Sunday, 24 November 2013

Slowing Down - Photography Exhibition at our Art Pavilion (finishes 1st Dec.).

Rashida Mangera photo
Sunday 1st December is the last day of the London Independent Photography second annual group show at the Art Pavilion in Mile End Park. If you are taking an autumnal stroll through the park why not pop in and take a look. 17 photographers examine the theme of Slowing Down as described in the show's introductory notes:
‘Slowing down’ opens up space for memories, for spirituality, for finding hidden corners of a city, for looking beyond visual clich├ęs, for interacting with the people in front of the camera, for playing with light, for thinking about the meanings of a photograph. Here are, among other genres, still lives, nature photographs, cityscapes and portraits. Some of the photographers have slowed down the process of making pictures itself, either in the camera or in a wet or dry ‘darkroom’. This exhibition brings photographs together in wide range of themes, styles and techniques; from all over the world and through seventeen different lenses. And now, instead of being flashed across social networks, the images are on a gallery wall, forcing the viewer to slow down too.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Towpath Workshop - 19th September Mile End Park Art Pavilion

The canal towpaths of east London are an important resource and are becoming increasingly popular with walkers, fishermen, cyclists, joggers and boaters. In some places, and at peak times, this can lead to congestion. To help manage growing demand the Canal and River Trust (formerly British Waterways) are working to improve the streets surrounding the canal for cyclists and pedestrians.

The Canal & River Trust and Tower Hamlets Wheelers (the local London Cycling Campaign group who provided the Dr Bike at today's Dog Show and Community Fair) are inviting local people and community groups to contribute to finding solutions. Local knowledge is invaluable in doing this.

You are invited to an open Workshop during European Mobility Week: 
6.30pm-9pm on 19 September 2013 
Mile End Park Arts Pavilion
Mile End Park, Clinton Road, London E3 4QY

The aim of the workshop is to explore different ways in which residential roads can be made more attractive for pedestrians, cyclists and local communities. 

Light snacks and refreshments will be provided Please RSVP to or call 020 3204 4435


Well what a day. This year's Dog Show and Fair has been the hardest one yet to organise. Cancelled in July and almost again two weeks ago for reasons beyond our control and yet the PDSA stepped in at the last minute and rescued the event.

The weather really was horrid at times, although not as bad as last year. If it carries on like this next year we will have to hire a circus tent.

A big thank you to all the stallholders, both the volunteers and professionals; and the park rangers who went the extra mile helping out (as ever). It was good to see some new activities and stalls as well as the stalwarts such as the WI cake stall and the Wheelers.

Any feedback good or bad is welcome, or if you have any photos you can send over (I was too busy to take a single photo) then please email 

Monday, 9 September 2013

Dog Show & Fair - next Sunday (15th Sept)

Just a few days to go now until what looks like the best fair we have put together in years. Of course the Dog Show is our main event and this year it also includes a Dog Agility Course with a demonstration event followed by your chance to impress us with your best friend's skills. There will also be stalls providing treats and various affordable items for your dog. ParkPups will be providing Children's storytelling & games.

Dr Bike will be there courtesy of Tower Hamlets Wheelers 1-5PM to sort out any of your bike problems.

There will be Bobbie Bubbles; inflatable balloons; Face Painting; Arts & Crafts Workshop; Pony Rides;  T- Shirt Screening Printing Workshop; George Irvin is providing Fairground Rides; and the excellent Ale Douvan are running an African Drumming Performance with Workshop (4-5pm). A variety of stalls selling Greeting Cards & Gifts and the Tower Hamlets Recycle Team will be bringing Mr RecycleMore.

Lots of different refreshments will be on offer: W.I - Selling Cakes & Hot Beverages; Try My Thai; George Irvin's Burger Van; Ice Cream Van

You can download the flyer here

The fun will be followed at 5PM by the Friends of Mile End Park AGM (Here is the agenda and last year's minutes)

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Park & Canal Clean-up

Canoeing by Mile End Park

We are very lucky that Mile End Park is relatively litter-free. But lately, whilst dog-walking for an old friend, I've noticed a growth in the amount of litter along the towpath or floating in the canal. 

Tonight I had a wonderful evening with Moo Canoes paddling up from their Limehouse basin HQ to Mile End Park litter-picking as we went. I teamed up with Molly in the bow, who was on litter-picking duty, whilst I did the paddling and steering. Two hours and three full large black bin bags later, we arrived back at the Moo Canoes HQ (or should that be farm) surprisingly tired but content that we had done our bit to help keep "our patch" looking good. Altogether our four canoes filled over a dozen bin bags in two hours.

