Mudchute Park and Farm1.jpg

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets is a borough of London, England. Situated on the north bank of the River Thames and immediately east of the City of London, the borough spans much of the traditional East End of London and includes much of the regenerated London Docklands area. The 2019 mid-year population for the borough is estimated at 324,745.

Tower Hamlets occupies much of what is traditionally known as the East End of London, a working-class area once infamous for its high population density and poverty. Some of the tallest buildings in London occupy Canary Wharf, one of the country's largest financial districts, in the south of the borough. A part of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is in Tower Hamlets. It was formed in 1965 by merger of the former metropolitan boroughs of Stepney, Poplar, and Bethnal Green. 'Tower Hamlets' was originally an alternative name for the historic Tower Division; the area of south-east Middlesex, focused on (but not limited to) the area of the modern borough, which owed military service to the Tower of London.

A 2017 study by Trust for London and New Policy Institute, found that Tower Hamlets has the highest rate of poverty, child poverty, unemployment, and pay inequality of any London borough. However, it has the lowest gap for educational outcomes at secondary level.

Community resources[edit | edit source]

St Margaret's House "Hub" Trailer
Authors: St Margaret's House, Aug 12, 2021

St Margaret's House is a community centre in Bethnal Green in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It was established in October 1889 as the Bethnal Green Ladies' Committee, with Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck, as president. It has since become a charity supporting creativity and wellbeing in Tower Hamlets, running a variety of community projects providing spaces for residents to eat, shop, learn, create and enjoy cultural programmes.

Climate action[edit | edit source]

  • Zero Emissions Network,, "multiple award-winning air quality business liaison initiative... helps businesses and more recently, residents in London's City Fringe area save money, reduce emissions and improve local air quality.", added 15:25, 11 March 2022 (UTC)

Open spaces[edit | edit source]

There are over one hundred parks and open spaces in Tower Hamlets ranging from the large Victoria Park, to numerous small gardens and squares. The second largest, Mile End Park, separated from Victoria Park by a canal, includes The Green Bridge that carries the park across the busy Mile End Road. One of the smallest at 1.19 ha is the decorative Grove Hall Park off Fairfield Road, Bow, which was once the site of a lunatic asylum. Other parks include Altab Ali Park, Mudchute Park and Grove Hall Park.

The Green Bridge, information from Tower Hamlets Council

Community involvement[edit | edit source]

Since 2014, the council has embraced a policy of decentralisation by establishing neighbourhood forums. In 2014, the East Shoreditch Neighbourhood Planning Forum was set up which was followed in 2016 with the designation of a Limehouse Community Forum, an Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Planning Forum, and a Spitalfields Neighbourhood Planning Forum. W

Spitalfields Neighbourhood Planning Forum (SNPF) is a neighbourhood forum made up of local Spitalfields residents, business operators and community organisations who represent the range of interests in the 'Spitalfields Neighbourhood Area' (which is a business neighbourhood area). The area covered is a small part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, London, mainly along that borough's western border with the City of London. The bounds of the neighbourhood area were designed to cover a similar area to the ancient parish of Spitalfields.

The Spitalfields Neighbourhood Planning Forum was officially designated by Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs in April 2016. The conditions for neighbourhood forum designation are set out in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the powers of neighbourhood forums to create neighbourhood plans are set out in the Localism Act 2011. Tower Hamlets has several other neighbourhood forums in Limehouse, East Shoreditch and the Isle of Dogs that have been similarly designated by the council and which allow local people to help shape neighbourhood planning policies and local services in their area.

Arts, sport and culture[edit | edit source]

The Good Gym, run for good

Community and voluntary action[edit | edit source]

Volunteer Centre Tower Hamlets helps residents find volunteering work and provides support to organisations involving students volunteers. W

Cycling[edit | edit source]

National Cycle Route 1 W

Food activism[edit | edit source]

Mudchute Park and Farm is a large urban park and farm in Cubitt Town on the Isle of Dogs in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, just south of Canary Wharf. It is a Local Nature Reserve and a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation.

Stepney City Farm is a city farm in Stepney, London, England. It is situated on Stepney Way with its entrance on the roundabout leading onto Stepney High Street and Belgrave Street towards Limehouse. The land is owned by Tower Hamlets Council through a trust, "The King George's Fields Trust" chaired by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets.

The farm runs workshops in rural crafts through its resident artisans; blacksmith, woodworker and potter. In 2011, the farm created an 800 square metre community garden and added low-cost growing boxes for community use.

In May 2013 a cafe and shop selling farm-reared meat and eggs as well as vegetables grown on-site was opened. It is open to the public six days a week. There is a Farmers' Market every Saturday. It is the home of The Green Wood Guild, a green wood and traditional woodworking craft workshop run by Barn the Spoon.

Reduce, reuse, repair and recycle[edit | edit source]

A-Z recycling guide, information from Tower Hamlets Council

Social inclusion[edit | edit source]

The End Child Poverty coalition published that Tower Hamlets has the highest proportion of children in poverty of any local authority in the UK at 49% (and as high as 54.5% in the Bethnal Green South ward). W

Sustainable transport activism[edit | edit source]

Tower Hamlets Borough Council operates a walking bus service for school pupils on agreed routes with some running every school day while and others once or twice a week depending on the number of adult volunteers involved. W

The Regent's Canal enters the borough from Hackney to meet the River Thames at Limehouse Basin. A stretch of the Hertford Union Canal leads from the Regent's canal, at a basin in the north of Mile End to join the River Lea at Old Ford. A further canal, Limehouse Cut, London's oldest, leads from locks at Bromley-by-Bow to Limehouse Basin. Most of the canal tow-paths are open to both pedestrians and cyclists.[1]

Lea Valley Walk W

Urban sustainability[edit | edit source]


News and comment[edit | edit source]


Braham Street Park opens in Aldgate, a new breathing space close to the City, March 19[2]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Institute for Community Studies[edit | edit source]

The Institute for Community Studies is a community-led research and evidence centre based in Bethnal Green, East London. Originally founded in 1953 by Michael Young as the Institute of Community Studies, it is probably best known for the 1957 report by Young and his colleague Peter Willmott, Family and Kinship in East London, which argued for the continuing importance of community ties in the age of the welfare state. Described as a sociological "phenomenon", the original Institute influenced a generation of sociologists and social historians.

The Institute was re-launched in 2019 with support from the Power to Change Trust, Friends Provident Foundation and a large private donation, with a remit to promote positive social, economic and environmental outcomes by better understanding how government and philanthropic interventions affect – and are affected by – the individuals, families and businesses that make up our local communities.

The Institute for Community Studies describes itself as "a new kind of research institute, with people and communities at its heart". It places particular emphasis on the role of communities themselves in the research process, both in determining the research questions to be answered and through the use of so-called peer researchers (also known as community-based participatory researchers) to collect evidence. In its first major publication, based on a coordinated series of national surveys and regional focus groups across the United Kingdom, the Institute identified seven priority areas for further research.

Other resources[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

London Borough of Tower Hamlets W

References[edit | edit source]

Discussion[View | Edit]

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