2019 - 2021

Writing and Reading Newham

Writing and Reading Newham recorded an oral history of Newham Bookshop and collected stories of reading and writing in Newham.

Newham Bookshop began as part of the dynamic community organisation Newham Parent’s Centre in 1978, with the aim of giving local families access to books and educational materials. In 2021 the bookshop is a place all can come to browse, discuss and buy books, having survived the many challenges faced by independent bookshops since the Net Book Agreement of the 1990s through strong community support and innovative bookselling techniques.

In 2020 On the Record worked with Otherwise Education to produce learning resources for Year 5 and 6 classes around the themes of reading and writing for pleasure. Written by Jonny Walker from OtherWise Education, a former Newham primary school teacher, these multimedia resources introduce children to Newham Bookshop, writers and readers based in Newham and the wider culture of literacy in Newham, over four specially planned lessons. The resources are freely available on Newham Bookshop's website.

On the Record published A Bookshop for All: Conversations with Newham's Readers and Writers in 2022.

Kindly supported by Gilda Street Trust in the memory of the historian and author, Gilda O’Neill. 

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"I say to children that, when you’re reading, think of yourself as a soldier going out to war.  If you went to war, and you hadn’t been trained, and you hadn’t been given the armour, how are you going to cope?  Reading is the ultimate armour against anything in life." - Karima Turay-Davies