This summer is a significant one for Island Gardens. Roll the clock back 120 years to August 3, 1895, and you’ll find politician and trade unionist Will Crooks officially opening the green space on the Isle of Dogs.
Renowned as a campaigner against inequality in the East End, Crooks was instrumental in the creation and protection of the park.
Back then, the surroundings lacked the high rise towers, but former Tower Hamlets councillor Gloria Thienel said a “special” spark of affection was born.
To mark the importance of the Poplar man’s contribution to Island life, community group Friends Of Island Gardens will unveil a commemorative plaque in the Park Yard on September 12.
The granite marker will be unveiled by Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs during a free afternoon of celebration and entertainment.
Group vice chairman Gloria, a passionate East Ender who recently relocated to Allhallows, said community affection for Island Gardens remained strong.
“It’s a lovely place to sit and relax and you often see people just watching the world go by,” she said.
“Without Will Crooks there wouldn’t be a park and we felt this was something we needed to do to recognise the effort he put in.
“Island Gardens is so special to thousands of people. It’s not only the people that live on the Island, it’s anyone who used to live here, like I did, for 45 years.
“I’ve got two children and I used to take them when there was a playground there.
“And it is for the visitors too, who walk through the foot tunnel to see Greenwich from this side.”
Residents will also be able to enjoy face painting, balloons and music during the event, which runs from 1pm to 5pm.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07733 990 405. It is also possible to join the group this way.