Discover the weird and wonderful history of our local burial grounds
Local historian and Blue Badge guide Irina Porter and the Head of Heritage for the United Synagogue Miriam Marson will be revealing the weird and wonderful history of our local burial grounds, including Paddington Old cemetery, Willesden Jewish cemetery and Kensal Green cemetery. Chaired by actor and writer Mike Simkins.
Free event! No ticket required.
Irina Porter is passionate about local history and is currently Chair and Journal Editor of the Willesden Local History Society (www.willesden-local-history.co.uk). She is also a London Blue Badge guide, a trustee of the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery and a volunteer tour guide there, and a volunteer tour guide at Willesden Jewish Cemetery.
Over the past 20 years Irina has been researching the fascinating world of Brent’s streets. In 2021/22 Irina created a series of local history tours for Brent Heritage Tours and Trails, part of Being Brent – Heritage for Health and Wellbeing, a project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered by Brent Museum and Archives. She is currently working on new and exciting programme of tours, trails and events celebrating the rich heritage of Brent.
Miriam Marson is a passionate heritage professional specialising in audience engagement, spearheading new projects and driving campaigns to fruition.
As the current Head of Heritage for the United Synagogue, Miriam has led on a ground-breaking project to digitize 250,000 vital documents, the first of its kind for the organisation. At the same time she has project-managed two books in collaboration with the esteemed Professor David Latchman, and managed the anniversary celebrations for both the United Synagogue 150th and Willesden Jewish Cemetery 150th.
Miriam has also curated an exhibition about the early days of the development of the Willesden Jewish Cemetery. With a background as an antiquarian book and ephemera dealer she ran a shop specialising in first edition books, antiquarian maps and autographs in the unique Cecil Court in central London. Her passion for preserving cultural heritage is evident and she now manages the Heritage Centre at Willesden Jewish Cemetery.
Mike Simkins is an actor and writer. He has starred in many productions at the National Theatre and in the West End, including: Chicago, Mamma Mia, Yes Prime Minister, Donkey’s Years, Mary Stuart, Democracy, and Hay Fever. He says the three most memorable people he’s ever worked with are Meryl Streep, Bjorn and Bennie, and Ken Dodd. Mike is also a regular newspaper columnist for The Times and The Daily Telegraph, and is the author of several best-selling books, including the theatrical memoir What’s My Motivation and the Costa-nominated Fatty Batter. As Sir Ian McKellen said of him: ‘It’s thrilling Michael is having such success as a writer, anything to keep him off the stage…’