The Friends Group is a formally constituted sub-committee of the Brixton Society. It has become increasingly concerned about the state of Windrush Square – both the look and safety. On 11 November the Friends hosted a meeting of concerned residents and Police to discuss their concerns. Since then an Article in the South London Press on 5 January 2016 helped publicise the Friends’ concerns about the rise in antisocial behaviour and the lack of maintenance by Lambeth over the past year.
This was followed by a front page article in the Brixton Bugle February 2016 edition. The Friends are sure that this raising of the issues by our local Press has had a real impact as some of the work to repair the environmental issues is now taking place. New rubbish bins are on order. A new gate to restrict access by vehicles onto the Square at the end of Rushcroft Road was fitted last week. A shame a car drove through it, although hopefully the CCTV will enable Lambeth to take action against the miscreant. Some of the lights have now been fixed and the Square is noticeably brighter. There is still some way to go and whilst we thank the SLP and the Bugle for their interest and publicity, it is a shame that this is what it seems to take to get things moving.
Anyone interested in joining the Friends should contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
WORK IN PROGRESS
LOCAL HEROES - Press Release
NOW GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN…
Special people among us…
Tuesday 10th January 2017
Tate Library Brixton, 6-8pm
To all Lambeth Residents and Library users
Did you ever think, what a pity, to be so soon forgotten, after so much work, dedication and commitment to our area and community?
Did you ever wish that ‘such a positive influence’ should stay with us, for people to keep experiencing despite the passing of time?
Some names float around, of Lambethans who did ‘make their mark’. David Bowie is an icon, Olive Morris will never be forgotten. Some of us still remember Alec Clunes who played Richard III; or even Clive Dunn of Dad’s Army.
But we do owe much to Trevor Uprichard of West Norwood, supporter of Lambeth Parks in general and Brockwell Park in particular. We certainly should not forget the great Brian Bloice, a true Lambethan, founder member of Lambeth Local History Forum and long-term chair of the Streatham Society. Some of us did know Maurice Cockrill, RA, much-loved artist, well-known and appreciated in Lambeth even after he migrated his studio across the road to Southwark…
Among these Lambeth figures, Friends of Tate Library Brixton (FoTLB) and Friends of Windrush Square (FoWS) invite you to celebrate our own Brixton LOCAL HEROES on Tuesday 10th January 2017 at Tate Library Brixton, 6-8pm.
Now is your chance to celebrate people YOU think were special for many worthwhile reasons, and of great importance in your life and others’. For, ‘closer to home’, there were people like Teri Bullen, Woman, Artist and Campaigner or Gillian George, Lambeth College Lecturer and member of Women’s Institute… and others you may wish us to learn about.
The event will investigate a future on-going display through a ‘Local Heroes’ wall at Tate Library Brixton. Plans for a future commemorative image by local artist Pam Williams are underway.
Take this opportunity to ensure that your community learn of your own ‘special person/people’ by completing a postcard, available at Tate Library Brixton, with your suggestions for local heroes and returning it to:
c/o Friends of Tate Library Brixton
Tate Library Brixton
London SW2 1JQ
OR EMAIL : email@example.com
There will also be a FREE T-shirt painting; and badge-making workshops (donations welcome to cover costs). The event is organised in collaboration with Brixton Tate Library.
Night economy, Fun and educational event, cleaning workshop, demonstrations and… alas antisocial behaviour, there is always something going on on Windrush Square. After a terrific summer in Brixton, minus Splash but with a host of events including a very celebrated design trail. Black History Month opened with a highly praised South American festival with food, fun and fiesta. Fab music and terrific atmosphere transformed the Square for those few hours. We hope you were there and enjoyed yourself.
Friends of Windrush Square (FoWS) in collaboration with Friends of Tate Library Brixton are keeping an eye on various issues, including cleanliness; lighting; and greening of the square, this also involves the premises around the library. Our majestic plane tree has been improved with soft ambient lights and Mike, the park officer is seeing to replacing the faulty light bulbs in keeping with the subtle lighting of the square.
Mike also confirmed that the oak trees will have their tree guards fitted quite soon. Duly watered by autumn rains which this year are not too cold, Windrush square grass is growing happily despie the poor soil and average quality grass. As a result, the square looks much nicer. Proof if need be that watering is the problem. If only they could repair the irrigation system! This year again, FoWS has bid for the Metropolitan Public Garden Association’s bulb offer. Fingers crossed. We do hope that last year’s bulbs around the oak trees will come up again for a lovely spring display. So should we be successful, we will ask for authorization to landscape around the plane tree. We’ll keep you posted.
Of course there is still the subject of the toilets. We were given to understand that a total of seven bids to run the toilets in one guise or the other are being considered by Lambeth Council. It’s wait and see at the moment
So, what’s next. Well, Christmas is at our door and Windrush Square will brighten up again. Christmas markets ..
Hopefully, there will be some Christmas Lights too.
WINDRUSH SQUARE CLEANING WORKSHOP – 30 September 2016; 1-3pm
The Brixton Community is proud of their Windrush Square. In its 6th year, this area is a vast improvement to the odd mixture of void spaces, gated area and roads that occupied the centre of Brixton. The loss of Rushcroft Road exit into Effra Road and the annexation of the empty space between Rushcroft and Saltoun Road created a much enlarged open space planned and refurbished by TFL.