Fancy lending a hand with the next clean-up? Dave Bedford who lives just off the Ben Jonson road is organising another clean-up on the 13th August (one session from 2.30-5PM and one from 6-8PM) with Thames 21 providing the litter-picking gear and Moo Canoes the floating friesians. If you want to come and help then contact Dave 

Sunday, 21 July 2013

YOUTH DAY (Sunday 11th August)

Are you aged 14 - 25? On Sunday 11th August (1-5PM) there will be a free & fun afternoon in Mile End Park (near the leisure centre).

As well as a large variety of sporting activities taking place (Archery, BMX, Football, Volleyball, Rowing, Basketball, Table Tennis...) provided by local sports clubs and coaches, there will also be a host of Adidas and Reebok prizes to be won, as well as bike maintenance, inflatable sumo wrestling, a bouncy castle, food, drinks, henna and face painting. Come and get active with your community on Youth Day!

Volunteers: Can you volunteer for this event to help make the day a success? If you would like to get involved please contact 020 7993 9983 or email

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


This Saturday the 20th of July Tower Hamlets Council are putting on a Sporting Carnival a free community event for all the family both young and old.
It will be a great opportunity to try sports that you may not have tried before: sailing simulator, bmx, canoeing, skateboarding, taekwondo as well as more traditional sports such as basketball, volleyball, tennis and much more.
There will be fun inflatables, steel pans and a talent showcase featuring local talent from Tower Hamlets to round off the evening.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Fun Fair in Mile End Park 4-8th July

George Irvin's Fun Fair is in the south part of the park this weekend (between Mile End Road and the Sports Centre). George is a great supporter of the Friends, especially with our annual Park Life event, so please do go along if you can. Incidentally, you may have read in East End Life that Park Life is this weekend. Unfortunately that listing was inaccurate: Park Life and the Dog Show isn't until September this year. We will let you know the exact date when it has been finalised.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Arts Pavilion - A Swap and Recycling Day

On Saturday 29th June (11AM–4PM) the Tower Hamlets Recycle Outreach Team are holding a swap and recycling day in the Mile End Arts Pavilion. This is a great opportunity to refresh your home and wardrobe, where you can pick up something new for free and rid of those items you no longer use.

Bring along anything pictured in the banner above or posters advertising the event. Make sure to come along!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Photo Competition

The Canal and River Trust (formerly British Waterways) are holding a photography competition over the summer. Entry is very quick and easy via their website with the winning entry being given the latest iPhone 5. They are looking for photos that inspire people to visit the waterways.  So next time you are having a walk in the Park why not meander over to the canal and takes some snaps.

The above photo of the recent controversial Canalival is unlikely to win the Canal and River Trust's competition, but it is a powerful photo nonetheless. The following time-lapse video gives a feel for the day.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

parkrun - in Mile End Park

Every Saturday at 9am, you'll notice a well organised lineup of punters by the entrance to the stadium, young and old, ready to head on their parkrun.

Mile End Park is a beautiful park to go for a run in. Just a gentle hill to jog up, a scenic trip via the canal and then through the gardens. Two laps is a great start to the weekend.

If you're just strolling by, it's a great place to get your coffee with other people who like to seize the early morning weekend start with a breath of fresh air.

parkrun volunteers organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs. They are great fun for people of all ages and running abilities, and you’ll often see families running too. It's free but you must register in advance. Come check it out or maybe even join in one this Saturday! For more information visit

Monday, 1 April 2013

All Things Must Pass

Michael  Rowan shows off Mile End Park to a group of visiting Danes

Michael Rowan, Head of Tower Hamlets Parks and formerly Director of Mile End Park,  has recently left Tower Hamlets Council after nine years. Although many millions were spent redeveloping our park as part of the UK's Millennium celebrations, to my mind it was Michael's appointment as Director that had the biggest impact. There isn't an inch of the park that he hasn't passed his eye over. What could so easily have been a sliver of mown grass bounded by the canal on one side and Burdett/Grove roads on the other; is instead a space littered with a rich variety of features along its entire length. 

One of the key roles of the Friends of Mile End Park is to "keep an eye" on developments in the Park. Under Michael's helm we have had it easy and this has invariably consisted of us saying "excellent" or "great".  From the outdoor theatre and wardrobe to Narnia in the children's park at the southern end; the BMX track and renown skateboard park  for teenagers in the centre of the park; to the vegetable-growing raised beds just north of Grove road: Michael has given us all something to enjoy whatever our age. Walking past the outdoor gym by Bow Wharf today I saw two dogs lashed to the bright Olympic-pink fence waiting impatiently for their "masters" to finish pumping iron and resume exercising them instead. A few minutes later I passed some amateur photographers on all fours trying to capture the fine details of some flower or perhaps Mermessus trilobatus the latest species of spider to call Mile End Park its' home.

Whatever use you make of the Park I'm sure you'll join me in thanking Michael for all that he has done to help make the Park what it is today and wishing him every success in the future.