Taste of the old Jewish East End returns to Aldgate in June at the Aldgate Square Festival

 

On Saturday 16th June 2018 at the Aldgate Festival, a taste of the old Jewish East end will be returning to Aldgate for the opening of the new Aldgate Square with Jewish food and music on offer.

It’s going to be a celebration of rich history of this area where the City meets the East End. Local Councillor Jason Pritchard was keen that the opening of the new square should in particular honour its Jewish past and so he suggested to the organisers that they book local Jewish band, Klezmer Klub. “I first saw Klezmer Klub play a few years back at a birthday party in Bethnal Green” he said, “and I really fell in love with their music, particularly as they sang about those parts of the East End where I’m from. At the end of the evening I even went home with their CD!  So when we were looking for a Klezmer band to accompany the launch of the new square I knew where to look.”

Klezmer is, at its heart, dance music, in particular wedding music, both wild and tender. Played by the Klezmorim as they tramped the roads of eastern Europe, it is a music that gets to your heart by way of your feet. Often described as bitter-sweet, it came out of poverty and oppression. Both dances and song contain joy, exhilaration and wit alongside the sadness, anger and defiance.

Klezmer Klub sing in Yiddish, the language of the Jews in Eastern Europe. Vivi Lachs, Klezmer Klub’s lead singer, has collected her own unique repertoire of songs, which cover a wide variety of themes: love songs, political anthems and union songs, music hall comedy, songs from film and theatre, and songs about working class life in the old East End.  A great performer, Vivi animates them all with explanations, costume and character.

Whilst much of the Jewish community has long since moved on from Aldgate there are still many signs of the area’s Jewish past, if you know where to look. Within Aldgate ward, a short distance to the north of the gate, Jews had settled from 1181 and stayed until their expulsion in 1290 by King Edward I. The area became known as Old Jewry. Jews were welcomed back by Oliver Cromwell, and once again settled in the area, founding London’s oldest synagogue at Bevis Marks in 1698. On Creechurch Lane there is a blue plaque on the wall to mark the site of the first synagogue after the resettlement, 1657 – 1701.

Cllr Pritchard lives on the Middlesex Street Estate in the ward of Portsoken and describes how “many of the flats in the square and tower still have mezuzahs at the doors [these are small cases which contain pieces of scroll]. A mezuzah declares: The people who dwell here live Jewish lives. Even though the previous occupants have moved out these traditional pieces of parchment have often remained in the doorways on the estate. It’s this melting pot of history, where different cultures have left their mark, that makes our part of the City so fascinating. My own ancestors were French Huguenots who arrived as refugees in Spitalfields in the 1680s and my family has remained in the East End ever since.”

In addition to the Jewish music, Cllr Pritchard was keen to book a food stall where people could sample some of the types of foods that would have been sold locally when the area was the heart of the Jewish East End: “I approached my neighbour, Ivan, to ask if he knew of anyone who might want to run a Jewish food stall at the festival. That was when Ivan reminded me that Saturday is the Shabbat day, a day of rest, making it difficult to find someone to work that day.”

It was then that he came across Monty’s deli in Spitalfields Market. Monty’s make their own bagels, salt beef, pastrami and mustard and many more Jewish delicacies and are famed for their renowned Rueben Sandwich. Happily Monty’s agreed to run a stall at the festival.

“I am really happy that we will have this chance for people to hear traditional Jewish music and to taste a bit of Jewish food. I have already told our oldest Jewish resident centenarian Manny Blankett who is looking forward to coming along. I do hope that many local people will come along and enjoy the weekend. Alongside the Bangladeshi folk music and even a Latin Fiesta band and many more exciting activities, it looks like it is going to be a fantastic weekend.”

The Aldgate Square Festival will run from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th June 2018 in Aldgate Square just off Aldgate High Street. Klezmer Klub will perform on Saturday 16th June. Monty’s Deli will be serving Jewish-inspired dishes over the weekend. To find out more about the festival please visit the website www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/aldgatesquarefestival

ASFPoster_A4

See also:

http://www.klezmerklub.co.uk/KlezmerKlub/Klezmer_Klub.html

https://www.montys-deli.com/

 

 

Advertisements

Reminder: Artizan St Library new opening times start today

This is just a reminder that following our successful campaign with local residents the new opening hours at Artizan Street Library start today.  Please do spread the word!DbI2z-8XcAI0wNu

 

We won! City of London announces new hours at Artizan Street Library

IMG_4458

After a well publicised local campaign, I am pleased to announce that the City of London has agreed to extend the hours at Artizan Street Community Library. This is fantastic news! In addition to extending the hours the City will also now be trialling a Saturday opening slot for six months.

