News and Events | All Posts by Shahed Saleem

Whitechapel Art and History Walk

Posted by Shahed Saleem on June 8, 2017

Date and Time: 8 p.m., Saturday 1st July, 2017 - Saturday 1st July, 2017

A guided walk across Whitechapel, exploring in its history plus Art Night installations

8-10pm (meet in Altab Ali Park)

Join the Survey of London on a guided walk through Whitechapel’s rich and diverse history along with selected Art Night installations, a festival of all night outdoor art with the Whitechapel Gallery ( Learn about the artworks en route, as well as Whitechapel's places of worship, immigration, social and industrial history and hear personal memories drawn from the Survey's oral histories. Visit sites of former German sugar refineries, the first Lutheran Church, the park where St Mary Matfelon, the white chapel, once stood, the East London Mosque, former workhouses, see how textile industries have given way to new industries, the Royal London Hospital and the variety of buildings across its estate, amongst other diverse and fascinating places.

The tour will feature the following Art Night commissions: Benedict Drew at the Whitechapel Gallery, Güneş Terkol at The Cass & Middlesex Street Estate, Lawrence Lek at The White Chapel Building, Do Ho Suh in Commercial Street.

Please register for the walk here


Going Digital: Mapping family history in Whitechapel with the Survey of London

Posted by Shahed Saleem on April 18, 2017

Date and Time: 1 p.m., Saturday 3rd June, 2017

Join a fascinating panel of speakers and explore Whitechapel's history through their rich family and personal stories. Joe Swinburne was born on Spelman Street in 1923 before moving to Vallance Road where his block of flats was bombed in the blitz of 1941. After demobilisation he spent his working life in the local authority, observing Whitechapel's changes through the second half of the 20th century. Gary Hutton is a Whitechapel born and bred author, historian and social activist, who grew up locally in the 70s and 80s. He uses social media to connect past and present residents of Whitechapel through their stories and memories and runs a charity to mentor young people. Sufia Alam is the manager of the East London Mosque's Maryam Centre and has been involved in women's advocacy projects since the 1990s. Her father settled in Whitechapel in the 1960s before moving the family to Yorkshire, from where she returned to the East End as a young adult.

Attendees are encouraged not only to be part of the conversation, but also to be part of the writing of Whitechapel's history - bring your family photos, artefacts and memories, we can digitise them and put them onto our digital map on the day. We will also be making audio recordings of any memories and recollections, which can become part of our website and will be archived at the Tower Hamlets Archives.

There will also be a discussion on the role of digital technology in mapping, recording and sharing histories and memories, with presentations by the Survey of London and the innovative Layers of London project, currently being developed.

The event will be in collaboration with the Tower Hamlets Archives to coincide with their exhibition 'Mapping the Hamlets', which displays the different ways in which the area has been recorded in maps since 1610.

Date: Saturday 3rd June 2017

Time: 1-4pm

Attendance is free but please register:

Location: Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives, 277 Bancroft Road E1 4DQ

Illustration by Judit Ferencz

Whitechapel Histories Map

Posted by Shahed Saleem on April 18, 2017

Date and Time: Thursday 1st June, 2017

A display of the Whitechapel Histories map where you can interact physically with it by sticking your pin on a place, and writing your contribution about it.

Further infomation about the project on screen and print will also be displayed.

Location: Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Local Archives, 1st floor gallery

Date: June 1st 2017 - September 1st 2017

Lecture - Boundary blurring in Whitechapel: Whose history is it anyway?

Posted by Shahed Saleem on April 18, 2017

Date and Time: 6 p.m., Wednesday 21st June, 2017

In collaboration with the Institute of Historical Research this lecture by the Survey of London will review the Histories of Whitechapel project to date, looking at issues raised and insights gained through this experimental project. Survey historians Sarah Milne and Aileen Reid will consider the question of who writes history, and will present a sample of the most thought-provoking contributions and explore how history can be co-created through a combination of archive and memory.

Location: The Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Date: Wednesday June 21st 2017

Time: 6.30pm

This event is free, but please register at:


At Home in Whitechapel

Posted by Shahed Saleem on April 18, 2017

Date and Time: Thursday 1st June, 2017

An exhibition of photographs by local photographer Rehan Jamil of people in their homes in Whitechapel.

The photographs show the range of people and living spaces in this diverse area.

Location: The Aldgate Coffee House, 68 Whitechapel High Street E1 7PL

Date: June 1st - August 1st 2017

Whitechapel Guided Walk

Posted by Shahed Saleem on April 18, 2017

Date and Time: 6 p.m., Saturday 17th June, 2017

In collaboration with the Institute of Historical Research, we are running a guided walk around Whitechapel focussing on places of worship, immigration and personal memories drawn from our oral histories.

