A home is so much more than the bricks and mortar that make up a house. In the East End, perhaps more than anywhere, this is apparent. The sense of community and the unique character that sets the East End apart has been a constant through decades of change. From the Victorian slums to the present day, the area has been defined by the people who call it home.
In 2016, Gateway Housing Association turned 90 years old. As we reflected on our history, we were struck by the amazing people we encountered in our past. These were local people who campaigned for change, built for the future and kept the home fires burning.
In addition to these individuals, local organisations quietly worked to make a difference to the community. Social housing organisations, such as Gateway, have been providing much needed homes that form the base of the community. By giving more people a safe and affordable place to live, housing associations supported the East End to be the vibrant and diverse place it is today.
At a time when many people misunderstand the work of social housing, this is a story that we believed needed to be told. In 2016 we celebrated our anniversary and shared our story at a series of events with our residents and staff. Our flagship event was our 90th anniversary exhibition, East End: the place we call home.
Through this exhibition, we hoped to convey a more diverse image of the East End than the one we tend to see on TV and to challenge the perceptions about the work housing associations do. This, however, was not just about Gateway. As we worked on this exhibition it became clear to us that the story we were telling was much bigger than that. We took a step back to let the East End and its people speak for themselves.
You can download our exhibition brochure here and read about the launch here.