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What's On

special events

Bengal's near four centuries of connections with East London
Thursday 16 December, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Idea Store Whitechapel 

In celebration of Bangladesh's 50 years anniversary, please come and listen to Dr M Ahmedullah from Brick Lane Circle illustrating the fascinating history that covers near four centuries connection between Bengal and East London. 
Prior to East India Company’s conquest of Bengal at the battle of Plassey in 1757, there was an unsuccessful attempt bu the English to conquer Chittagong in the late 1680s
This talk will contain stories of battles, trade, lascars and slaves.

book your free tickets

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, but with more locations to follow.
For more information see the Cubit Town Prime Time 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.
Email and we will send you an invite to the next session

From Tuesday 19 October Conversation Club will return in person to 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

The Thing About December by Donal Ryan
Wednesday 17 November, 6:15pm

Set over the course of one year of Johnsey’s life, ‘The Thing About December’ breathes with his grief, bewilderment, humour and agonizing self-doubt. A heart-twisting tale of a lonely man struggling to make sense of a world moving faster than he is.

Physical copies are available to collect from Idea Store Canary Wharf.


book icon

Thursday 11 November, 6:30pm
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Ishiguro’s latest novel, 'Klara and the Sun' tells the story of Klara, a companion robot (called an "AF" or "Artificial Friend"). Told through Klara's eyes, the book opens with her in the store, waiting to be purchased. She eventually goes home with a sweet but sick girl named Josie and her mother.

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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