From 14th May 2018 the new Library hours will be as follows:

Monday- 8am-7pm
Tuesday- 8am-5.30pm
Wednesday- 8am-5.30pm
Thursday- 8am-5.30pm
Friday- 8am-5.30pm
Saturday- 9am-1pm

This really is tremendous news for the local community and it will now mean that this wonderful resource is available for even more people to use on a daily basis. Please do spread the word and let people know about the new opening times to ensure as many people benefit from the new hours as possible. Once again this result demonstrates that when residents come together on local issues we can influence positive change in the community and get our voices heard.

Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and to the parents who came to the Guildhall last month to hand-in the petition. We couldn’t have got this result without all of your support.

Well done everyone!

Best regards

Jason Pritchard

Middlesex Street Resident and Common Councilman for the ward of Portsoken

Feedback following our library petition hand-in at the Guildhall

IMG_4465
Residents hand-in petition at the Guildhall with Head of Barbican & Community Library Services Carol Boswarthack and the Chair of the Culture, Heritage & Libraries Committee Graham Packham

Report by Jason Pritchard CC

Good news! Earlier today I went with a small group of residents to hand in our Artizan Street library petition and to speak with the Head of Barbican & Community Library Services Carol Boswarthack and the Chair of the Culture, Heritage & Libraries Committee Graham Packham at the Guildhall. The petition gathered 115 signatures from local people and sent a clear message that we want better hours to fit the community. I am pleased to say the meeting went very well.

Both Ms Boswarthack and Mr Packham CC have agreed with residents that the current hours at the library are simply not working for the local community and subject to the final feedback from the City of London Opening Hours survey are positively exploring options to:

a) open the library beyond 4pm on weekdays so that schoolchildren and working people can enjoy more time in the library

b) trial Saturday opening hours for local residents and families

It was clear today that the City has been listening to the message from local residents which is great news and although officially they cannot announce new hours until after their survey close date it was pretty clear there is going to be a change for the better.

Thank you to the 115 people who signed the Library petition and helped put this issue firmly on the agenda. This demonstrates that when residents come together on local issues we can influence positive change in the community and get our voices heard.

Please help keep the pressure on by sharing the Artizan Street Library survey below by email or on social media.

Survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/artizanhours

The survey closing date is the 25th March so please do make sure you complete the survey and spread the word. The City of London have promised to publish their new library opening hours plans by the 1st April.

We will keep you updated on developments and hope to share more good news on this local campaign in the near future.

Best regards

Jason Pritchard

Middlesex Street Resident and Common Councilman for the ward of Portsoken

 

Labour’s William Campbell-Taylor speaks out over smear campaign

Former Portsoken Labour councillor William Campbell-Taylor has spoken out about a stalker who created a “cyber smear” scandal to ruin his reputation.

William-Campbell-Taylor-1024x768

Last month local newspaper City Matters reported Mr Campbell-Taylor was the target of defamatory direct mail distributed in the Middlesex Street Estate where he was campaigning to become Portsoken Alderman.

The flyers accused the Anglican priest of grooming “a vulnerable male” for sex and were distributed to residents just over a fortnight before they went to the polls on 14 December.

But the harassment goes far deeper, according to Mr Campbell-Taylor who has recounted details of stalking, false allegations and threats of violence in a revealing post on his blog Hackney Preacher.

“For the better part of the last decade I’ve had a stalker,” he wrote.

“In the beginning, when we were colleagues, I didn’t realise that’s what it was. I tried to field his unusual intensity with everyday friendliness. It didn’t work. In fact my attempts to manage the situation made it far worse.”

“Five years ago I sought to break off all contact. Three years ago I went to the Police [sic]. Until now I have not spoken about it in public.”

Mr Campbell goes on to say that the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, delivered gifts – including a live hamster – to his home, threatened to circumcise him with a scalpel and made allegations of sexual assault, which he disseminated through fake news websites.

“Anonymous unsolicited news bulletins ‘reporting’ on these abuse allegations were sent to fellow councillors in the City of London, to clergy colleagues and friends across London diocese, to my wife’s friends and colleagues, the local rabbi,” Mr Campbell-Taylor wrote.

“To be clear: I have never had any sexual contact with this man. Nor have I wanted or sought to have any. I have certainly never abused him.”

Thames Magistrates’ Court issued a restraining order on 9 January this year prohibiting the man from making any reference to or about Mr Campbell-Taylor and his wife that “is likely to cause them harassment, alarm or distress”.

A police spokesperson has confirmed they are currently investigating concerns reported to them “in relation to matters of electoral process”.

At this stage no evidence has been released linking the individual to the flyers.

Mr Campbell-Taylor said he felt compelled to speak out after being approached for comment by City Matters on the allegations made in the flyers.

“The reason that I am putting this story on my blog is because there is nowhere amongst all the cyber smear that gives my account of what actually happened.”

“I want the truth to be at least visible within the fog that swirls about it.

