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Date updated: 9/27/2021

Aldgate in Winter first took place in 2017 and has grown ever since into an annual celebration of community. In normal years the Aldgate Lantern Parade marched through the streets holding lit up lanterns created by schools, residents and local clubs, culminating in Aldgate Square for a winter fair and performances. The events of 2020 unfortunately meant that the event would need to be re-imagined, and it was, in the form of the new Summer in Aldgate in 2021, plus an adapted winter event for 2020. 

Friday 25 June - Friday 9 July 2021

Summer in Aldgate 2021 saw the windows of Aldgate and surrounds filled with art! From large scale lanterns of creatures and superheroes - to paper birds and birdhouses hiding hidden speakers - to photographs of community resilience work taking place over the past year, there was something bright and exciting to be seen around every corner.

“These vibrant models have really brought a happy and special start to my work days!” – A local office worker

“I loved seeing other window exhibitions and art installations. Was great to feel part of such a positive and creative project.” – A local artist

The summer event was devised when the annual winter lantern parade could not be held due to the pandemic. Community members were keen to produce a show of positivity and local celebration and over 35 local community partners were brought together from all over the City.

As part of the ongoing work a short film was created depicting the story of the lantern parade, watch The Bright Lights of Aldgate: A Community Film.

Monday 7 - Sunday 20 December 2020

Together, let’s make Aldgate the brightest light in London!

Following the success of the previous three years, Aldgate in Winter returned for December 2020 in a very different way in response to social distancing and event guidelines.

Instead of the lantern parade and winter fair the team produced an online programme of events over two weeks, including creative workshops, virtual walks, talks and live performances! A small local exhibition was produced for the Aldgate area, displaying large lit up lanterns in the windows of buildings, these could all be safely viewed outside at a distance and were up for three weeks in December.

The Aldgate in Winter Facebook group and Instagram were used to share photos and experiences of the events, and singing videos from choirs who would have usually performed at the fair were shared here too! A live performance from Drumworks (who usually lead the lantern parade) rounded off the second week.

January 2021 - June 2021

For the first time Aldgate in Winter extended into Spring with three projects open for anyone to take part in. These included:

Air Quality Superheroes Competition

As part of the extended Aldgate in Winter project the Community Engagement team teamed up with the Air Quality team to ask young people in the area to design an Air Quality Superhero, receiving over 40 submissions! The winning drawings will be created into large-scale 3D lantern structures to be displayed publicly in the summer. Photos of all entries are shared over on the Aldgate in Winter Instagram page.

The Aldgate in Winter Film Project: The Bright Lights of Aldgate: A Community Film

A short film capturing the voices of local residents, business owners, and regular participants in the annual Aldgate in Winter Lantern Parade. The parade was cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the organisers decided to celebrate the spirit of the parade through this film in 2021. Hear from people who have been involved with or touched by the project through the years; and watch them each light up part of the parade route as they move through their neighbourhood. Directed by David Graham

A Dawn Chorus for Aldgate: A soundscape project led by Soundcastle

Taking inspiration from the way nature crept back into the city during the first lockdown, Soundcastle have been hosting online workshops to re-imagine a soundscape where the birds were able to deliver an important message in the quiet streets. During the Summer in Aldgate exhibitions this soundscape was played on speakers hidden inside birdhouses created at community workshops.

Since the event conception in 2017 the annual lantern parade and winter fair has grown every year, with bigger and longer parades with more bright and spectacular lanterns. The parade begins in the playground of The Aldgate School, and weaves through the streets of Aldgate to the beat of Drumworks, as passersby, locals and office workers stop to behold. The short film created in 2021 shows participants walking the parade route, and describing what the event means to them, watch The Bright Lights of Aldgate: A Community Film.

14 - 16 June 2018

2018 saw the launch of the newly created Aldgate Square, formerly a busy intersection the area was now a space to be enjoyed by the community, with benches to sit at, cycle paths, a new cafe and green spaces. The three day festival celebrated both the new space and the community of the area with performances, music, stalls, food, poetry, art and a parade.

Find out more

Follow the project on Instagram #AldgateinWinter

Join the Aldgate in Winter Facebook group for regular updates

Email the Community Engagement Team for more information