Welcome to the Island History Trust Web-site
This page gives you some basic information about Trust activities. See other pages for more detail
You can visit the Isle of Dogs
See Visiting Us
We have moved to a new home in St. John's Community Centre, 37-43 Glengall Grove, London E14 3NE, with easy access for public transport, and parking.
We are planning an Island Re-Union Day here on October 5th 2013 - make a note!
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The Island History Newsletter
What's Going on At Island History?
Having settled into our new home it's time to start serious work on archiving and cataloguing the Mike Seaborne 1980s Collection of Isle of Dogs Photographs.
Between 1983 and 1986, London photographer Mike Seaborne, working closely with Island History, created this photographic record of life on the Isle of Dogs, just as it was on the point of transition from an industrial and trading community into the finance and banking centre it is today. The work was funded by a small grant from local government arts money, supplemented by voluntary input from Mike and Island History staff. Mike photographed the streets, pubs, small shops, new ASDA superstore, community meetings and action; he spent hours with established Island companies Burrell's, Tate and Lyle, and Lenanton's, recording everyday working life; he captured phases in the construction of the Dockland's Light Railway from Limehouse to Island Gardens as it carved a route across the old Canary Wharf and over the docks. He pictured small businesses at work - car-repair and cafes; he took his camera into Cubitt Town School and George Green's Centre.
Using some of the prints, we made an exhibition called "East Enders - The Final Episode?", which was often displayed at Open Days. Apart from that, Mike then went on to other things, Island History got on with being Island History and for many years the black and white prints Mike had made lay stored away. Like fine wine, they matured as they lay and now they have been brought out into the light of day and found to be of enduring interest.
They are now to be catalogued, captioned, archived and brought into the public domain. Staff at ASDA Superstore are already excited to find that there are over 80 prints about their place of work as it was - with their 30th anniversary coming up, there could be a great way to celebrate! We hope to have workshops there as part of the process of captioning the prints with names and other information.
Mike and Island History curator Eve Hostettler are working on a application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for help with financing the process of bringing the photographs into the public domain, which will include creating albums for the hard copy prints and a website for the digital version. There will also be a Place to View the digital version at Island History, and we have already raised, through donations, the money to pay for the new computer equipment which will provide this facility. Watch this space for updates! In the meantime, if you or someone you know worked at Burrell's or at Tate & Lyle's, you might be able to identify the people and the work processes in the photographs , so please get in touch.
What Else are We Up To?
Newsletter Renewals come in thick and fast at this time of year and volunteers Pam Beresford and Albert Blackall help Eve to process them, while Brian Smith takes care of all the local deliveries. We're delighted with the response this year, both in terms of numbers in so far, and the generosity of subscribers in adding extra donations to the basic £10 fee. This is always a great boost to morale as well as to the bank balance! Please send in your subscription if you haven't already done so.
With another year of life for Island History more or less secure, Eve can think of creating one more Island Calendar and has already started on the broad selection of photographs - toying with the idea of the "First world War" theme at the moment, though this may well change. The Calendar has to be ready for the printers by August.
Meanwhile Eve has been asked to give a talk next spring about the effect of the First World War on the Island community. Thought-provoking: there are some obvious themes such as there was more work for women at home; many men's lives were lost or ruined in the trenches; "Homes for Heroes" were a direct response to wartime suffering. There are also more complex issues and how much of the change we see between 1910 and 1920 can be laid at the door of the First World War and how much is attributable to changes which were happening in society anyway? One question Eve is asking herself is, did the experiences of the First World War hasten the process of better-off people moving away from the Island? And another is: did the experiences of the First World War make knowledge of contraception more widely available and help more people to control the size of their families in the post-war years? The overall theme will be explored through the pages of Island History News in the coming months. If you are looking back at your family history during the first two decades of the twentieth century and can see significant changes taking place which might be due to the War, please get in touch.
For news of some recent visitors, see Noticeboard.