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Broadcaster Richard Bacon has paid a glowing tribute to Lewisham hospital, and the NHS, after being taken ill while on a flight to the UK from America.
Bacon said on Twitter that he “nearly died” after being rushed to the South East London hospital on July 5 with what he has described as an “unidentified double chest infection.”
The television and radio presenter said that he was placed into a medically induced coma just 90 minutes after first arriving and now remains in hospital where he is recovering.
Bacon praised the treatment he received while at Lewisham Hospital: “I didn’t die because I’m on the NHS”. Bacon also acknowledged that not everyone in the world had the privilege of universal health care, and pointed to America where he now lived, as an example: “Fuck all the ideology driven politicians who’ve messed up America’s healthcare system.”
Thank God I got ill in Britain (actually on the way to Britain, was taken off the plane in a wheelchair). Fuck all the ideology driven politicians who’ve messed up America’s healthcare system. Viva the NHS. Happy 70th. pic.twitter.com/ABEhSZXiRK
In recent years Lewisham Hospital has been in turmoil after the now Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Jeremy Hunt attempted to close down Lewisham’s accident and emergency unit while serving as Health Secretary.
Local outrage prompted the SaveLewishamHospital campaign, which gained widespread support and the decision was eventually overturned when the Court of Appeal ruled that Hunt did not have the power to enforce cuts at Lewisham Hospital.
Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, who run Lewisham Hospital, tweeted their thanks to Bacon:
Thanks for the kind words: we are so proud of our staff. Everyone is delighted you are recovering.
Steven Brissett (left) and Conor Armstrong (right) Pic: Met Police
Two men from the Isle of Dogs have been sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court for drug related offences.
Conor Armstrong, 26, of Byng Street, and Steven Brissett, 20, of Tiller Road, were sentenced on Thursday following an investigation by Tower Hamlets Police.
Armstrong was jailed for three years and two months after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, assault and being involved in the supply of cannabis.
Brissett, who was also charged with involvement in the supply of cannabis, was handed a suspended sentence of 16 months after entering a guilty plea.
Both men were arrested in 2017 after police investigations linked them both to drug dealing in the area. Brissett was arrested at his home where police seized half a kilogram of cannabis and over £6,000 in cash.
The court heard how Armstrong had been supplying Brissett with large amounts of cannabis, and £25,000 in cash was found at an address linked to him in Kent.
PC Jon Privett of Tower Hamlets CID said: “An investigation into a violent offender uncovered a network of drug supply.
“Both offenders have now been convicted and we hope this reduces the level of drug fuelled violence on the streets of Tower Hamlets.”
It gives a whole new meaning to the idea of life drawing class. Londoners can now paint on naked human bodies, so long as its only flowers and plants.
Artist Mimmi Harding, 23, is teaching the ‘Our Botanical Bodies Life Drawing Classes’ as a part of her project ‘Our Botanical Bodies’ and everyone is welcome to either volunteer as a model or draw on them.
The first public drawing class started on May 22 and runs every Tuesday in Folklore, Hoxton, an innovative venue that strives to showcase artistic talents in all forms.
Harding created this project to celebrate the naked body and its differences in all natural form.
Pic: Mimmi Harding
The aim of this unconventional project is to fight body stereotypes by showcasing human form under the same light that people view plants and nature- diverse, complex and appreciated for their variety in all sizes, shapes and colours. It blends both body positivity and love for nature, using plant motives and natural colouring on a naked human body.
Models, who are painted with botanical body art, also pose with a variety of fresh plants to enhance the natural theme.
Pic: Mimmi Harding
Harding explained: “All I’m basically trying to do is take away positive and negative connotations from words that describe the body and show bodies to be form and amazing in their own right.”
“Perky boobs, squishy bellies, short legs, spikey leaves, small petals, long stalks should all just be words to describe form and aesthetic rather than something people judge each other on and want to change,” she added.
