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Shakespeare’s Mulberry To The Rescue!

October 18, 2020
by the gentle author


Click to look inside Shakespeare’s Mulberry as cultivated by David Garrick


Many readers will remember the unhappy day in September 2018 when Tower Hamlets Council voted to approve Crest Nicholson’s appalling London Chest Hospital redevelopment which damages the listed building and entails digging up the historic BETHNAL GREEN MULBERRY.

After two years of bureaucratic rigmarole, that permission has now been formally granted which means we can challenge it in the High Court. Already, we have employed top Environmental Lawyer Susan Ring of Harrison Grant Solicitors who has established there are grounds for Judicial Review and we must raise £10,000 to proceed before November 20th or the ancient Bethnal Green Mulberry will be dug up.

We are doing this with the help of WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S MULBERRY. In 1610, the poet planted a Mulberry tree in his garden in Stratford upon Avon. Unfortunately so many tourists came seeking branches as souvenirs that the owners cut it down in 1770. But the great Shakespearian actor David Garrick rescued a cutting which flourishes to this day.

We are offering a cutting of David Garrick’s tree to everyone who contributes £100 or more to our legal fund. This is a once in a lifetime chance to acquire a scion of Shakespeare’s Mulberry and enjoy a living connection to the world’s greatest writer.

Click on the link below to contribute and then send an email to the East End Preservation Society ( You will receive your rooted cutting next year and together we will Save The Bethnal Green Mulberry.




We are delighted to welcome Dame Judi Dench as patron of our campaign

William Hogarth’s painting of Huguenot David Garrick who began the Shakespeare revival by playing Richard III at Goodman Fields Theatre in Aldgate in 1741

My Staffordshire figure of William Shakespeare flanked by Sarah Siddons as Lady Macbeth and her brother John Phillip Kemble as Hamlet

Our logo by Paul Bommer


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

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

Read more here about the Bethnal Green Mulberry

The Fate of the Bethnal Green Mulberry

The Bethnal Green Mulberry

A Letter to Crest Nicholson

A Reply From Crest Nicholson

The Reckoning With Crest Nicholson



6 Responses leave one →
  1. Jill Wilson permalink
    October 18, 2020

    I will pass this on to all my theatrical friends and colleagues who I hope will be able to contribute to the campaign.

    I also hope lots of people who haven’t got their own garden or who live abroad will nevertheless buy a cutting which could then be planted somewhere appropriate in the East End such as Victoria Park. Wouldn’t it be great to have a grove of mulberries planted there to support their venerable friend in the nearby Chest Hospital grounds?

    As a designer myself I can’t understand why Crest Nicholson haven’t made a central feature of the ancient mulberry tree and left it in situ, and in peace. It seems a tragic irony that the tree survived the Nazi bombing only to be under greater (and unnecessary) threat for it’s life now from a British company.

    Hopefully there is still time for them to do some imaginative tweaking to their design to allow the beloved tree to survive and thrive for another few hundred years…

  2. Rachel Blaylock permalink
    October 18, 2020

    Will be sharing far and wide! What a great idea to fund the legal fees!
    A quick glance at Crest Nicholson’s twitter account, looking at the ‘tweets and replies’, reveals bad customer service and their customers getting together to bring a class action against them. The company doesn’t seem to have a good track record.
    Thanks you to those battling to save this historic tree.

  3. paul loften permalink
    October 18, 2020

    I went to school nearby the Mulberry . I also had a temporary job working at the Chest Hospital in the early 70’s . I would often sit on a bench close to and facing the old Mulberry and eat my lunchtime sandwiches . I know it has been through a lot in its long life so I have pledged a small donation in the hope that it will survive and continue.

  4. Robin permalink
    October 18, 2020

    Excellent idea, Jill Wilson: donate to save the Bethnal Green Mulberry, and donate a Shakespeare mulberry cutting to Victoria Park or another East End location.

    Let’s multiply the mulberry trees!

  5. Joan Byrne permalink
    October 18, 2020

    To destroy a mulberry tree is criminal

  6. October 20, 2020

    Fascinating story, and I am rooting (no pun intentional – sort of) for your fabulous Mulberry tree to survive demolition. In my native Texas, we have several famous ancient trees. My favorite is the Muster Oak tree in LaGrange, TX, still alive on the courthouse square.

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