Celebrating women and their impact in our community

The St. Margaret’s House story began early in 1888, when Miss Anson distributed a leaflet in Oxford asking for support for a ladies' mission. Initially called the Bethnal Green Ladies Committee, it was the foundation of the charity that we are proud to be part of today, and it’s all thanks to the initiative of a wonderful group of women who dedicated their time and resources to making a positive social impact in the local community.

How easy is it for stories  like these to be forgotten over time? How many other individuals have made invaluable impacts on their communities, and never been recognised for their achievements?

For International Women’s month 2018, we wanted to bring the global movement down to a local level, by shedding light on the huge impact made by women in our local community.

Women's month exhibition

throughout march | gaLLERY CAFE

We celebrated our local female heroes throughout March, as the entire exhibition for this month was made up of the wonderful photographs submitted by members of our local community.

Responding to our call out for photographs of inspiring East London women, we received a diverse mix of images of local women who are making a huge impact on our community. 

This difficult (but exciting!) task of deciding which photos would be exhibited was down to our wonderful judges:

Maggie Pinhorn 

Maggie is the Director of Alternative Arts, which champions the arts, and runs a Women's Month programme each March. She is also the Director of Photomonth, an international photography fair focused around East London.

Polly Braden 

A renowned documentary photographer, Polly's work explores the relationships between everyday life, work, leisure and economics. Her images are acutely observed portraits, and broader assessments of contemporary culture.

Olivia Mason 

Olivia was previously our very own St. Margaret's House volunteer art curator. Her imaginative and intelligent management of the Gallery Cafe exhibition programme helped to elevate our diverse offering of emerging art to the community. 

Selected by these judges, the top 24 photographs are currently featured on our website. You can take a look at these wonderful entries through the button below.



Our free launch night kicked off the whole host of events and happenings at St. Margaret's House throughout March. It was the chance for the photographers to see their work on the walls, and the opportunity for you to meet the brilliant women who they chose to photograph.

Check out some photographers from the night, taken by Diana Serban and Tano Maggi:



To celebrate International Woman's Day on 8th March, we chaired a discussion at The Gallery Cafe between organisations we admire, whose work counters the gaps in social and community provision for women.

Our speakers on the panel included the director of Wish, the co-founder of Bread & Roses, and the co-director of Juta Shoes. Find out more about their work below:

Joyce Kallevik from Wish

Established in 1987, Wish is the only national, user-led charity working with women with mental health needs in prison, hospital and the community.

It provides independent advocacy, emotional support and practical guidance at all stages of a woman's journey through the Mental Health and Criminal Justice Systems.

Olivia Head from Bread & Roses

Set up in May 2016, Bread & Roses is a social enterprise created to train refugee women in floristry and, in the process, provides them with the space to learn English, develop skills and build their confidence.

The charity strives to empower women and support them into jobs where they feel valued. 

Sabeha Miah from Juta Shoes

Juta Shoes are a social enterprise who employ passionate, skilled, local women to make the shoes they sell and lead their shoemaking workshops.

These women create beautiful, handcrafted espadrilles made in London from reclaimed leather and environmentally-friendly materials.

You can view some photographs from the night below, taken by Diana Serban:


Saturday 10Th march | 1:45PM - 4PM | chapel | FREE


In 2008, a team of former ABC journalists set out to answer the question: How do you end global poverty? The powerful truth they uncovered was that educating girls is the single best way to achieve that goal. Yet, millions of girls are missing from classrooms, facing barriers that boys don't: early marriage, sex trafficking, domestic slavery and gender-based violence.

The film was released in 2013 and showcases girls from around the world affected by the power of education – or lack thereof. As part of Women's Month, we held a showing of this film on Saturday 10th March in our Chapel. 

Somatic Movement For Womxn's Empowerment 

saturday 10th march | 2PM - 4:30PM | hall | donation

In the aftermath of the #MeToo campaign, women around the world are calling out the realities they face on a daily basis and coming together to create the change we need to see.

As powerful and necessary as these conversations are, they can also be draining and trigger painful memories. Work such as “The Body Keeps a Score” by Doctor Bessel Van Der Kolk highlights that trauma has a huge impact on our physical health and needs to be approached by working with the body, rather than the mind alone.

This workshop  provided a space to emotionally and physically process these feelings, using movement and somatic exercises. Throughout the session, participants did activities to release fear and anger and to explore boundary setting, consent and desire. Mindfulness exercises, active listening and some time for discussion were also incorporated.