Pic: Mimmi Harding
Harding, who lives in Hackney, is a Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts graduate. Originally from Yarm, in north-east England, Harding moved to London in pursuit of creative opportunities and its vibrant lifestyle.
She specialises in painting, figurative illustration, and intricate pattern design and dance choreography.
The idea for this project came from her “interest in making art with the human body since dancing and enjoying movement from a young age”. She said she first started to life model herself and added: “It’s helped me with my body confidence quite a lot as you can’t hide any body parts to look any different than how they are when modelling. It’s made me feel a lot more comfortable with my natural form and a lot more aware and appreciative of how different everyone’s bodies are.”
“I guess if we put it simply, the project basically says we are all like big plants and we should value our differences and variety of body shapes the same way we can value the mass variety of plants there are.” Harding summarised.
The project is currently focused on female body forms. It is in early stages and therefore her work is not exhibited anywhere yet apart from her portfolio and Instagram.
Artist Jennifer Drew in her studio. Pic: Lisa-Marie Krey
If you enter the East London studio of speciality make-up artist Jennifer Drew its best to be prepared for the sight of a few ripped-off arms laying around or a devilishly grimacing Frankenstein. These are just a few of her specialities.
Drew runs her own company MaXimalFX based at Bow Road Studios, the community of artists’ studios run by Bow Arts Trust.
As well as making props, designing wigs and hair-dressing, she is most-known for special make-up effects, which include the making of prosthetic appliances and full character transformations for horror and fantasy productions. She works for advertising, film, television and fashion companies.
Drew shares her studio with the Beast. Pic: Lisa-Marie Krey
She is currently working on a creature for a short film. Pic: Jennifer Drew
Most of her work takes place in her studio but she also creates effects on set or applies make-up backstage in theatres. “If it’s for TV or film you get a script, break it down and work out which make-up is required for the different characters. However, if it’s a smaller budget film then you end up making props as well.”
Drew takes her inspiration from the world around her. As she writes on her blog: “The most inspiring thing of all is after soaking up all this information around us I go to sleep at night and dream the most beautifully sculpted, crazy, insane, horrific, interesting, emotional and wonderful dreams. I wake up and it’s all forgotten… but somehow my mind holds it somewhere deep inside and that’s the start of my inspiration.”
Realistic body parts are mainly made for film and TV productions. Pic: Lisa-Marie Krey
While she has just finished a project for a Netflix Original film, she finds satisfaction from smaller budget productions. “I like to do a character from start to finish, but most of the larger studios mainly make everything and then send it off to being made by different departments, whereas I like to make it by myself and then go and apply as well.”
Sculpting belongs to Drew’s portfolio. Pic: MaXimalFX
Originally from Wales, she started as a hairdresser and a beauty therapist: “Make-up was something I’ve always been interested in, but I ended up developing it into this.”
She studied at London College of Fashion but gained her skills mostly through the practical work and experimentation: “There are so many different materials and chemicals. It takes time to build up your knowledge on them. It took 7 years to actually understand the chemistry behind. You need a little bit of maths for all your measurements, chemistry for the materials and obviously art and design as well.”
Dragon skin silicone (upper shelf right) is one of Drew’s everyday work materials. Pic: Lisa-Marie Krey
The time she needs for her creations depends a lot on the project itself. “Once I was asked to create five oaks and they gave me five days plus one assistant helping me (…) This was the fastest job I’ve ever done.”
The Women’s Hall official poster Pic: Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
The almost forgotten story of a breakaway group of suffragettes who left the movement to campaign specifically for the rights of working women in the East End of London is told in a new exhibition on Tower Hamlets.
The East London Federation of Suffragettes was created in January 1914 after Sylvia Pankhurst split from the Womans Social and Political Union led by her mother Emmeline Pankhust and sister Christabel. Her aim was to create an independent, democratic organization with focus on the rights of working women in East London.
The ELFS opened their own women’s social centres such as the since demolished Women’s Hall, in Old Ford Road in Bow, produced a newspaper ‘The Woman’s Dreadnought’, held huge public meetings and also recruited ‘People’s Army’ supporters to defend them from public brutality.
