Homage to Canning Town African Ancestors

Discovering the history and contributions of Africans in and around Canning Town since the 1920's.

The Homage to Canning Town African Ancestors project explored the areas in and around Canning Town that have historical links with Africa.

This project identified and explored the street names in and around Canning Town that have African origins.  Our research included details of some of the war efforts of Africans living in the East End during WWII and also African peoples’ contributions towards the war.

Further to this, our research included details of how the Canning Town area has changed over the years and the contributions that Africans have made to the community during this time.

The research findings were shared with members of the public via a performance and exhibitions at Grassroots in West Ham, E15.  You can still gain insight into some of the fascinating things that we discovered by visiting our blog: www.canningtownancestors.wordpress.com

You can also access the project through our downloadable PDF resource pack.  The pack is peppered with fun worksheet and quiz that will inspire further enquiry.


Feedback from Exhibition and Showcase

"I had a really good time attending your event. I enjoyed doing the quiz before the show and by doing so I have learnt a lot of the history in Canning Town which I have shared with my colleagues and friends."


“I really enjoyed the performance last week. It was a highly interesting subject, and the passion and enjoyment in the performers themselves made it a superb experience. I really hope more people (especially schools in the area) get the chance to see this production. Looking forward to seeing another one soon.”


"Homage to Canning Town African Ancestors” a heritage project, was extremely uplifting as a performance, and the exhibition was very informative.  The performance powerfully conjured up the sense of saluting the past and our African East End Ancestors.  The music had beautiful melody and harmony.  I enjoyed how the space was used for example when the performers walked singing between guests recreating East End streets … I also paid more attention on the way home to the streets I passed, for example  Durban Street by the station.

 The booklet was also a really useful keep safe."

Ego Ahaiwe

“The exhibition was very interesting. The new multicultural identity of London can be better understood and appreciated looking at the history of its communities.”

Luca Lionello 

"A fascinating insight into London's history. Thank you for enlightening me."

 Ade Solanke, Writer/Producer, Spora Stories

“I greatly enjoyed the performance last week - I was fascinated by the amount of interesting historical detail relayed through the lively and engaging performance. The memorable characters and moving stories were voiced sympathetically and vividly, not least by the use of Pidgin English. The music itself was also highly entertaining, combining traditional African elements in the rhythms and call and response with modern western composition techniques. An educational and entertaining show.”

 Paul Thompson, Head of Music, Forest Gate Community School

We have been very fortunate to secure the support of key organisations and individuals on this project. We would especially like to thank our volunteer researchers and blog writers Jenny Farren, BA., MA., Andrew Turley, BA., MA., Illina Huq, BA., MA. and the following organisations for their support, advice and encouragement:

  • African Divo Arts
  • University Collect London
  • Media Trust
  • St. John’s Church, Stratford
  • Newham Volunteers



Contact us now for bookings and more information.

Proverb of the month

  "The horns cannot be too heavy for the head of the cow that must carry them."

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