The memories of how people in Silvertown and North Woolwich spent their leisure time in recent decades are being unearthed by a team of volunteers from the local community and students from the University of East London (UEL) in an attempt to preserve the heritage of the rapidly re-developing peninsula.
The team are encouraging people of all ages to come along for tea and a chat at a 'Roving Memory Caravan' in the area this weekend (22 and 23 July) to share their stories of living in the area.
The caravan will visit pedestrianised areas at North Woolwich and the International Food Festival in Victoria Gardens on Saturday and Silvertown (British Legion, Constance Street, 12-2 pm; Tate Institute, Whythes Rd, 3-6 pm) on Sunday. It will include an exhibition on the social history of the area, a mobile recording studio for recording stories and facilities for scanning photographs and other materials people might bring along. The exhibition will incorporate newly gathered materials for future display at local venues. Everything collected will also be professionally archived and available for public use at UEL Archives at the Docklands Campus.
The project, Tate Lives, looks at the important role community spaces have played in the lives of local people. The team is researching the social history of the Tate Institute in Silvertown, built opposite the Tate and Lyle Factory in 1876 by Henry Tate. It included an 800-seat hall, billiard room and a library. It later became a popular sports and social club until it was closed and boarded up in 2011.
The team is also keen to keen to record memories of social events such as the Ferry Festival, which once included a Pram Race taking in many pubs along its route; and local peoples' stories of the pubs themselves, many of which have now been demolished or converted into residences.
Tate Lives is a collaboration between UEL; North Woolwich and Silvertown Neighbourhood Forum; Craftory Workshop; Ferry Festival Past, Present and Future; and the Royal Docks Community Voice. UEL's participation is funded by the University's Civic Engagement Institute.
The project has a Facebook page 'Tate Lives' which is already being populated with a rich mix of images and stories from other local groups which anyone with a link to the area is encouraged to join.
Local people or anyone from the area with stories, photographs or relevant records are urged to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Paul Dudman, at UEL Archives on 020 8223 7676. For more information see the Facebook page 'Tate Lives'.