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Tower Hamlets to name buildings after local community heroes

Mayor John Biggs has announced his intention to propose four more council building name changes across the borough after local community heroes of the past.

The announcement comes after Altab Ali House in Wapping was unveiled last year with the Mayor outlining the significance of the building names to celebrate the diverse communities in Tower Hamlets at a press conference held today.

The new proposed building names and locations include Tassaduq Ahmed in Mile End, Shahab Uddin Ahmad Belal in Stepney Green, Sufia Kamal in Bethnal Green and Syed Ashraful Islam in Spitalfields and Banglatown.

The inspiration behind these building names comes from the deep-rooted Tower Hamlets community which each was involved in:

Social and political campaigner Tassaduq Ahmed was made an MBE in 1989 and received the freedom of Tower Hamlets in 2000. He published two newspapers in England, the Desher Dak (Call to Land) and the Eastern News. He donated the first typewriter to the Bengali Weekly called the Janamot, and later established the Ganges in central London which became one of London's most famous Asian restaurants. Ahmed also played a key role in a wide-range of organisations including the Brady Centre and the Spitalfields Small Business Association (SSBA) before sadly passing away in 2001.

Shahab Uddin Ahmad Belal was a prominent member in the Bangladeshi community for his work. As a councillor for Tower Hamlets, he was active in the development of this community in the eighties and nineties. In addition, Shahab Uddin Ahmad Belal, a resident of Stepney, was in the front queue in the anti-racism struggle before sadly passing away in 2018.

Sufia Kamal was a Bangladeshi poet and political activist. She took part in the Bengali nationalist movement of the 1950s and civil society leader in independent Bangladesh. She actively helped freedom fighters of the Bangladesh Liberation War. She died in 1999 and was the first woman to be given a state funeral in Bangladesh.

Syed Ashraful was a key local community activist. He worked within the education department in Tower Hamlets and became a Director of the former Montefiore Community Centre. He also served as a Member of Parliament and Minister of Public Administration of the Government of Bangladesh. Syed passed away in 2019.

Mayor John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “It’s fitting that we continue to name these council buildings after pillars in the community of Tower Hamlets. It celebrates our diverse communities whilst also educating our younger generations about who these people were, what they achieved and what this meant for residents across our borough.”

Further announcements on the confirmation of these building name changes will be made throughout 2022.

Posted on Tuesday 25th January 2022