When the First World War broke out in August 1914, factories across East London closed which resulted in food prices spiralling. The suffragettes helped to support those most affected by organising the distribution of milk for starving infants and opening a volunteer-run children’s health clinic, a nursery school and a series of canteens serving nutritious food at “cost price”. They even opened their own cooperative toy factory, which paid a living wage and included a crèche.
Visitors to the exhibition can see the handwritten diary of suffragette Gertrude Setchfield and see a rare ‘Ealontoys’ teddy bear made in the toy factory they established off Roman Road.
‘Ealontoys’ teddy bear made in the toy factory Pic: Sarah Jackson
Pay-what-you-can restaurant Pic: Sarah Jackson
The ELFS’s ‘Cost Price’ restaurant has been recreated to provide refreshments for visitors on a ‘pay-what-you-can’ basis.
Speaker of the Council, Councillor Sabina Akhtar said she hoped the new exhibition will “resource and inspire present and future generations to continue to campaign for equality for all”.
She added: “The East London Federation of Suffragettes used Tower Hamlets as a base, campaigning for the rights of working women in the East End and improved conditions for the poor. Since then, numerous other women have played equally vital roles in shaping the future of our community. That’s why we are extremely delighted to bring this amazing part of our history to life.”
John Biggs, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “We are proud of our rich history of campaigning for the rights of women and the less privileged. Especially in the year that marks the centenary of women’s right to vote in the UK, I am pleased that this new exhibition and accompanying public programme illustrates how important it is to continue the legacy of the East London Federation of Suffragettes.”
Women’s Hall exhibition Pic: Sarah Jackson
Sarah Jackson, co-founder of the East End Women’s Museum, expressed her gratitude and “privilege to help produce The Women’s Hall exhibition”.
She added: “The ELFS were an incredible organisation that played a major role in winning the vote for women and in supporting their community in the East End during the First World War.”
The exhibition is open to the public every Tuesday 10am-5pm, Wednesday 9am-5pm, Thursday 9am-8pm and Saturday 9am-5pm until October 20, 2018.
The story of Dave Cherlyn, from Hackney, is one of the most divisive of the conscientious objectors. Called for service at the age of 19, his family devised a web of lies about their well-being and status, to delay his conscription. While many have sided with Dave’s story, others have stood their ground against the biased approach to conscription.
The timeline below demonstrates the events that led up to Dave’s conscription and how his cover was blown:
Five men have been arrested in the Lewisham area on suspicion of involvement in immigration offences and drug dealing.
Police executed two warrents on Tuesday that were aimed to disrupt an organised crime network that was operating within the borough after intelligence was received that illegal gambling and drugs supply were taking place at the addresses.
All five men were arrested at the same property. Two of the men were arrested for suspected illegal entry to the UK and one for suspected illegal entry into the UK and possession of a class A drug.
There was also one arrest for possession of a class A drug with intent to supply and one arrest for possession of what were believed to be counterfeit identification documents.
A large amount of cash was seized, along with the counterfeit documents and class A and B drugs.
Pic: Met Police
No details were given about the second warrant.
Lewisham Police said they had been working alongside several other organisations when executing the warrants, including The Gambling Commission and the United Kingdom Border Agency.
Charles John Cobb. Pic: Canning and Clyde Road Residents’ Association
Charles John Cobb was perhaps one of the most famous conscientious objectors of the First World War. Resolute in his belief against harming other men, he was imprisoned on multiple occasions. He had famously quoted, “I fear God, not man.”, upon interrogation by officers. Although his staunch attitude was a serious cause of worry for the military, it moved the public and drew widespread admiration.
The timeline is a snippet into the life of this courageous man and his unswerving perseverance in the face of appalling treatment at the prison:
The introduction of conscription, 18 months into the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, gave rise to an unprecedented problem for the British government – the Conscientious Objectors. Labelled as “conchies”, the men came from all backgrounds. Sometimes, their reasons for asking to be excluded from military service were tenuous excuses, but most were driven by their unswerving conscience.
