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Fourteenth Annual Report

August 25, 2023
by the gentle author


Next ticket availability Saturday 2nd September



Fourteen years ago this week I began publishing daily in these pages with the ambition of reaching at least ten thousand posts, which would take twenty-seven years and four months. It seemed an outlandish endeavour then, yet recently I passed the halfway point without even noticing until a reader wrote to congratulate me.

I was motivated by the knowledge that my parents had both died at exactly the same age and ten thousand days would deliver me to that time. So I sought a means to make my days as rewarding and productive as I could through writing and participating in the life surrounding me. I happy to admit to you that in these terms the project has succeeded beyond all expectation.

Ten years ago, the readers of Spitalfields Life campaigned to save the Marquis of Lansdowne from 1838 in Haggerston from demolition and today it is restored as part of the Museum of the Home. Five years ago, we campaigned to save the five-hundred-year-old Bethnal Green Mulberry and now it is protected. This year, the mulberry cuttings have rooted and we plan to distribute them this autumn to those patient souls who contributed £100 or more to the legal fund.

As I write, Liverpool St Station and the Bishopsgate Bathhouse are under threat from development, while the #SaveBrickLane Coalition – of which Spitalfields Life is part – prepares to go to the Supreme Court to challenge the Truman Brewery’s plans for a shopping mall.

Down in Whitechapel, the bell foundry has been rotting since its closure five years ago, acquiring layers of graffiti now that the neglect is tangible. The developers have abandoned their plan for a boutique hotel and it has been on sale without takers for a year, despite a standing offer at market value from the London Bell Foundry to buy it to start casting bells again and cherish the historic buildings.

On a brighter note, in November last year it was my great delight to speak at the party for the tenth birthday of the East End Trades Guild of which I am proud have been one of the founders. You may have read recently of the Guild’s heroic campaign to champion the rights of Len Maloney and other tenants of railway arches in the face of excessive rent increases.

Eleven years have passed since I wrote my book Spitalfields Life and ten since I became a publisher myself with The Gentle Author’s London Album in 2013. Then I published twenty titles before the pandemic called a halt to operations. But this autumn I plan relaunch Spitalfields Life Books starting with a crowdfunding campaign next month and at least four new titles in hand.

When I take a reckoning of these milestones and contemplate the future, I do not regret my choice to embrace the relentless progress of life in this corner of London.

Thus, with all these thoughts in mind, I come to the end of the fourteenth year in the pages of Spitalfields Life.


I am your loyal servant

The Gentle Author

25th August 2023


The Gentle Author’s cat, Schrodinger (formerly of Shoreditch Church)


HOW TO WRITE A BLOG THAT PEOPLE WILL WANT TO READ: 25th-26th November. Spend a weekend with me in an eighteenth century weaver’s house in Spitalfields and learn how to write your own blog.


You may like to read my earlier Annual Reports

First Annual Report 2010

Second Annual Report 2011

Third Annual Report 2012

Fourth Annual Report 2013

Fifth Annual Report 2014

Sixth Annual Report 2015

Seventh Annual Report 2016

Eight Annual Report 2017

Ninth Annual Report 2018

Tenth Annual Report 2019

Eleventh Annual Report 2020

Twelfth Annual Report 2021

Thirteenth Annual Report 2023

45 Responses leave one →
  1. August 25, 2023

    Well done!

  2. Su C. permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Congratulations Gentle Author on being more than halfway to your goal! I don’t recall when I found you but know it was well more than 8 years ago. Though I visit London quite frequently I have learned so much from your blog and, because of you, have sought to visit as many of the places you share with us and pursue and to seek out the lovely stories that exist amongst the hallowed roads and paths of your ‘corner of London’. I have cried, felt anger and frustration from some posts, and have been in awe and complete surprise by others. I have written emails to your elected to support conservation of place and custom. Your blog has created in me a deeper connection the the town I love to visit as often as is possible. Thank you for all you have given me.

    Su C. – Sonoma County, California USA

  3. Jane Jones permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Congratulations Gentle Author. However, we haven’t heard about Schrodinger lately (lovely photo BTW). Might he have an annual report from him?

  4. August 25, 2023

    Good Morning,

    I have just read your annual report and I must congratulate you on what you have achieved.

    I have be a subscriber for several years and have had much pleasure in reading your articles ad particularly those with old photographs.

    Sadly my wife died three weeks ago and she had much ancestry in Shoreditch and St. Giles area and my research has been helped by your articles.

    Keep up the good work, Regards Rod in Andover.

