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What's On

holocaust memorial day

Holocaust Memorial Day Talk
Monday 31 January 
2 - 3pm on Zoom

Join us on Zoom for a chat with Holocaust survivor Ivan Shaw
Ivan ShawIvan was born Ivan Buchwald in February 1939 in Novi Sad, in former Yugoslavia (now Serbia). 
In May 1944 the Germans began rounding up Jews and deportations began. 
He was taken away by the Gestapo to a prison cell where he stayed overnight, alone at just 5 years old. From here, he was taken by lorry to a transit camp where he was found by friends and family also there, and they looked after him. Ivan’s aunt managed to snatch him from a camp line and hid him in a nearby forest.before taking him home and hiding him there.

To take part in the talk email us at and we’ll send you the invite link to join this Zoom event.  


prime time

Are you over 50 and want to chat with other people your age? Then join our weekly Prime Time session to enjoy socialising, as well as talks, films, games and other events.

We have moved back to face-to-face sessions, initially at Cubitt Town Library, and Idea Store Whitechapel but with more locations to follow. Please note spaces are limited.
For more information see the Cubit Town Prime Time schedule and the Idea Store Whitechapel schedule


Reading Friends

Reading Friends brings people together to read, share stories, meet new friends, and have fun. We use reading – whether books, magazines, newspapers, or anything else – to start everyone chatting. 

See the Reading Friends page for more information on how to join.


online conversation club

Is English your second language and you want to practise speaking it with others? Then join our weekly Conversation Club. We have two sessions:

Wednesdays, 11am - 12noon Online
Email or and we will send you an invite to the next session

Tuesdays, 11am - 12noon 
Idea Store Chrisp Street.


book break online

Would you like to share stories and poetry to lift the mood? Possibly take a turn of reading out loud? Join our weekly Book Break group every Tuesday from 2 - 3pm.

Please email who will send you an invite to the next session.


book group online Talk about what you’re reading and make friends with other readers. We have two online books groups and you’re welcome to join either – or both


book icon

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende
Wednesday 16 February at 6:15pm on Zoom.

In the late 1930s, civil war grips Spain. Hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is a rich web of characters who come together in love and tragedy, destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world.

Copies are available to collect from Idea Store Canary Wharf.


book icon

Thursday 10 February, 6:30pm
Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

'Great Circle' is a relentlessly exciting story about a woman manoeuvering her way between tradition and prejudice to get what she wants, from the Booker Prize shortlist in 2021, this novel is inspired by the real life experiences of pioneering aviator Lilian Bland. It's also a culturally rich story that takes full advantage of its extended length to explore the changing landscape of the 20th century. 

You are welcome to join both groups. Staff involved will be able to guide you as to how to login


community navigators

Idea Store Community Navigator health advice sessions have moved online to give one to one support. Community Navigators can help with:

•    Advice on keeping safe and healthy
•    Information about how the Council can help you
•    Information about other services and groups that can give support, including foodbanks, voluntary groups, financial advice services

They are also able to give extra support to vulnerable or isolated residents, for example making phone calls or emailing on their behalf.

If you would like to contact a Community Navigator email:


local history library and archives

Bangladesh 50 Years
Identity and belonging in the East End before and after the Libreration War of 1971

2021 marks 50 years since the independence of Bangladesh. To mark the significance of this, Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives (THLHLA) and the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) are leading Bangladesh 50 Years, one of four projects that forms a part of the National Portrait Gallery’s offsite programme; Citizen UK, during its temporary closure to transform the gallery. 

Citizen UK is an exciting research and creative engagement project involving the borough archive services, local communities and contemporary artists. It is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The project will conclude with a Bangladesh 50 Festival taking place February - March 2021, marking Bangladesh Independence Day (26 March) and the related anniversary UN International Mother Language Day (21 February),  kicked off by the launch of a creative commission which will sit in the public realm in Tower Hamlets as well as a exhibition curated by Citizen Researchers, informed by historical materials from Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives and the National Portrait Gallery. See more information

Online exhibition

From Town Hall to Local History Library & Archives: new online exhibition is now available.
A short history of our service and premises, 1861-2015 is based on research undertaken for last year's 50th anniversary celebrations of the borough.

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