Archive for February 19th, 2013


St Paul's Old Ford


As a break from the daily grease of Tower Hamlets politics, here’s some lighter news.

As I’ve said before, one of the borough’s main delights is its history and any effort to preserve and commemorate its heritage deserves applause. Over the past 17  years, the Rev Philippa Boardman, one of the first women to be ordained as a Church of England priest, has been helping to restore and renovate St Paul’s Church in St Stephen’s Road, Bow/Old Ford.

It had been closed, almost derelict for five years when she arrived in the parish in 1996 and rather than let it fall into the hands of property developers, she set about rebuilding work. With a fabulous modern interior designed by Matthew Lloyd Architects, it reopened with the help of various grants in 2004. It now has a thriving, lively congregation on Sundays, while during the week it acts as a community venue and coffee shop. The brilliant Ability Bow gym, which, scandalously, has been struggling with funding cuts, is also upstairs.

The church’s latest project is to collect old photographs and memories of the church spanning more than 100 years. They are trying to publicise this work so here’s their press release, which I don’t think has run in any local papers yet. So spread the word (right across Essex)…

Local Church Wins Funding to trace its History.

St Paul Old Ford has been awarded £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘All Our Stories’ programme to tell the story of the church and how it has served the whole community since it was built in 1878.

The funding will enable the church to work with tutors from York University who will teach sessions on ‘how to do online research’ and ‘how to store and archive historic records’, and the end result will be a touch screen with all kinds of information about the church and local community,  a phone app and a church trail for children.

As part of the research, St Pauls is eager to meet East Enders (including those who have moved away from the area) who have old photos of St Paul’s or photos of activities held here.

All are invited to a ‘Photo Sharing’ session on Friday March 1st from 1.00pm to 3.30pm at St Paul’s Church St Stephens Rd, London E3 5JL. Telephone 020 8981 4655 

Email:  venuemanager@stpauloldford.com

If you have photos but can’t come on that particular Friday please do e-mail Karen Diss the St Paul’s Venue Manager or phone her on:  020 8981 4655.

Vicar, Rev Philippa Boardman who received the MBE in 2011 for services to Heritage in East London commented:  “We are delighted to have received this funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. St Paul’s serves the local community here on a daily basis through the Gym, Educational centre, Café, daily Prayer and all the other activities.

“This research project will enable us to discover how St Paul’s has helped this community to flourish in all kinds of ways since 1878. We welcome EastEnders past and present to join us in making this project a lasting success and resource for future generations.”

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