  5. Carolyn Hirst permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Congratulations on all your achievements Gentle Author. Not forgetting the significant past contributions made by Mr Pussy and the ongoing contributions from Schrodinger. I greatly value my daily read and hope to be a companion on your journey to at least ten thousand posts. And I’m also looking forward to hearing more about the relaunch of Spitalfields Life Books.

  6. Arabella Warner permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Congratulations Gentle Author. What an amazing g achievement. I for one so look forward to your daily musings. Here’s to the next fourteen years.

  7. August 25, 2023

    Congratulations, dear GA, on a truly remarkable and unique achievement. Your modesty prevented you from mentioning the hugely successful tours and your blogging course. You are indeed a Jack of many trades and master of all.
    Your mention of your first two Spitalfields Life books called to mind my Dad, who delighted so much in reading them and looking at the photographs. Of all of the gifts that I bought him, your books gave him the most pleasure. Through your endeavours, you have enriched lives and brought pleasure to many.
    I am able to visit the East End regularly on my own quest of discovering my family history – a hobby that I have pursued for over twenty years now. I considered myself an expert, albeit in a narrow field. However, attending your walking tours of Spitalfields and the City, I learned about the people whose stories I had read in your blog, and they became real. So much was new to me. You encouraged us to look and use our other senses to focus on details that would otherwise be overlooked.
    Your daily blog gives me reading material for my commute and often that and posting a comment, fits perfectly into my train journey. Your posts are always interesting and I feel part of a valued and valuable community.
    You have campaigned tirelessly for the causes listed here and I similarly have come along for the ride by writing indignant emails, chipping in with crowdfunds and visiting if I can ( as I now live in the sticks). Through my own troubled times, you have been constant, as a friend, and I thank you for that.
    You may not fully acknowledge your incredible achievements as being your own handiwork. From a blog to all this – building an incredible community of like-minded people across the globe, you should feel immensely proud. If I accompanied you on one of your pub crawls, I would definitely like to buy you a pint – maybe one day? The Gentle Author’s pub crawl would, I think, be very popular.
    Finally, I was pleased to see that Schrodinger gets a mention. He hasn’t featured in many posts recently and I love reading about his antics, as I did with dear Mr Pussy.
    Thank you again, dear GA, from the bottom of my heart. I’ve had an awful year and you have been my consistent and anonymous friend. Never underestimate your power to brighten people’s lives, and I hope in some way, we have a positive impact on yours. Here’s to the next installment – cheers!

  8. August 25, 2023

    Many congratulations – what wonderful achievements!

  9. August 25, 2023

    Fourteen years of Spitalfields Life is an outstanding achievement. I read it every morning and it continues to enlighten and educate me and leads me down roads previously unexplored. Sincere thanks for your campaigning and shining a light in the often overlooked and ignored aspects of my city. I look forward to attending another of your excellent walks soon and congratulate you on achieving fourteen years of what, for me is the best blog on the web.

  10. Sarah Johnson permalink
    August 25, 2023

    CONGRATULATIONS — and thank you for sending me many beautiful and informative articles about things I would never know about otherwise. You are an inspiration. Keep up the good work, but drop the time limitation — you don’t want to make subconscious suggestions like that!!!

  11. Nina Archer permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Thankyou for my daily read x

  12. August 25, 2023

    Dear GA,
    Many congratulations and thank you for your remarkable daily blog which I have been reading for many years.
    You have championed so many great causes and shone a light into some dark corners of our City, very well done for all your achievements.
    Long may your wonderful writing continue to enrich the lives of people all over the world, you are a legend!

  13. Maggie permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Well done and thank you.
    Sharing words, thoughts and emotions is a joyous part of life.

  14. August 25, 2023

    Huge congratulations, GA, and here’s to the next fourteen!

  15. Eve permalink
    August 25, 2023

    bravo Gentle Author! Thank you for all those delightful stories & worthy causes so far..

  16. Annie S permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Congratulations and a huge thank you for your brilliant blog!
    I am a Hackney resident and I have been reading the daily posts for many years and have learnt so much about the history of Spitalfields and the surrounding areas – keep up the great work!

  17. Charlotte Dew permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Congratulations! An achievement of which I am in awe. Your posts and the broad reaching work that ripples from them is extraordinary, without which so much would be lost.

  18. Helen Coleman permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Congratulations! You are an intrepid campaigner and a true lover of London’s heritage. Thank you for all your wonderful blogs over the years – and ‘keep the faith’ in times of ad resitting.361

  19. Andy Strowman permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Congratulations to you Gentle Author.
    You are a truly special person who has displayed kindness to many people including myself.

    I believe having a target is very good.


  20. August 25, 2023

    Congratulations! Well done! I rarely miss one of your posts. And thank you for publishing a picture of Schrodinger in all his splendour.

