Bridget Cox