pic of the week

Weekly photo blog

Poplar

Poplar sounds a bit like “popular” and yet that’s probably one thing that it is not – with most Londoners at least. If people know of it at all it’s often because of it’s sad connection with gang and knife crime. And very recently the BBC’s “Call the Midwife” has brought a slightly more nostalgic touch to Poplar’s history of poverty and deprivation that’s still present for many people today. I’m very intrigued about this part of my home borough: I admit that I loved “Call the Midwife”; and I’ve recently been in conversation with a few very inspiring projects around mediation and restorative justice in Poplar.

Last week I was invited to the home of 2 of the founding members of Tower Hamlets CND – in Poplar where they’ve been living for over 40 years now (they actually knew the nuns and midwives from “Call the Midwife” quite a bit and have been eager followers of the series on TV). I felt really honoured  that they invited me and shared their stories of how the then CND – Poplar/Bethnal Green group started, how they’ve worked with local people since the late 1950s to stop the world’s obsession with nuclear armament. One of their favourite stories was that of a 20-feet high orange & purple dinosaur that appeared from somewhere up in Yorkshire at a march in Central London in 1961 with the caption “too much armour, too little brain – he’s extinct now”. For some reason this dinosaur ended up in Poplar and had to be kept in the local church because that was the only place big enough to store it – for many marches to come until it eventually really became extinct…

This photo is from a beautifully haunting site specific dance performance I saw at Trinity Buoy Wharf today, one of mine and Poplar’s most popular sites. The characters reminded me of many of the stories that Jennifer Worth recalls in her memories as a midwife in Poplar and also of the sense of community and solidarity that I got both from her books and also from the CND stories…

 

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The Author

Writer, Photographer, Craftivist, Facilitator, Mediator, Trainer, Founding Director of deep:black. Passionate about equality & empowerment. And about anger & vulnerability.