“In the end, however, our good name is one we receive as a gift. It’s a grace bestowed neither by the magistrate’s court nor by the court of public opinion. And for that I give thanks.”

Source: City Matters

Labour’s candidate William Campbell-Taylor on why party politics has a place in the City

Screen-Shot-2017-12-19-at-11.09.22

William Campbell-Taylor believes Labour councillors get unfair treatment from their peers, and says they should instead be praised for their transparency.

“Many of the Independent City councillors are also Conservative Party members – not to mention Freemasons – and at least one of them is a serving Conservative councillor elsewhere,” said Mr Campbell-Taylor.

“It’s completely fine that they should have political affiliations, of course. What isn’t fine is that they should then pretend they have no political interests.”

Labour caused a stir in March’s City-wide elections when the party increased its influence in the Court of Common Council fivefold.

Now the latest man to run with a red rosette is hoping his public-facing campaign will be enough to help him join the fray and become the first Labour Alderman.

“Many residents are pleased to have the opportunity to support a Labour candidate for Alderman, though it’s also true that party politics isn’t the only consideration when choosing whom to vote for.

“Residents and small businesses want to know that you are on their side, that you will fight their corner.”

Mr Campbell-Taylor can point to a history of holding the local authority to account. In 2001 he successfully campaigned to prevent the Cass Foundation selling off the Sir John Cass’s School site before forcing the City to publish a summary of its private cash accounts in 2011.

“If transparency is a priority for me so too is fairness,” he said. “For example, I want the City to cover free school meals for all children in Year 3 and above at Sir John Cass’s.

When it puts £12million into its private schools I think it can also afford to make sure the children at the City’s only state school get a decent meal during the day.”

Housing is also a minefield the candidate is putting at the top of his agenda, but complete with hard hat, he has pledged to scrutinise Corporation policy, especially after the “Bernard Morgan House calamity”.

“I want to make sure the City meets its commitments to housing Londoners… to build 3,700 new homes by 2025. It can begin by looking after those who already live on the two housing estates in Portsoken, one of which is council run.

“I read that Aldgate is now being billed as ‘the hottest property destination in Europe’, set to generate 20,000 jobs. But how many of those jobs will come to local residents? And how will the residents and small businesses benefit from all this money coming into the area?”

And it isn’t just housing that the Labour candidate thinks the Corporation is under-delivering on. He wants reform that he says will allow the Square Mile to start working for everyone, not just those in big business.

“Because different governments have promoted the liberalisation of the financial services sector, the Corporation decided that it wasn’t in its interests to nail its political colours to the mast.

“Only now, after the crash, is this catching up with the City. People are beginning to see that the City of London, rather than being a state of nature, represents a powerful set of interests. And these interests need to be brought into the daylight. That’s what a Labour group can do; it can shine a light on the interests at work.

“Politics is not a freelance activity – about being a ‘Mighty Me’ independent – it’s about solidarity, people working together and demanding change.”

Mr Campbell-Taylor stated that the growing number of Labour members on the council was evidence of a change in attitudes locally.

“Our new Labour councillors Jason Pritchard and Munsur Ali have shown this in their campaigning work, from making sure that all unlicensed massage parlours are closed down to speaking up for the Rohingya Muslims in the council.

“Now we need more councillors like Jason and Munsur that reflect the mix of the City and theconcerns of ordinary people – and hopefully soon the City’s first Labour Alderman too.”

Source: City Matters

PROMOTED AND PUBLISHED BY PAUL O’BRIEN ON BEHALF OF CITY OF LONDON LABOUR PARTY BOTH OF 106 THOMAS MORE HOUSE BARBICAN LONDON EC2Y 8NJ

Please sign and share our petition calling on City of London to increase opening hours at Artizan Street Library

artizan-street-library-2

We need opening hours at Artizan Street Library that work for our community.

We want the committee to work with the community to establish a new spread of opening hours, and ensure the needs of local school children, students, workers and other residents are put first in this decision.

We propose a spread of hours comprising at least 3 evenings per week, so the library may be a resource for a greater number and variety of people.

We propose that the library opens on Saturdays so that parents and children can visit at their leisure. The Barbican library is open Sat: 9.30am–4pm, that’s what we need in Portsoken.

Why is this important?

From Tuesday to Friday, the library closes at 4pm, and it doesn’t open at all at weekends. Many children and students in local schools finish too late to to use the services after school, and residents working 9-5 jobs do not have much opportunity to access the library at all.

The current opening hours seem only to serve the needs of the City workers coming into the area during the day, rather than the people living in the local community.

This issue has been raised in a recent customer survey, and a consultation into a new spread of opening hours is under way. We, the residents of the City of London, want to make sure that our voices are put front and centre on this issue, rather than the corporations and City workers, which is too often the case.

Please sign the petition here → https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/artizanstlibrary