His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent took a trip down memory lane as he attended the launch of Gateway Housing Association’s new exhibition, East End: The Place We Call Home. The launch took place at the Mile End Ecology Pavilion, on 5 October.
The exciting new exhibition tour celebrates the people and places that make the East End such a vibrant and diverse community. Through a striking art installation, Gateway moves away from the familiar stores of the area to note the unsung heroes of the East End. These were the people who campaigned for change, built for the future and kept the home fires burning.
An important part of this story is how social housing organisations such as Gateway have been providing much needed homes that have supported the community to thrive. One such Gateway property provided a very special link between the Association and their VIP guest.
The Duke of Kent’s father, Prince George, Duke of Kent, opened Gateway’s Lennox House in Hackney in 1937. The design of this innovative, Grade 2 listed building was ahead of its time. It was a welcome replacement to the slums that covered the East End in the inter war period. In 1984, the present Duke of Kent reopened Lennox House after renovation in 1984 at the invitation of Gateway
This royal connection to innovative homes in the East End is just one of the stories told in Gateway’s exhibition. East End: the place we call home also gives a space for Gateway residents to tell their own stories, through a short film and photographs. The Duke enjoyed meeting some of these residents at the launch, including Daisy Woodard, who recalled sheltering under the railway arches of Millwall Park during the Blitz and local sculptor, Paula Haughney.
The Duke thanked Gateway for inviting him to the launch. He said "It is very special to see an exhibition that celebrates its community in this way and I can tell that a lot of commitment and passion has gone into this project. What has struck me today is that the things that have made this area historically unique, its dynamism, character and diversity, remain very much unchanged. It is clear to me that the East End has a very exciting future ahead and I wish all who live there well. "
The exhibition was created to celebrate Gateway’s anniversary, marking 90 years of providing affordable homes for the community. Sheron Carter, Chief Executive of Gateway said ‘At a time when many people misunderstand the work of social housing, we wanted to reflect on our history and celebrate the people who have brought about amazing changes. This, however, is not just about Gateway. As we worked on this exhibition it became clear to us that the story we are telling is much bigger than that. We have taken a step back to let the East End and its people speak for themselves.’
The exhibition is kindly sponsored by Gateway’s community partners, Virgin Media and Pellings LLP. East End: The Place We Call Home runs from Oct 6th – October 9th at the Brick Lane Gallery, 216 Brick Lane, London, E1 6SB, and then at Idea Stores across Tower Hamlets from October 2016 to March 2017.
The Exhibition East End the Place We Call Home, will run at the following Idea Stores:
18 - 30 OCTOBER 2016- IDEA STORE BOW
9 NOVEMBER - 29 DECEMBER 2016 - IDEA STORE WHITECHAPEL
5 - 29 JANUARY 2017 - IDEA STORE CANARY WHARF
2 - 27 FEBRUARY 2017 - IDEA STORE WATNEY MARKET
4 - 30 MARCH 2017 - IDEA STORE CHRISP STREET