Queen’s and Stratford Markets are one of the most vibrant and diverse places in Newham in terms of history and stories; both have witnessed the rapid development of the areas. Our project, ‘Creative Shopping at Newham Markets’ celebrated both people and places, and the narratives that have shaped the history of Newham.
“I really enjoyed having the opportunity to explore my heritage and how I am connecting with it in creating ways. Being together while apart was also a huge highlight.”
The project began in March, when we hosted four online sessions exploring archives, history and heritage with a range of speakers from Newham Archives, University of East London and the British Library. From these exchanges a number of people shared their interest in joining our creating shopping experience in person.
“I really love the digital exploration of manuscripts from the British Library and the historical journey of the Queen’s Market through different periods in time” Agne, particiapant
We had twenty-five people taking part in our Creative Shopping experiences. Everyone taking part received a voucher to spend at our local markets. This provided participants not only an opportunity to buy things but, more importantly, it gave people the chance to build relationships with market traders and neighbours. The project engaged an audience in a fun, creative ‘shopping’ experience that led them to learn more about our local markets.
“I really enjoyed talking with lovely traders at Queen’s Market, they inspired my poems. Also, it was great to Know more about my local market. After living almost all my life in Newham, I didn’t know about the market trader’s song….it was fun to know about “£1 Fish man”. I enjoyed meeting new people and learning about online session. I am 81 and I felt welcomed and people was very patience.” Olga, participant
Creative writing sessions were facilitated by Jayeola Hassan, a Nigerian East London based poet, which led to the group developing a series of poems inspired by the shopping experiences.
Below is one of the poems written by Olga who has been a resident of Newham for many years.
Stratford Market – By Olga Sokiosky
I sat at the Chinese stall…food was delicious.
Then, I remembered it used to be a busy place.
I bought my umbrella, my mum’s bag and my colourful jewelry here.
All stalls are gone now.
Mr. Rashan told us his dad used to sale clothes and pajamas.
His eyes have seen so many things during these years; teens fighting, West Ham fans celebrations, Christmas lights on, church bells ringing, homeless crisis, skaters, BMXers, dancers and bored locals taking root.
Mr. Rashan is positive and he told me, whispering in my ears; ‘I have seen the sun gone down many times but there is always a new sunrise, good times will come back again’
If you have enjoyed reading this poem – see the other fantastic work in the publication produced by Newham Poetry Group
Feeling inspired to do some creative writing and listen to poets perform their work from the Creative Shopping Experience, then come along to a special free event on May 21 at Stratford Park. Find out more here
Everyone who attends will receive a free copy of the publication featuring all the poems created as part of the project