Camden lock into the Regent’s Canal

Camden Lunch Club’s first outing of the year saw a small group of us meeting up at the Ragged School Museum in Mile End Park and joining Molly Gadenz from the Lower Regents Coalition to help her team of volunteers plant hardy shrubs, grasses and herbs along the offside towpath alongside the lock nearby. 

After having weeks of stormy and rainy weather, we couldn’t have asked for a sunnier and warmer day. We were greeted with tea and biscuits, kitted out with the most fetching steel-capped wellies, gloves and hi-viz vests and then helped to take the plants and equipment needed for the planting. The whole morning was spent taking it in turns to dig into the concrete based soil, teasing the plant roots, planting them to Molly’s instructions and watering them. James Cagney, David Powell and David Bolton each had the hard task of trying to make holes in the ground. Each did it with smiling faces and the very occasional jokes, while Steph teased and coaxed the grasses into their new homes. Other volunteers had come from nearby and also from a tour of duty from America. Everyone had the same purpose, to make the community a better place to be in. 

Everyone worked together happily. In fact, we all worked so well that there were no plants left for the afternoon so, after the lovely lunch provided, Molly gave us a guided tour of the canal and a brief lesson in its history. 

The canal is over 200 years old and was the main transport link from the cargo ships docked on Isle of Dogs. Horses and mules were used to pull the barges along the canals and into London.

The Ragged School building, opened in 1877, is the only one of its kind left standing from when Dr Barnardo set up a handful of schools for the poor families living in East London. At that time, schooling was only for those rich enough to be able to pay to go. Dr Barnardo’s vision was that all children had a right to education and, therefore, the schools were free. This school housed more than 1,000 pupils and provided food for its children. When elementary schooling became free to boarding and voluntary (church) schools in 1891, the Ragged Schools soon became not needed and were either turned into factories or knocked down. This school remains because local residents campaigned and fought to keep it as it was. 

Thanks to Molly for an interesting, fun and worthwhile day of satisfying work and of meeting such a lovely group of people.

If you are interested in our lunch clubs please visit our lunch club page here.

Our Lunch Clubs are a social club for Deaf people aged over 55. Old deaf people often find themselves isolated and secluded from society. Our lunch club brings them together and promotes physical and mental wellbeing. We have two weekly lunch clubs operating in South London, in Beckenham and Eltham one in Camden, and one in Richmond. The lunch clubs also offer a free advocacy service to support attendees with their personal administration, such as making phone calls and writing letters.

Camden Lunch Club:

When: Every Friday
Time: 10am – 3pm
Cost: £3 including lunch and Tea/Coffee

Where: The Lounge at Remark! Community
18 Leather Lane

If you have any questions about our lunch clubs, please contact: [email protected]