Introduction to Research

In 1906, unemployment rates in Newham were high and growing, and people were facing ruin. A group of unemployed Newham men decided to fight back: they took control of an unused parcel of land and started to plant in it. Named ‘Triangle Camp’ after the triangular vegetable beds, the men aimed to show that waste land could be put to good use – and that unemployed people were able and keen to work. They were called the Plaistow Landgrabbers. Although in the end the Council removed the men – and their leader, Ben Cunningham, spent five weeks in prison for contempt1 - they had helped change people’s opinions of unemployed people, and brought value back to unused land.

Over 100 years on and Newham still faces severe problems of unemployment and deprivation, but it also retains the spirit of industry and resourcefulness displayed by the Landgrabbers. Despite high levels of unemployment and relative poverty, Newham’s young people are achieving ever-greater results in school, and this young and energetic borough plays host to the biggest sporting event in the world this summer. Where does Newham go from here to make use of this massive potential?

We are gathering comments on aspirations and shared dreams for the community during our live consultation events. Have a look at the videos and come to meet us at our next live event!

We hope this website will be informative, but we don’t want it to be the last word. We want this to form a starting-point for discussion. So whether you agree or disagree, have a point to add or want to share your own story, then get in touch.