  21. Leana Pooley permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Well done! An immense achievement, Plus the walking tours.

  22. MJ Wallis permalink
    August 25, 2023

    A fantastic halfway report, and a really significant achievement. Also, your daily post brings such a welcome, tangential angle on the world – much needed and appreciated in these deranged times.

    The photographs are always fascinating. (Not least lovely Shrodinger today! happy fellow.)

    Thank you for all your hard work and the pleasures delivered. Many more annual reports to come, we are all hoping


  23. Milo permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Your pieces have helped me through the many (and continuing) bouts of Homesickness i’ve endured over the years and helped focus my priorities on my precious trips back. Long may you continue. x

  24. Mary Harris permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Love reading your blog and look forward to many more. Also more pics of Schrodinger!

  25. August 25, 2023

    I love this blog and the character you present yourself as — whom I presume is partly you. Your

  26. August 25, 2023

    You have added such optimism to my world.
    Thank you for always shining a light!

    Onward and upward.

  27. Susan Ropp permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Well done and congratulations! Thank you for 14 years of incredible writing and sharing your deep love of London and its people.

  28. GKBowood permalink
    August 25, 2023

    My how time flies! Kudos on your milestone and amazing achievements. Spitalfields Life is the only blog I read daily and the pictures you post are always excellent!

  29. Dermot O'Brien permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Congratulations. I’ve been a follower since the start and I also can’t quite believe it’s been 14 years!

    Something to reflect on, aside from the enjoyment you’ve brought to your present day readers, is the legacy you’ve created for future historians. You’ve made your mark on the historical record and that’s no small thing.

  30. Terry C Wendell permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Congratulation Though I live in the big city across the Atlantic, I cherish your stories of east London in my inbox every morning.

  31. Peter Holford permalink
    August 25, 2023

    That’s some achievement and well done! Like many I guess I am a mostly silent reader of your daily articles but silence doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it! Carry on for another thousand+ please. Thank you.

  32. Donald M Thomasco permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Thank you, Gentle Author. It has been a real pleasure for me since I accidentally stumbled on your site some ten years ago.

    Ad Multos Annos

  33. August 25, 2023

    All I can say is: thank you, well done!

    Love & Peace

  34. Russell A Metz permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Your stories are a pleasure to read, GA. Congratulations and keep up the good work!


  35. Robin permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Dear GA, it is always such a pleasure to read your posts. Thank you so much for sharing your deep love of the East End, its history, and its people.

  36. P. Taylor permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Thank you, in this frantic world we now live in there is always your
    postings. What would we do without you.

  37. David Antscherl permalink
    August 25, 2023

    As a distant (Canadian) reader and former Londoner, I truly have appreciated every aspect of your blog since I discovered it a few years back. Many places you show are unrecognisable since I left in 1968, others are relatively untouched. Thank you for your fine work in publicising some of the dreadful ‘projects’ that would continue destroy historical sites and the character of the East End. It is also wonderful to read of the many artisans, artists and characters that call Spitalfields home today.

    Congratulations on achieving so much so far. More power to your electronic pen!

    Yr. Mst. Obt. Svt.

  38. August 25, 2023

    Dear Gentle Author

    I thoroughly look forward to reading your blogs everyday. I have even archived a few of them.
    You are one in a million to undertake such an interest in local history and forwarding it on to so many readers.

    Best wishes to you

  39. Sue permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Been following you for many years and have several books starting with the beloved Mr.Pussy.
    An ex Londoner who hasn’t returned for over nine years but maybe one day.
    Thank you for your daily despatches of news, history, nostalgia and warmth.
    Take care.

  40. Martin Ling permalink
    August 26, 2023

    Here’s to the next 14 years, more great books and brilliant stories! Well done!

  41. aubrey permalink
    August 26, 2023

    I cannot add to what’s already been said. I will say though, I log-in and read your stuff every (-well almost every ) day I can. Fourteen years has gone puff! I’m at the back of the class now but I try to keep up! Oh! and congrats (nearly forgot).

  42. Katherine Grier permalink
    August 26, 2023

    Congratulations, friend! I call you “friend” because you brighten every day with your posts. I hope to have the privilege of meeting you some day and joining one of your walking tours.

  43. Ellen Whitle permalink
    August 27, 2023

    Thank you for the wonderful job you do. Keep campaigning.

  44. August 27, 2023

    What a milestone. Long may you continue.

  45. Lew Tassell permalink
    September 9, 2023

    Congratulations on your many achievements over the years and I look forward to many more years of reading Spitalfields Life.

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