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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Local and Lovely - by Gillian Lawrence

Gillian Lawrence wrote a piece about our collaboration with NANA and the Islington History & Architecture Group on her blog, Up Your Street. She has kindly allowed us to publish it here. We hope you enjoy.

Years ago there was a public toilet down Chatsworth Road on the way to Chats Palace. Now it’s The Convenience, a scrubbed up and scrubbed out homely cafĂ©  where NANAs grandmas cook away plating up nourishing feasts,  and in the evening a chef does Hanoi Nights.
That’s busy enough amidst the gleaming tiles and inventive menu cards.
The Buildings Exploratory for seniors in Hackney and now Islington has teamed up with NANAs so that seniors can come along, sit ,chat, go for a guided walk, share information all about the history of Clapton and have a nice cup of tea. People from our Hackney community get to meet and learn. There are daughters of the Windrush generation, residents  who have lived in their Hackney homes since birth having  managed to escape the dreaded doodlebugs and rent-rise evictions, sons of labourers who have travelled along the Thames living and working by the Lea,  those who live in flats where the stench from the Stratford tanneries in days of yore choked their mouths and followed them on their way to work at Lesney’s.
We can’t talk fast enough to get our stories out and shared whilst our facilitator eggs us on with grey photos gleaned from The Hackney Archives.
The meet-ups are every fortnight at 10.30 am for a couple of hours which leaves ample time to stroll along Chatsworth Road and see the old kitchen utensils in a local vintage shop or smell the crepes from The Creperie.
Change is daily and that’s why it’s good to sit in The Convenience and take a breather,  cherish what we know, and make each other laugh about how things were and will be. And it’s good to come together from all sorts of backgrounds and reinforce neighbourliness. That’s what it’s really all about.

Visit Gillian's blog, 'Up Your Street' here: http://ww.upyourstreet.wordpress.com/

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