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The Bethnal Green Mulberry Saga

February 8, 2020
by the gentle author


Readers may wonder what has become of the Bethnal Green Mulberry and what the future holds for the oldest tree in the East End.

When I was first taken to see the Bethnal Green Mulberry five years ago, I had no idea what part it would play in my life or the long fight that would ensure to prevent it being dug up. I had no idea that it would lead to me becoming a ‘Mulberry Martyr’ when I fell out of an ancient Mulberry and broke my wrist last summer while picking Mulberries for the campaign.

Next Saturday afternoon, 15th February at 2:30pm, I shall be giving a lecture on the subject of the Bethnal Green Mulberry, recounting the history of Mulberries in London, the tale of the most venerable East End specimen, the story of the fight to save it, and the next steps to ensure its survival.

The lecture is organised by the Friends of the Geffrye Museum at St Peter de Beauvoir Church, Northchurch Terrace, N1 4DA.

Tea and scones will be served.



The Bethnal Green Mulberry (Photograph by Bob Philpots)

The Haggerston Mulberry

The Dalston Mulberry

The Whitechapel Mulberry

The Mile End Mulberry

The Stoke Newington Mulberry

The Spitalfields Mulberry

The Tower of London Mulberry

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 here about 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

The Haggerston Mulberry

The Dalston Mulberry

The Whitechapel Mulberry

The Mile End Mulberry

The Stoke Newington Mulberry

The Spitalfields Mulberry

The Oldest Mulberry in Britain

Three Ancient Mulberry Trees

A Brief History of London Mulberries

6 Responses leave one →
  1. Jill Wilson permalink
    February 8, 2020

    I’ll be there – hopefully with my mulberry tree…

  2. February 8, 2020

    Never forgetting the mulberries in Fountain Court, Inner Temple. An oasis of calm for a quiet coffee (except at lunchtime and rush hours).
    Then there’s Wilkins Mulberry Jelly, rich and unctuous!

  3. paul loften permalink
    February 8, 2020

    I am an old friend of this Mulberry tree. I went to Parmiter’s school over the road in the ’60s and a few times sat in front of it on a bench the large grounds of the Chest Hospital eating a sandwich sometimes with friends just fooling around I am not even sure if we were supposed to be there but you can’t stop boys exploring any open space in their free time Later In the ’70s, I traveled abroad for a year and I took a stopgap temporary job for a few months so as to build up some funds for my travels. It so happened the job that the agency sent me was in the records department of the Chest Hospital. It was in the dusty depths of the basement where they kept the old Xrays and files of past patients of the hospital. It was my job to find the files and Xrays hidden amongst the vast archive and bring them to the department that requested them. I worked with a team of four lovely older ladies that doted on me, then a young lad, down there in the basement. Once again I sat on the bench in front of this old tree eating sandwich in my lunchtime.
    This hospital has been closed for many years. However I am a living witness as to how many lives in London this hospital has saved when TB was a scourge and took so many. I am also a witness to how this mulberry tree stood there for so long and accompanied the patients who sat there so ill in the grounds and offered its comfort to the very ill and dying. The mulberry’s own suffering which was clear to see must have been an inspiration to many of the patients and helped them get through their illness. “If this tree can do it I can” would have been the thought that went through their minds.
    This is how we treat a hospital that saved so many lives and had such a big part in London’s history. This is how we treat a tree that saved so many lives!

  4. Jane kilbey permalink
    February 8, 2020

    My Nan (born 1888) climbed the Bethnal green mulberry tree as a teenager and when newly married she thought she got pregnant as a result of climbing it. Age 100 and 14 pregnancies later she saw the funny side . Best of luck saving this tree.

  5. February 10, 2020

    Sadly I will be in France next weekend. I hope you get plenty of support. Very best wishes, Greg

  6. Carolyn Hooper permalink
    March 16, 2020

    Lovely shots, gentle author.

    If anyone dares to take that tree down, I think Boris himself needs to be made responsible. Sorry…..that’s abit of coronavirus black humour.

    Plus, I believe that Mile End Mulberry (should I say its shape, to me, is like a big gorilla?) should go get anyone who begins to destroy those wonderful pieces of British history. Just as important as any gargoyle or stained window.

    Many thanks from Australia but forebears link to Haggerston, the Little Dorritt church, Blackfriars Road, Marylebone Road and so much more.

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