Monday, 15 January 2018

Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush

Did you sing this nursery rhyme as a child? Mulberry bushes have been grown in England for centuries. There is much debate about where the original mulberry from which inspired the song was grown.
Here are some nurses dancing round the Bethnal Green  Mulberry, growing in the grounds of the London Chest Hospital back in 1944.
We know this particular mulberry is extremely old.

This tree was around in the time of Bishop Bonner, who was Bishop of London in the 1540s and 50s. In fact, the Hospital has a wooden inkwell which has a brass plate explaining it was made from a branch of the Mulberry beneath which Bishop Bonner sat while deciding which heretics to execute, confirming that the tree was already considered to be ancient over than a century ago. Bishop Bonner used to live in Norfolk before he got his episcopal mitre- and his cottages in Dereham are now the town museum. 

The tree has survived for over 400 years- including the ravages of WW2 - don't let it be destroyed now! It still produces a fine crop of fruit each year, despite bearing the scars of one of Hitler's Bombs. Sadly, developers want to cut down the tree, and build a block of flats, despite protestations from every quarter. The developers, Crest Nicolson, say it must be moved, because it is apparently in poor soil. There is no evidence to bear out this statement - just lots of mulberries each year! They have also taken cuttings. How jolly helpful of them!  Read the full story here - and if you feel able, please sign the petition to save this wonderful, and ancient tree . Thank you


  1. Done, signed. More flats for rich Russians I presume?

  2. Thank you Angela for highlighting this. How disheartening. I’ve responded accordingly.

  3. How dreadful, I have signed the on line petition. In the last house we lived in which we moved from to downsize, there was an amazing mulberry tree in the back garden. It was such a wonderful tree and most years we had masses of fruit from it. The leaves are hinged in such a way that the fruit is not visible to birds so we only ever lost fruit to wasps. The fruit is delicious and stains everything it touches dark purple but it tastes divine. It is lovely uncooked but also makes wonderful jam and pies etc when cooked. I really hope this tree at Bethnal Green is saved. The trees are slow growing so cuttings will take years and years even to turn into a small bush. Thank you for this interesting post. Regards Sue H

  4. Of course the Developers will find an excuse to cut it down, bloodsucking leeches!! Makes my blood boil! I will sign when back home!x

  5. Thanks for all your support

  6. Good cause - also nice to be reminded of these old songs... Old McDonald had a farm!


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