The East London Garden Society

The Voice ‐ September 2019

Comment by Geoff


Yes, I am the The Lorax who speaks for the trees, which you (Tower Hamlets) seem to be chopping as fast as you please.

See Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree

Millwall Park Viaduct

Millwall Park Viaduct

Looking very forlorn in Millwall Park is the Millwall Park Viaduct which is situated in Tower Hamlets. The question is what to do with the viaduct and how to make it work for the locals and others.

One scheme which has been put forward is to have twenty allotments on the viaduct, but it does not lend itself to allotments. Another is to have planters on it, but this would require remedial work to meet health and safety requirements for their upkeep.

Another idea which has been put forward is to create a Bee School to give Londoners the opportunity to learn about bees in a more practical way, but critics have stated there would not be enough flora for the bees to pollinate. However, if a meadow was installed across the viaduct there would be.

What is your view? Would you like a walk across the viaduct and learn about bees?
Let us have your Comment. Back to top

Become a Member

It is important that we all become aware of the challenges being placed on the environment worldwide. The East London Garden Society is striving to make the environment in East London to be foremost in people’s minds. As you can see in this newsletter, we are campaigning to make use of the derelict Millwall Park Viaduct and save the Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree which is at least 400 years old and under threat. Other campaigns include the The Great Eastern Parks Route.

We need to drive home to those who can make change, our determination to improve the environment for all of us in this part of London. To do this, Geoffrey Juden, Chairman of The East London Garden Society urges you to join us and become a member to show those in power that we have a group of people in East London who want change.

To have your say and take part in creating a more acceptable place for all of us, please JOIN The East London Garden Society now. The subscription is £15 per year.

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Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree

Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree

The oldest tree in London, The Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree, is soon to be no more. Tower Hamlets Council plan to allow a private development on the site of the Old Bethnal Green Chest Hospital and have decided that this 400+ year‐old tree has to go since nothing must impede the development.

The Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree is classified as a veteran tree in a conservation area. Currently the law states that a veteran tree cannot be disturbed except in wholly exceptional circumstances.

Tower Hamlets have said they will move the veteran tree elsewhere, although its new site is not yet known. However, there is no guarantee that such an old tree would survive and even the council will not be able to offer one.

In addition, another one‐hundred mature trees are to be felled to allow this development and the Council have not yet provided any details on their replacement. Losing a tree is a loss but losing the oldest tree in London is a loss of great magnitude and losing a copse or wood in urban London is a catastrophe. Let us have your Comment. Back to top

Rubia Cordifolia

Rubia Cordifolia

Prior to the production of synthetic and chemical-based dyes, people relied on plants to give fabrics their vibrant colours. One of the plants being grown for this purpose was Rubia Cordifolia and is used in Indian Ayurvedic practice and traditional Chinese medicine.

A perennial climbing plant that can grow up to twelve metres long, Rubia Cordifolia is native to parts of Asia, Europe and Africa, and belongs to the coffee plant family Rubiaceae. Read more Back to top

Cooking in a Different Way ‐ Elderberry Wine

The recipe is easily adapted by altering the sugar content to make a dry, medium dry or medium sweet wine.


  • 2½ lb elderberries
  • Campden tablets
  • Sugar ‐ 2½ lb (dry wine), 2¾ lb (medium dry) or 3 lb (medium sweet)
  • Wine yeast
  • Yeast Nutrient
  • Water


  1. Strip the elderberries from the stalks and wash well. If you immerse the berries in cold water for a few minutes, any hidden insects will float off.
  2. Put into a fermenting bin and crush. A traditional potato masher is ideal for this.
  3. Pour on 4 pints of water.
  4. Add 1 Campden tablet, crushed and dissolved in a little warm water to kill off any wild yeasts.
  5. Boil half of the sugar in 2 pints of water for two or three minutes and when cool, mix into the pulp.
  6. Add the yeast and nutrient. Cover and allow fermentation for five days, stirring daily.
  7. Strain, press and return the liquor to a clean fermenting bin.
  8. Boil the remainder of the sugar in 1 pint of water for two or three minutes. Allow to cool and add to the liquor.
  9. Cover again and leave for three or four days.
  10. Pour carefully or syphon into a gallon jar, leaving as much deposit behind as possible.
  11. Fill up the jar with cooled boiled water to where the neck begins.
  12. Fit a fermentation lock and leave until fermentation has finished.
  13. Rack, as necessary, and add 1 Campden tablet after the first racking to stop fermentation.
  14. Syphon into bottles.

This recipe produces 1 gallon of rich red wine that should be stored before drinking for at least six months after bottling. Back to top



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