Muriel and Doris Lester &
The Heritage of the Kingsley Hall Community Centres

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Bill Saville

Bill Saville was a long standing members of Kingsley Hall in Dagenham from 1932 until his death in 2000 – but his associations with the Lester Sisters and Kingsley Hall go back to his childhood in Bromley-By-Bow.

There, he was the eldest of 3 brothers who lived with their parents William & Emily Saville at 21, Eagling Road. This was just along from Children’s House where his little brother Gerry, attended (and at age 3 conducted the small orchestra). Another brother, Len, is in a picture of a “charabanc” outing with their mother on some of the KH Heritage pull up banners,

Biil Essey

Bill was 11 in 1931 when Gandhi stayed at Kingsley Hall. He was one of the children who went on walks with him around Bow.Bill wrote an essay which was syndicated across India.

Bill mentioned an incident during Gandhi’s visit which is a;so recorded by Muriel Lester in her autobiography ““It Occurred to Me”. Gandhi asked to visit a “typical East End home” and they found the woman was ironing. That was Bill’s mother and the story is recounted by Bill’s sister, Daphne Harris in a sound clip. click here.  

In 1932 the family moved from Bow to Dagenham where Daphne was born, but they returned to Bow for her to be “Christened” by Muriel.

Having been active members at Bow, the family soon became active in life at Kingsley Hall, Dagenham. They moved to Freshwater Road where the Bowers family also lived and through a youth group he met Emily Bowers and walked her home. They married in the Main Hall at Kingsley Hall in February 1943, while Bill was on leave from the RAF and served together at Dagenham till Bill’s death in June 2000 (with Emily still attending in 2020!). They celebrated their Golden Wedding there in 1993.

Their son John was born in April 1947 (is a member of the Kingsley Halls Heritage Committee and developer of this website)

Bill had many roles at Kingsley Hall Dagenham including:


Dudley Moore

But his lasting legacy was the Tea Dance that he started with Emily in the 1980s and still runs in 2020. Every Tuesday he would set up his twin CD decks and play a selection of music for Ballroom and Latin American dances – long before “Strictly” made it popular.

Bill died in June 2000. His funeral was held in the Main Hall where he had married, ran many social events and the weekly Tea dances. His ashes were interred in the Memorial Rose Garden outside.