St Hilda’s East photo archive comes to life with help of school pupils and Older People’s Project

Young school pupils and pensioners teamed up to bring a photo archive, launched by the St Hilda’s East Community Centre on Tuesday, to life.

The community centre in Club Row, a thriving part of the surrounding Boundary Estate in Bethnal Green since 1889, is making an archive of photos, films and audio recordings from throughout its history available to the public.

Working with arts group Magic-Me , children from Virginia Primary School and members of the centre’s Older People’s Project worked together to create new photos by recreating scenes from the archive.

They also acted out scenes such as “Mad Dancing Party” at the launch.

Ernie Wright, 85, and Anne Juliette, 85, were stars of the show with their performance of “Granny’s Comedy Hour.”

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Mr Wright said: “We’re a couple of thespians now.”

Pupil Nazim Hoque, 9, said: “I enjoyed taking the photos and getting to meet new people.”

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Co-ordinator Anna Phillips estimates that the archive, the culmination of a year-long project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, contains up to 6000 photos and will now be housed in a dedicated room at the centre.

It will also be catalogued online to help people search for their St Hilda’s memories.

Ms Phillips said: “It is a treasure trove of East End history.”

The centre was established as part of the settlement movement in the late 19th century which saw middle-class people move into poorer urban areas to start charitable activities.

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