Although conscription was quite common, the British military had been able to fight the war without it until March 1916. Despite an active voluntary recruitment programme, conscription was eventually deemed a requirement for military victory. To some, this method of raising troops was inconsistent with their national character and liberties. Eventually, the Cabinet authorised a “clean cut”, whereby physically fit men between eighteen and forty years of age, irrespective of occupation, were made available for the forces.
However, it was not only civilians who were coming forward with their moral, religious and political objections. The practice became increasingly common even among men serving in the army, who had witnessed first-hand the devastation caused by war. The task of classifying these individuals caused much distress.
A poster of the Military Service Act introduced in 1916. Pic: Wikimedia Commons
Conscription poster issued by the government for WW1. Pic: Wikipedia
Cartoon propaganda postcard from WW1. Pic: Private Collection /Look and Learn / Elgar Collection / Bridgeman Images
Propaganda poster issued against the "Conchies". Pic: Mirrorpix/UIG
Objectors, Alfred Cracknell & Evan Watkins, being escorted from a police station. Pic: Mirrorpix/UIG
The Conscientious Objectors Stone in Tavistock Square, London. Pic: Geograph
Click on the arrow at the right hand side of the image above to scroll through our slideshow.
In the First World War, there were about 20,000 conscientious objectors. Some of them regarded themselves as “Absolutists”, refusing to cause harm to any other man. They were typically associated with religious stances, such as the members of the Christian church or Quakers (formerly known as the Religious Society of Friends) and were strictly against the idea of partaking in any activities supporting the war. Others were termed as “Alternatists”, and had agreed to serve in non-combatant posts. Tribunals, comprising of local figures and military representatives, were hastily set up to deal with the fate of these men.
It was in the four boroughs of Lewisham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Croydon, that many conscientious objectors would face these tribunals. The Croydon tribunal held its first sitting on February 29, 1916. In the three years of war, they had dealt with 10,445 cases and granted merely 2,901 exemptions. Additionally, Croydon also had in place a second tribunal known as the Coulsdon and Purley tribunal. The borough of Lewisham had two separate tribunals catering to objectors from Catford and Deptford, as they were separate boroughs at the time. Most records were destroyed after the war; however, the council has been able to retrieve information about 113 individual cases from the borough. Around 350 conscientious objectors are known to have lived in the London Borough of Hackney.
Being a conscientious objector brought with it many hardships and avoiding the war did not come with an easy lifestyle. Some might even argue that it required more courage to stand up against public opinion, due to the unpopularity and persecution that followed. The objectors were regularly subjected to severe forms of intimidation – backbreaking physical labour, exposure to harsh weather conditions, solitary confinement and mistreatment from prison guards – in an effort to unnerve their staunch principles. Even the media’s attitude towards the men was rather hostile; however, they did become more concerned with the treatment meted out to the prisoners during the later years.
According to the No Conscription Fellowship, 6312 men were arrested for resisting service. More than 800 men served jail sentences beyond two years. 73 men died after their arrest.
Colossal personal pressures were inflicted on the men, not just by the state, but also by communities, friends, and even families. There were numerous instances where communities were shred apart, and men were shunned by their families who could not be reconciled with even after the war. The obsession with equal sacrifice led to the stigma of having been a “conchie” materialise in the form of bars to promotion, even to employment itself, and all conscientious objectors were open to discrimination if their absence of war records became public. Furthermore, they were also disqualified from voting in national and local elections for five years after the end of the war. It was not surprising that some even preferred to leave the country and start afresh.
Illustrated here are two particularly interesting stories of conscientious objectors from the ELL boroughs- Charles John Cobb, a 38-year-old ‘Absolutist’ from Croydon, and 18-year old Dave Cherlyn from Hackney for whom things took a rather surprising turn for the worse.