"Kingsley Hall and the Legacy of Muriel Lester"

If you would like to know more:
Project Coordinator Alice Mackay on: 07985962975;
Centre Manager, David Baker, on: 07739 277 298

The new Muriel Lester Archive website is now online.

The Archive Conservation Group set up at Dagenham Kingsley Hall. Heritage Lottery Fund logo.

Kingsley Hall’s lively street party on 2nd August, 2008, and Open House Weekend in September marked the beginning of our heritage project. Since then the project has gained some enthusiastic and hardworking volunteers, and the work is well under way.

The Archive Conservation Group working on the Muriel Lester Archives at Dagenham Kingsley Hall.

Since October, a group of volunteers have come to Kingsley Hall in Dagenham every Friday to work on preserving the Muriel Lester Archive. Led by conservator Jenny Kallin, they have carried out surface cleaning and basic repairs and put the papers into archival quality folders and boxes. The group has also been an enjoyable social occasion and the Kingsley Hall hospitality and lunches have been appreciated.

This is a nine month project that will preserve the Muriel Lester Archive and create an on-line catalogue and digital images of the documents, set up an oral history group to record memories of Kingsley Hall and the Lester sisters, create a community heritage website to collect and share Kingsley Hall history, produce learning activities for school children based on the Hall’s history of promoting international peace, make tapestry banners with the theme ‘Symbols of Peace’, and organise free public events, including an exhibition, to celebrate the heritage of Kingsley Hall and its founders.

Photograph of Alice and Omar during the Film workshop. Photograph of Sabiah and Omar during the Film workshop. Photograph of young person painting a display brick at Kingsley Hall.

You are invited to join the project as a volunteer.

You will find out more about Kingsley Hall’s heritage and maybe contribute something of your own to our history and archives. You will be given the opportunity to learn new skills, or perhaps you have skills to share. You will be helping to give Kingsley Hall and the Lester sisters the place they deserve in British and world history – and you will have a good time!

There are still opportunities for volunteers to take part in Conservation; Oral history; patchwork to create the Muriel Lester Tapestry; and to help with the next big heritage events in May and June.

The Patchwork Group designing the Muriel Lester tapestry.

After a training day and practice sessions with the new audio recording equipment, members of the Kingsley Hall Oral History Group are about to begin recording and archiving interviews with people who remember Kingsley Hall in the days of the Lester sisters. A new video camera will also be used to record memories of Kingsley Hall in past times. It will also be available for user groups to record present-day activities and events at Kingsley Hall, creating archives for the future.

The Patchwork group is working with Stitches in Time to create banners showing aspects of Kingsley Hall’s history, particularly its commitment to the cause of international peace. Members of other local groups will also be taking part in the sewing. The banners will be fixed to a screen for display at the project’s final exhibition and will be a feature of future heritage events at Kingsley Hall.

Tower Hamlets Humanities Education Centre is creating learning activities based on Kingsley Hall’s history with children and teachers from Old Palace School.

At the end of our November 29th event, “Building Our History”, the children recreated the brick-laying ceremony on the site of the new Kingsley Hall in 1927. Metal plaques in the shape of bricks were printed with the children’s own drawings representing the values they had chosen for their school community.

Pictures by Old Palace School. Painting in the Main Hall for more display bricks. Display of the bricks by Old Palace School.

More photographs and information available at a site by John Saville.

Memories of those at Kingsley Hall during the time of the Lester sisters

Leslie Franklin's Memories of Muriel and Doris Lester (February 2006)

Remembering My Days At Kingsley Hall by Irene Lanegan nee Lague (February 2006)