Skip to content

Bethnal Green Mulberry Lecture

May 18, 2019
by the gentle author

This week designer Jill Wilson installed her wonderful model of the Bethnal Green Mulberry in the window of Townhouse, Fournier St, for the Chelsea Flower Show Festival Fringe, promoting our campaign to stop developers digging up the oldest tree in the East End. We believe the Bethnal Green Mulberry is over four hundred years old – planted by Bishop Bonner, a Tudor Bishop of London, in the sixteenth century.

Next Wednesday 22nd May at 6:30pm, I shall be giving a lecture at Townhouse telling the story of the Bethnal Green Mulberry, its culture, history and the battle to save it. (Click here for free tickets)

I am delighted to report that our solicitor has confirmed we have grounds to call a Judicial Review at the High Court, challenging Tower Hamlets Council’s decision last September to give their consent to Crest Nicholson’s overblown housing scheme for the former London Chest Hospital next to Victoria Park, which involves digging up the Bethnal Green Mulberry.

This decision was taken in spite of the Tree Protection Order, the Mulberry’s designation as a Veteran Tree and the additional protection extended to such trees in the government’s revised planning policy guidelines last July.

We are very grateful to all of you who contributed £6,118 that we have raised so far for our legal fund to save the Bethnal Green Mulberry. At this moment, we need to find another £1,077 to pay a barrister who will take the case to the High Court and we ask your help to raise this sum.


Jill Wilson installs her magnificent creation

Photographs copyright © Sarah Ainslie

Graphic by Paul Bommer


Click here to read my feature in The Daily Telegraph about the scandal of the Bethnal Green Mulberry

Click here to read my feature in The Evening Standard about the scandal of the Bethnal Green Mulberry

Read more about the Bethnal Green Mulberry

Hope for The Bethnal Green Mulberry

The Fate of the Bethnal Green Mulberry

How Old is the Bethnal Green Mulberry?

Here We Go Round The Bethnal Green Mulberry

A Plea For The Bethnal Green Mulberry

The Bethnal Green Mulberry

A Letter to Crest Nicholson

A Reply From Crest Nicholson

The Reckoning With Crest Nicholson

9 Responses leave one →
  1. Saba permalink
    May 18, 2019

    Quite a beautiful model. Are the leaves and berries stained glass? I am trying to figure this out.

  2. May 18, 2019

    Good luck with the campaign. Jill Wilson’s tree is magnificent. Valerie

  3. mlaiuppa permalink
    May 18, 2019

    I’m delighted the efforts to dig up the Mulberry have been foiled and that this is going to the high court. No chance of the court being rigged or influenced by the developers. With all of the protections the tree has, I have no doubt the court will find the Town Council in violation. But be diligent in following up. If the decision goes against the developers the tree may still have an “accident” during construction that will destroy it or lead them to get permission to destroy it. Developers are aggressive in getting their own way. They’d rather destroy that tree and pay a fine if they can get away with it. So you will still need to be vigilant even if you win.

    That sculpture is amazing. It’s beautiful in the window but it’s true beauty can only be appreciated from inside, with the light shining through. From the outside it looks like a totally metal sculpture. Inside you realize the leaves and fruit are glass or fabric or something that allows the light to shine through.

  4. Jill Wilson permalink
    May 18, 2019

    Delighted to do my bit to help with the campaign!

    Good luck with raising the extra money…

  5. May 18, 2019

    The violation of the London Chest Hospital building and the intended destruction of that beautiful tree upsets me greatly. Jill Wilson’s model is a delightful, touching tribute. I will gladly donate again but if we don’t reach the target… there a Barrister amongst your readers dear GA who will take on this case for a slightly lesser fee?

  6. Lesley permalink
    May 18, 2019

    Well done. X

  7. Jill Wilson permalink
    May 18, 2019

    For anyone interested (Saba and mlaiuppa above!) the leaves are actually made of silk fabrics and gold braids sewn onto apple green lightweight exhibition carpet. The fact that they appear translucent from inside the shop was an additional and unexpected bonus…or should I say just as I had planned!

  8. mlaiuppa permalink
    May 19, 2019

    Well, Jill, it is absolutely beautiful. You are a true artist.

  9. Edith permalink
    May 22, 2019

    Congratulations, Jill, on your installation; c’est vraiment magnifique!

Leave a Reply

Note: Comments may be edited. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS