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Bethnal Green Mulberry Campaign News

April 18, 2021
by the gentle author

Ice Cream Maker Kitty Travers tastes her Mulberry sorbet 


People sometimes say ‘I’d give my right arm…’ when expressing a heartfelt wish. It almost happened to me – quite literally – when I fell out of a Mulberry tree in Bethnal Green and broke my wrist while gathering fruit to make ice cream for our campaign.

I shall never forget the moment I saw my right hand bent back the wrong way like a broken doll. Fortunately two angels delivered me to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel where a metal plate was fitted and now my hand is quite serviceable again, even if I will never quite get all the movement back.

Yet I wear my scar as a badge of honour in our campaign to Save the Bethnal Green Mulberry. To crown it all, Kitty Travers of La Grotta Ices has made sorbet from the Mulberries and we are offering large tubs of this irresistible confection to those who contribute £100 or more to our legal fund. I can personally attest to the deliciousness of it.

After three years of campaigning – and now with the patronage of Judi Dench – we are overjoyed that our case has been granted a Judicial Review with a full public hearing at the High Court on May 5th & 6th, if we can raise £10,000 to pay our Barrister and QC.




We will be represented by top QC Richard Harwood OBE and Andrew Parkinson, Barrister, challenging Tower Hamlets Council’s decision to issue planning permission to Crest Nicholson, which includes partly demolishing the listed Chest Hospital building and digging up the 500 year old Bethnal Green Mulberry. We believe Tower Hamlets acted unlawfully and there are five grounds for Judicial Review.

Anyone who donates £100 or more will receive either a big tub of our homemade Mulberry sorbet made from the fruit of historic London Mulberries picked by yours truly or a cutting of William Shakespeare’s Mulberry.

Planted in Stratford Upon Avon by the poet in 1610, Shakespeare’s Mulberry was cut down in 1770 but David Garrick rescued a cutting which flourishes to this day. Your cutting comes from this tree.

Send an email with your preference to and we will supply your rooted cutting later this year or give you details to collect your Mulberry sorbet from a Central London location. (Both are available only in limited numbers)

We will publish details of how to watch the High Court hearing online in due course



Dame Judi Dench is patron of our campaign to Save the Bethnal Green Mulberry

Mulberries from St Dunstan’s, Stepney

Mulberries from Victoria Park and Fournier St

Mulberries from Spitalfields

Kitty Travers heats the Mulberries in a pan

A pan full of Mulberries

Kitty pours the Mulberries into the blender

Kitty sieves the Mulberries to remove the pips

Kitty decants the mixture into pots

Mulberry sorbet in the making

350ml pots of Mulberry sorbet

Photographs copyright © Patricia Niven

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

A Judicial Review for 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





On Friday 15th April, the High Court also agreed that we could raise – as another ground for Judicial Review – the fact that the Conservation Officer in her report concluded the plans would result in Substantial Harm to the listed buildings but this was not disclosed to the public or the councillors making the decision – on the basis of a claim that she had changed her mind by the time of the planning meeting, thereby defeating the public and councillors’ right to know.

15 Responses leave one →
  1. mlaiuppa permalink
    April 18, 2021

    Congratulations on your successful campaign. I have no doubt that now that you have accomplished the judicial review you will be victorious.

    I wish I could taste that sorbet or plant that cutting but alas, I am in California and too far to come collect it and it would likely violate U.S. customs to send me a cutting.

    That won’t stop me from support, just from enjoyment of anything in return other than the satisfaction of seeing the tree saved. And just a little schadenfreude at Tower Hamlets being taken down a peg or two.

    I was watching something on our local public broadcasting station that told the story of mulberry trees planted in England. One of your Kings wanted to start a domestic silk industry but word was the French sabotaged the endeavor by recommending the red mulberry trees when silk worms prefer the white mulberry. True or not it makes a nice story.

  2. Annie Green permalink
    April 18, 2021

    Done! Down with filthy capitalists! Down with nonsensical inner city housing developments that nobody can afford to buy! To the barricades! (Good morning)

  3. April 18, 2021

    Most heartfelt congratulations!

  4. the gentle author permalink*
    April 18, 2021

    Thankyou! I won’t be able to relax until we have raised this £10,000 to Save the Mulberry….

  5. the gentle author permalink*
    April 18, 2021

    Thankyou! I won’t be able to relax until we have raised this £10,000 to Save the Mulberry….

  6. Jill Wilson permalink
    April 18, 2021

    The mulberry sorbet looks yummy!! (great photos too…) I will book mine now.

    And it will be a perfect pudding to serve at a staycation garden party later this summer.

    I do hope this final request for funds is successful as it would be a tragedy to fall short at the final hurdle.

    Good luck!

  7. April 18, 2021

    Re: Stop Press. Hiw naughty is that?

  8. Amanda permalink
    April 18, 2021

    Dear GA

    Well done getting the Review granted for May 5th & 6th.

    So glad your wrist mended without that niggling hot needle pain that can linger after a serious fracture.

    Good luck precious Mulberry Tree.

  9. Robin permalink
    April 18, 2021

    Such a worthy campaign. Thank you once again, GA, for guiding us in this endeavour to make the Tower Hamlets Council see sense (and behave lawfully)!

  10. April 18, 2021

    This is great news indeed. Keeping everything crossed for the 5th/6th . The Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree deserves to be saved as a tribute to your valiant and gallant efforts GA.

  11. mlaiuppa permalink
    April 18, 2021

    Okay. Just read the post script about the Conservation Officer. Is this a Tower Hamlets position or independent? Whichever is the case, it smells to high heaven. There is graft going on there somewhere. If I want to pole vault to a conclusion with absolutely no proof, I would venture to guess that someone got to the Conservation Officer and if money didn’t change hands then some other form of compensation was offered for that change of mind. Follow the money.

  12. Pamela Traves permalink
    April 19, 2021

    Oh, How Yummy, Mulberry Treats!! They All Look So Delicious!! Thank You So Much!!?????

  13. melissa delano permalink
    April 19, 2021

    Que Viva La Morera!!!!

  14. AMANDA permalink
    April 20, 2021

    Melissa Delano :
    Exacto ! nuestra obligación es salvar la morera para vivir quiniento años más en su proprio lugar.

    Use our short lives to ensure she can live another 500 years exactly where she belongs
    ?? with a forever COURT PROTECTION ORDER ?

    mlaiuppa :
    So eloquently expressed. … or we might worry our post could soon be filled by someone else.

  15. Sparanza permalink
    April 21, 2021

    I like ,drop me more recipes plz

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