05 Family History May 2017
On Friday 12th May, 40 of us set off to London to meet Sarah, our City and Village guide, outside Liverpool Street station. After coffee we crossed the road and immediately found ourselves leaving ‘The Square Mile’ of the City and entering Spitalfields in the East End. Though the area is now becoming ‘gentrified’ it is an area settled successfully by the Huguenots, [or as one of our U3A speakers said ‘the Huggy Nots!’] the Jews, the Bengali and Bangladeshi communities. Brick Lane was famous for its curry houses, but now regulations are making it difficult for them to bring in experienced staff, so many are artisan shops – many being makers of chocolate. After this interesting walk [during which we saw either ‘Gilbert or George’ [wearing a wonderful green tweed suit!], we met up with Ray and the coach [he was always in the right place at the right time!] and then journeyed through London to the side of St. Martin’s in the Field, with Sarah giving us a commentary about the communities who lived there. Some went with Sarah to China Town, but most of us found lunch round the Trafalgar Square area and several us popped into the Portrait Gallery. After lunch, and back on the coach, we headed for Neasden, and the first traditional Hindu Mandir [temple] built in Europe. We turned the corner from a very ordinary road where mums were collecting their children from school, to find this wonderful marble temple. It really is breath-taking, both inside and out. The marble blocks were carved by craftsmen in India and brought to Neasden where the assembly was done by more than 1000 volunteers. The people there were very welcoming – we had a short film to show us how the temple came into being and then were free to wander, wonder and marvel.