Gary Drostle

Entwined Histories


A 3 metre (10 ft) high sculpture celebrating Poplars community roots.

The aim of this sculpture was to celebrate the many migrant communities that settled in this part of east London. The sculpture is on the site of a former major rope makers, producing ropes for the London docks, and it is the presence of the docks that lead many migrant communities to settle here throughout history. Many of these communities found the men working in the docks and the women employed in the local textile industries.


Each strand of the rope sculpture represents a different community through their own textile patterns, from the medieval Damask Islamic influenced William Morris pattern to Huguenot Lace from 17th century, Irish Linen from 18th century, textiles from the African, Bengali, Chinese, Eastern European, and Ashkenazi Jewish traditions. All of these weave together to form the new community that is Poplar and Bow in east London, each strengthened by the other, each ending by facing out to the world, showing their golden core.


The textile patterns are (top to bottom):-

• William Morris Damask (Islamic medieval inspiration for Victorian English)
• African
• French Huguenot Lace
• Chinese
• Eastern European
• Irish
• Bengali
• Askenazi Jewish

Project Details

Client: Poplar HARCA housing Association, Bow Arts Trust

Date: 2012

Medium: Mosaic - Unglazed Ceramic and Gold Smalti on GRC carved form

Location: Bow, London, UK

Award: Mosaic Arts International 2013, Tacoma WA – 'Best in Show'