Newham Heritage Month 2024 to celebrate the borough’s historic and influential places and spaces, from medieval monasteries to Kubrick sets, Beatles concerts and more

The June festival will explore the neighborhood’s fascinating heritage sites, from 12th-century mega-monasteries to 21st-century skate subculture hubs.

In June, over 75 free events will celebrate the fascinating places and spaces that have built Newham’s heritage, from medieval abbeys and ancient mills to world-famous skate spots, passing through Cathedrals of Sewage, activist sites and stations of underground radio.

Covering everything from the site of The Beatles’ first London concert to the pioneering radio station that helped create the UK’s Grime scene, Newham Heritage Month will celebrate the theme of ‘Places and Spaces’. It will showcase Newham’s rich and diverse heritage through a dynamic program of free live events, including film screenings, exhibitions, workshops, talks, tours and more.

Back by popular demand for a fifth year, the festival, organized by Newham Council and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, features 78 free events taking place in dozens of venues across the borough throughout June. The program is created by the community of Newham, for the community, about the community.

Previously unheard stories will be brought to light and preserved for the future, including unique personal testimonies from local people who worked with the legendary Joan Littlewood in Newham, revealing a new dimension to the revered theater director and the remarkable history of an influential underground radio station. DejaVu FM, which paved the way for the famous UK Grime scene.

Traversing nine centuries of fascinating local history, festival-goers will be invited to explore the grounds of St Mary Magdalene Church in East Ham – London’s oldest Norman church still in weekly use; step into the rare 18th-century mill – Britain’s largest tidal mill; and investigate the site of the Victorian Beckton Gasworks – once the largest gasworks in Europe, which later found fame as a music video and film set for creatives such as Stanley Kubrick and Oasis.

‘It’s a London Ting’ tells the inspiring and extraordinary story of the Stratford Centre, as the epicenter of London’s roller skating community from the 1980s to the late 2000s. Busy with shoppers by day, by night it has become a dazzling DIY hub of skill and innovation for young people who wanted to perfect their craft; the skating styles that originated here have continued to influence the skating scene around the world, and its legacy can still be seen today on TikTok. East Londoners can immerse themselves in this joyous world as artist Marilyn Fontaine invites locals to don their skates and learn to roll.

Newham Heritage Month will reveal the borough’s stunning natural heritage, with a range of projects celebrating Newham’s green spaces, from micro-lots to vast medieval estates and everything in between. West Ham Park celebrates 150 years this year; While previously the site of a botanic garden, FA Cup football matches and home to the likes of Samuel Gurney and Elizabeth Fry, since becoming public the park has touched many lives. Park Lives will create an art trail in the park to celebrate its history.

Black and white image of West Ham Park Newham heritage

Rowed, West Ham Park

Running seven kilometers through the heart of the district, the Greenway is the embankment covering the Northern Outfall sewer from Joseph Bazalgette’s famous ‘Cathedral of Sewage’ at Abbey Mills (the festival also offers a rare chance to see inside the spectacular pumping station). Built in response to cholera outbreaks and pollution in the Victorian era, today’s sewer runs through a path and cycle path flanked by nature. “The Greenway: From Super-Sewer to Wildflower Walk” will explore the history of the space through an eye-opening guided photo tour.

While an intriguing gravel pit is all that remains visible of the epic 12th-century Stratford Langthorne Abbey that once dominated the Newham landscape, ‘The Great Gate’ project will take east Londoners back to the medieval era, on the site of the monastery gardens. with inspired production, growing and making workshops held at what was once the largest monastery in Europe. As for the domestic gardens, East Londoners will be invited to explore the heritage of Newham’s allotments with painting and drawing workshops from ‘Up The Allotments’.

The line-up will also reveal the borough’s world-renowned history of innovative inclusive education, celebrate the stories of migrants and refugees, and trace the places and spaces in Stratford that are important to the LGBTQI+ community to create. a “living archive” of documentation, oral histories and photographs.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, will support the development of a heritage offer that embraces and celebrates the diversity of Newham, London’s youngest borough.

Stuart McLeod, Director of England – London and South at the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“We are delighted to continue to support Newham Heritage Month, made possible by the money raised by National Lottery players. We hope people will get involved and share their heritage stories to highlight the living history and energy of this neighbourhood. We believe that investing in heritage is investing in the community it belongs to and has the power to connect communities, share their sense of pride and value heritage for everyone now and in the future.”

Newham Councilor Rohit K. Dasgupta, Deputy Cabinet Member for Equality, Social Justice and Culture, said:

“This festival is a celebration of our diverse heritage and culture, a wonderful opportunity for us to explore and appreciate the true essence of Newham. It’s a chance to discover hidden treasures and find out what makes living here so unique and special.

“This month of events will help preserve the history of our neighborhood for generations to come.

“I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to take part and embrace this festival and what it has to offer. With over 75 free events in June, there is something for everyone to enjoy and experience.”

The 16 projects present in the 2024 festival thanks to community funding are:

  • Act up! Newham – Built for inclusion: the creation of Cleves School and how Newham became famous for inclusive education
  • Applecart Arts – Ladders of Cradle to Grave Learning
  • Cameye Arts CIC – Traces of LGBTQI+ people in Stratford
  • Discover the Children’s Story Center – The Magic Library
  • Fairbairn Hall Company RTM Limited – Fairbairn Hall Stories: 1887 – 2024
  • Fight For Peace – The Blue Box in Newham: Home of Champions
  • Friends of Abbey Gardens – Great Gate
  • Keith Martin – The Greenway: From Super Sewer to Wildflower Walk
  • Marilyn Fontaine – It’s A London Ting: How the Stratford Center has influenced the international skate community
  • Maryam Huq – Minded: A Brief History of Trebor Works
  • Matt Ponting – East Ham Nature Reserve: A celebration of over 40 years
  • The Park in June – The Park Lives: West Ham Park gets personal
  • Rhiannon Armstrong – A Flat Through Time: The Legacies of Former Residents of McGrath Road Told by Those Who Live There Now
  • Ruth Bell – The History of Katherine Road, from Red Post Lane to Today
  • The New Black Film Collective – Newham School for the Deaf
  • Thomas & William McLucas – Post-Post-Industrial: An Archive Installation of Development Around Beckton Gas Works
Fight for Peace boxing match for Newham Heritage Month

Boxing match Fight for peace in the 2024 festival

The line-up of Newham Heritage Month events is now live at The full program will be launched on 1 June 2024. Book now for all events and activities, including the launch party on 1 June at Plashet Park, 325 Plashet Grove, London E7 8QR.