Walk through layers of social history, visiting the sites of former German sugar refineries, an 18th-century German Lutheran Church and 20th-century German Catholic church, the park where St Mary Matfelon (the 'white chapel') once stood, the East London Mosque, former workhouses, the Royal London Hospital and the variety of buildings across its estate, amongst other diverse and fascinating places.

This event is part of the London Festival of Architecture 2017.

Date: Saturday 17th June

Time: 6.00-8.00pm

Meet in Altab Ali Park

Cost £3 please register here:

Whitechapel on Film

Posted by Shahed Saleem on April 18, 2017

Date and Time: 5:30 p.m., Thursday 29th June, 2017

Film Night: Whitechapel 1968

In collaboration with Tower Hamlets Archives, we are delighted to present a screening of two contrasting documentaries featuring Whitechapel made in the 'year of revolutions', 1968. 

Georgia Brown: Who are the Cockneys Now? is a very personal look by the singer and actress Georgia Brown, returning to her childhood haunts in Whitechapel. She reflects on her own Jewish heritage and that of the area (inluding the Brady Club) and looks at the changing character of Whitechapel, which she celebrates as a place that has always welcomed immigrants. It features interviews with Lionel Bart, who she went to school with, Vidal Sassoon, the writer Wolf Mankowitz and the legendary Tubby Isaacs, the jellied eel man, and many other locals. There are evocative scenes of Petticoat Lane, Old Montague Street, Whitechapel Road, Black Lion Yard and Hessel Street and the streets just north of Wentworth Street, including her old school in Deal Street, much of which was soon to be demolished for redevelopment.

The London Nobody Knows, filmed in the same apocalyptic year, is described as a 'trippy documentary', presented by the actor James Mason. It is not just about Whitechapel, but includes a major segment about it, an outsider's view in contrast to Georgia Brown's.

Afterwards we'll have time for a discussion about the films, and memories from that time, and we'll have a large copy of our Whitechapel map so you can add your recollections of the places seen in the films. We'll also have a hand-out with the locations in the films identified, and we’ll share some of the material that we have gathered so far on those places in our research and from contributions.

Date 29th June

Time: 5.30-7.30pm

Location: Tower Hamlets LHLA, 277 Bancroft Road, London E1 4 DQ

Free to attend, limited numbers - registration link to follow


Whitechapel Stories

Posted by Shahed Saleem on Dec. 1, 2016

At the end of November we held a successful storytelling evening at the Greatorex Community Centre in Whitechapel. The event was hosted by Spark London, a dynamic storytelling collective, and was part of the Being Human Festival of the Humanities. 

We heard true stories from people who had lived, worked or passed through these streets. Memories ranged from playing as children in abandoned swimming pools, to finding the best Irish Pub in London. Our own Survey historians recounted stories from the characters of Whitechapel's past.

A memorable time was had by all, and we extend our thanks for all of our particpants, to Spark London, and to the Being Human Festival.

Storytelling in Whitechapel

Posted by Shahed Saleem on Nov. 18, 2016

A storyteller practices at the storytelling workshop that we hosted with Spark London last week. The participants were preparing to tell their stories at the Storytelling Evening that we are hosting on the 25th November at the Micro Business Park, Greatorex Street.

More details on the link, do come along;


Local Historians' Seminar at the Whitechapel Idea Store

Posted by Shahed Saleem on Nov. 18, 2016

On November 5th we hosted a gathering of historians at the Idea Store who are working on a range of local history interests about Whitechapel and the surrounding streets.

The participants presented ideas for future research and work in progress, which gave us a fascinating afternoon of ideas and conversation.

The presentations started with Sigrid Werner talking about Whitechapel's lost German heritage, and how a thriving community suffered internment and dislocation at the outbreak of WW1. Christine Wagg then outlined the history of the Peabody Trust and the Whitechapel Estate, as well as touching on her own family history in Whitechapel. Photographer Tamara Stoll showed enigmatic images of Wentworth Street during moments of silence, as part of her work in progress using photography to describe place. The first session was concluded with Julie Begum telling us about the history of the Swadhinata Trust, set up 16 years ago to explore and narrate local Bengali history.

The second session was equally diverse, Marion Vargaftig demonstrated the In My Footsteps project which allowed people to connect personal histories to place through their own walking tours. Rebecca Preston presented early research for a project on the history of the animal market on Sclater Street, active right up to the 1970s. Graham Barker described an upcoming workshop he will run where participants will research the brewing heritage of the East End, where there are said to have been 270 breweries, most of which have gone. Saif Osmani, whose paintings are on display in Stratford this month, talked about how he overlaps art and social activism. We finished with Philip Mernick's collection of charity tokens, and Carole Zeidman's history of Wilton's Music Hall.

Many thanks again to all who participated in an enriching afternoon revealing the depth and range of the histories of the East End.