Descendants of All Worlds

TFL launch Descendants of All Worlds

Launch of ‘Chandra’s London – A Descendants of All Worlds Story’ on the London Underground

Commissioner Peter Hendy

On the 18th July, Commissioner Peter Hendy of Transport for London officially opened the Whitechapel Underground Station Descendants of All Worlds exhibition together with Sitakumari, Director for Heartstone, Howard Collins, Director for TFL and Sarah Olney of Arts & Business.

The idea of the exhibition first came into being as a result of the involvement of Jerry Piper, District Line Manager, who felt the concept had potential in providing a new route through which to establish closer links with the local community. Photojournalism as a practical route through which to establish rapport with those who use the station, particularly those of the Bangladeshi community, was an innovative idea and it took well over a year to obtain the support necessary for this initiative to turn from just an idea into the practical reality. The involvement of Equality and Diversity Managers, Laily Thompson and Carl Duncan along the way was absolutely crucial. A strong business case was successfully made by both managers and funding was found to enable the exhibition to be staged on the platforms and walkways of Whitchapel Station. This was extended through the funding of Arts & Business who further enabled the exhibition to be circulated to 100 groups across London.

The pictures which have formed the first exhibit on the station are all from ‘Banglatown Portrait’, a story of life in the Brick Lane area of Tower Hamlets, made possible through picture researcher Nozmul Miah and his friends all of whom were present at the launch.

Nozmul and Hopscotch ladies

Also present were some of the Hopscotch women who are now the picture editors for ‘Descendants of All Worlds’  for whom this was a ‘first’. Two of the group helped put the exhibition up at Whitechapel and a further 3 helped stage the exhibition at the London Muslim Centre for the launch. As picture editors and curators, they form the final essential ‘link in the chain’ in telling the story.

We were delighted to be able to stage the launch event at the London Muslim Centre and Mr. Dilowar Khan, Director of the Centre, gave a wonderful welcome to all assembled which included several boroughs of London who are participating in the project and areas from across the country who have taken up ‘Descendants of All Worlds’ and will be working with Heartstone stories over the course of this year. 

The success of this first stage has led to the initiative now in planning for extension to most of the other London Underground lines in the coming months and it has provided the stimulus for the same concept to be spread to other transport networks across the country, the first being Wolverhampton Station

Launch platform

TFL Launch

letter of support from Mayor Ken Kivingstone