Voices of East Bank Website Launched

11 January 2024

Voices of East Bank, an online archive of stories about east London’s communities, heritage and languages, has been launched to mark Heritage Treasures Day (Thursday, January 11, 2024).

cartoon river, houses and people

The Voices of East Bank has released a collection of more than 100 audio recordings made in 2023 captures a snapshot of the languages, dialects and stories of east London’s diverse heritage from the 20th century to the present day.
The project, led by Community History Project Freelancer Lydia Powell and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, brings to life personal memories about childhood, language, culture and food as well as experiences of racism and discrimination. The recordings explore themes of migration, belonging, heritage and more and help to foster a sense of connection, understanding and unity among east London’s diverse communities.
Recordings include:
•    Marcus' experience on Language, slang and east London dialiects 
•    Ivy from Newham remembering bombing raids during World War Two
•    Jagir’s memories of her children’s favourite meals
•    Visitors to UK Black Pride and their LGBTQ+ experiences in east London 
•    Harris Ali’s experience of racism at primary school 

Dr Anna Maguire, UCL's Lecturer in Public History, led the oral history training at UCL East and mobilised the Memory Workshop equipment for the oral history interviews and engagement activities in the park (the Great Get Together, Black Pride) using the Memory Bike. She also helped to host the final project event at Marshgate in November with support from the UCL East engagement team.
Lyn Garner, Chief Executive of LLDC, said: “This is such a wonderful project preserving deeply personal memories to help us to make sense of a rapidly changing world. Whether it’s someone’s memories of working life in Canning Town, finding community in Spitalfields after the Partition of India, or celebrating UK Black Pride on Queen Elizabeth OIympic Park, the recordings provide a fascinating insight into east London life from the past to present.”
Selina Papa, Head of Engagement for England - London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are thrilled to support the Voices of East Bank project which has preserved these unique and personal memories for generations to come. We hope that this project encourages more people across the East London host boroughs such as Newham to be inspired by, and proud of, their borough's rich heritage." 
The recordings were made on and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park during  2023 by Oral History Community Researchers, volunteers, historians, artists and storytellers supported by UCL East, BBC History and London Legacy Development Corporation. The project was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund with additional support from Newham Archives, Discover Children’s Story Centre, Breakin’ Convention, Deafroots, Badu Digital Hub, Deep Boroughs, Newham Community Project, Roma support Group and more.