I took this photo nine days ago and wasn't sure whether to publish it or not. Some locals might recognise her even from this discreet view as one of the three or four people frequently encountered in the neighbourhood, asking for change.
One August morning in 1984, my first child was born in a maternity hospital on Lower Clapton Road which stood on the site of what is now called Mothers' Square. The Mothers' Hospital was opened by the Salvation Army in 1913, replacing the Ivy House Maternity Hospital on Mare Street and serving the same purpose, that being to cater for unmarried pregnant women and girls whom most other hospitals spurned.
The Danish architect Jan Gehl has been a trailblazer for the type of urban street design that puts pedestrians, cyclists and public transport before private motorists, benefiting the environment, businesses and human beings alike. A film about his work called The Human Scale is to be shown at the Hackney Empire on 23 January next year. Here's the official trailer.
The screening has been organised by Hackney councillor Vincent Stops, an admirer of Gehl and also a policy officer of the transport watchdog London Travelwatch. Hackney's high level of cycling provision has been informed by Gehl's principles, as is the trial pedestrianisation of the Narrow Way. Tickets for The Human Scale are available from the Empire box office now.
"Over the next few days, thousands of athletes and spectators will fly out to Beijing for what is arguably the world's greatest sporting event - the Olympics. Among the exodus is Dr Laurence Gant. But unlike his fellow travellers, Dr Gant will not witness any great sporting feats. In fact, he has not got a ticket for a single event during his five-night stay in the Chinese capital. Instead he will be spending his time visiting hospitals and clinics, in a fact-finding mission for the 2012 games."
That's because he's a big cheese at the Homerton. Now read on.
"DayMer have launched a new youth project with the support of Hackney Drug & Alcohol Action Team in order to provide support to Turkish, Cypriot and Kurdish youth in the face of growing concerns in relation to youth, crime and drugs."
"Black British women in Hackney, East London, are diagnosed with breast cancer 21 years younger than white British women, according to a Cancer Research UK study published online in the British Journal of Cancer. In the first UK study to look at the patterns of breast cancer in black British women, the researchers studied 102 black women and 191 white women diagnosed with breast cancer at Homerton University Hospital in Hackney, East London, between 1994 and 2005. They found the black patients were diagnosed with breast cancer at an average age of 46 while the white patients were diagnosed at an average age of 67."
"Orhan Kaya and Can Onel were the first to kill themselves. The two friends, aged 24 and 19, hanged themselves at the same spot in the same church graveyard in Hackney, within weeks of each other in the summer. Since then, seven more have followed suit. The latest is Murat Yaldir, 23, found hanged last week by the owner of the takeaway he worked for. Almost all the suicides have taken place in the heart of Britain’s Turkish community in North and East London. The grim statistics show that Turkish and Kurdish men are now the ethnic groups most vulnerable to suicide in this country. Taking into account the recent cluster of suicides, they are about seven times more likely to commit suicide than South Asians, the next most susceptible group. The present suicide rate among Turkish men is double the national average."