The session was open to all people who self-identify as a woman and had a suggested donation of £5 - £15 sliding scale.

Make an Embroidered Feminist Patch

Sunday 11Th march | 10aM - 1PM | create place | £35

Moody Bright Designs taught students some basic stitches so they could create their own personalised patch. Feminist quotes were available for inspiration!



wednesday 14Th march | 7PM - 10PM | gaLLERY CAFE | £10

This night featured  live music from Anna MacDonald (co-founder of Play for Progress), ROOKES (Seahorse Music) and DJ Zoë Ellen Bryant, plus a very special guest.

The night also included a silent auction featuring exclusive artwork plus an exciting update from the branch!

All profits went to the branch to support the May 2018 local election. 


THURSDAY 15Th march | 6:45PM - 9PM | chapel | £4



THURSDAY 15Th march | 6:45PM - 9PM | chapel | £4

Dr. Rebecca Gomperts sails a ship around the world, providing abortions at sea for women with no legal alternative. Her idea begins as flawed spectacle, faced with governmental, religious, and military blockade.

But with each roadblock comes a more refined mission, until Rebecca realizes she can use new technologies to bypass law – and train women to give themselves abortions using WHO-researched protocols with pills.

From there we witness her create an underground network of emboldened, informed activists who trust women to handle abortion themselves. Vessel is Rebecca’s story: one of a woman who hears and answers a calling, and transforms a wildly improbable idea into a global movement.

We held a screening of this film on Thursday 15th March in our Chapel, with an introduction from the London Irish Abortion Rights Campaign.



friday 16th march | 7:30PM - 10:30PM | gaLLERY CAFE | £5

Alice Phelps  is an incredibly talented musician who has played at Union ChapelGreen NoteThe Magic Garden amongst many others. Fronting a phenomenal line-up, this night was all about celebrating music not to be forgotten. Think Bessie Smith, Cleo Brown, Billie Holiday with a pinch of Louis Armstrong!

Restorative Yoga Workshop For Women

Tuesday 20th march | 7:30PM - 9PM | yoganest | pay what you can

As a special treat for all those women who felt a bit run down this month, Flavia offered a dedicated workshop at the Yoganest . 

Restorative yoga is the practice of actively resting. It is based on the lack of physical effort and allows the body to re-align itself physically, energetically, as well as emotionally, shifting the nervous system back towards balance. It is a great way to relieve daily stress and emotional strain. And the relaxation techniques that were taught in this class can be used outside the studio in our day-to-day lives to help reduce fatigue, calm busy minds and nurture ourselves. 



wednesday 21ST march | 7PM - 9PM | chapel | FREE

As part of the monthly Capital Letters poetry nights in our chapel, Sonia Quintero performed during this eclectic night of spoken word with audience discussion.


Storytelling and spoken word

THURSDAY 22nd march | 7PM - 10PM | gaLLERY CAFE | £7 adv/ £8 otd

To celebrate local poet Michelle Mangal launching her debut writing collection 'All the Things I Learnt from You', the Gallery Café hosted a magical night of storytelling and spoken word poetry by 'Unheard Voices'.



friday 23rd march | 7:30PM-10:30PM | gaLLERY CAFE | £8 adv/£12 otd

Me & Deboe hail from the Northwest and play driving acoustic music that lives or dies on dexterous fingers and determined singing. This award-winning duo have performed across Europe and America, and they bought their non-stop live tour to the Gallery Café stage as part of our Women's Month celebrations.

They were supported by the wonderful Jelly Cleaver and Circe's Diner. 

Feminist Screen Printing

sunday 25th march | 1PM - 5PM | create place | £40

This beginner’s workshop, run by the incredible Sarah of Portable Print Studio, was designed for participants with little or no experience of screen print and ran to a feminist theme in celebration of Women's Month.

Over the course of the session, Sarah taught the students, step-by-step, the practical skills required to produce a 2-3 colour paper (hand made) stencil screen print.

Each person left with an edition of 5 prints.


sunday 25th march | 1PM - 3PM | yoganest | donation

This Women's Month, Sanga Sanga collaborated with St Margaret's House to host A Woman's Touch (Goddess Worshipping).

This workshop was an exploration of healing touch with other women, and focused on creating a soft and fluffy bubble where attendees worked with partners and in small groups to explore connection and healing through the medium of touch. 

This workshop ran on a pay-what-you-can basis, with a suggestion of a £5-£10 donation.



saturday 31ST march | 6PM - 9PM | chapel | FREE

Our monthly poetry and open mic night also joined in with our March celebrations.