Thanks to the input of the community, including the Brixton Society, its refurbishment included a grassed area and two landscaped wooded sections, a promenade along Effra Road and the beautiful oak tree alley at the south end along Saltoun Road. With one of the heaviest footfall in the borough Windrush Square is in heavy use and the first ray of sunshine brings back a host of open space users happy to linger with a book or eat their sandwich while chatting to friends in this unexpected haven in the middle of Brixton.
All is well, then? Well, no… Antisocial behaviour, loitering, health and safety as well as security issues are creeping back, hindering the enjoyment of the square. With its fab location Windrush Square sees a multitude of well visited event resulting in deep filthiness and heavy environmental impact. Just take one look at the lawn. Mind you the irrigation system never worked so the grass disappears at the first sight of the summer drought. Despite increasing demand the toilets are still closed turning some corners into urinal, even outside events. Never mind the events, daily use and alas abuse also bring a heap of detritus throughout.
Friends of Windrush Square (FoWS) has maintained closed collaboration with the council to palliate to this sad list of facts and for swift action to litter pick, water the planters, report needed repairs etc. We hope that more community members will join us to ensure that Windrush Square doesn’t fall back into the squalor and disrepute that plagued the previous setup in Brixton Centre.
To this end FoWS has obtained a cleaning kit and £50 voucher from a Mayor of London funding application and a public cleaning workshop has been organised for Friday 30 September 2016/ In collaboration with the council and local stakeholders, it has to take place within working hours so we hope that 1-3pm will also allow for the participation of local square users for the good of Brixton Centre.
WINDRUSH SQUARE GREEN MEMORIAL, in commemoration of Norma Elaine Williamson, a great Brixtonian who campaigned tirelessly for endless years for health, safety and well being for all in Brixton. Norma helped develop the Brixton we know and love as a long-standing Treasurer for the Brixton Society and at the same time contributed greatly to the improvement of the lives of senior citizens by becoming a Trustee of Age UK. It was a great loss to Brixton that Norma passed away last summer, far too early. Over 60 people attended her commemoration and came to pay their respect. Her memorial was unveiled by her son Stuart. Read more here .
Throughout the year, Windrush Square is often a buzz of activity.
There have been several events on the Square since our last, much loved Community Day back in April, from lone purposeful gazebos to busy local market events, including the regular Brixton Night Markets.
So with the summer upon us at last, passers-by and square users are joined by visitors from outside the borough to enjoy the Square’s special atmosphere in the heart of Brixton. People gather spontaneously and picnics take place on the parched grass, thankfully with most people using the recently installed special bins to dispose of their waste.
Friends of Windrush Square (FoWS) are still fighting against anti-social behaviour and working with the council on the Square’s maintenance. There is still much to do, and things don’t always go smoothly: the tap is still awaiting repair and lately we had the unpleasant surprise to discover that one of the toilets had been put up for rent! Click the link to read Bill Linskey, Brixton Society Chair’s report in Brixton Buzz.
Watch this space for information about a special cleaning workshop towards the end of the summer and forthcoming profoundly different memorials on the Square
Bathed in brilliant sunshine, Windrush Square hosted its first Community Day (pictures & clip by Nick Weedon) on Saturday 2 April 2016, and it seemed to be all the Community wished for.
Throughout the day, over 1000 square users strolled through. Those who stopped by enquired about local projects and activities for their elderly parents, discovered that the last windmill in Central London is hidden up Brixton Hill AND celebrating its 200 anniversary this year organized by Friends of Windmill Gardens… and took beer mats about their forthcoming Beer and Bread Festival . Visitors also asked ’what’ on earth is going on with Lambeth Libraries ‘, made music with Joy of Sound (JOS) an enabling music group, practiced Qi Gong with Neville Cotes, a local tutor or listened to Ravinder Randhawa a local author…. yet there was never a sense of overcrowding and loud noise. In fact, if you attended or participated at any of the lovely JOS improvisations, they would welcome your feedback. Please follow the link provided on their website opening page. It will only take a few moments…
Enjoying Diversity in Lambeth
Saturday 16th April 2016
12:00 – 9:00pm
Windrush Square, Brixton
Windrush Square Community Day
Saturday 2 April 2016
11 – 16:00
Windrush Square Community Day is purposefully a low-key event, meant for local residents of the Brixton area and presented by community groups of the Brixton area. These community groups will be there because they followed up with FoWS after the Press articles, or came recommended to us by local residents (and we deplore the technical detail that ultimately excluded Brixton People’s Kitchen, our first feedback after the Windrush Square use it or lose it Bugle article). Thank you, Kemi. Better luck next time!
Participating groups will present their performances and displays to us all. This includes e.g. Pastor Lorraine Jones’ Boxing Group Dwaynamics, Age UK, Lambeth Health Watch, or Lamonte Johnson’s Bling your Bike… Visitors will try their hand at various workshops: from Leant to draw with Pam Williams to Gardening; from Qi Gong to Happy Drums with Anthony Bailey; enjoy the performance of Certitude, an all-inclusive choir, or actively participate in some music making, before feeling spirited far away from Windrush Square through the prose of Ravinder Randhawa, a local author.
Also, after faithfully sustaining their efforts in the area around the centre of Brixton, and ahead of the cuts in the forthcoming financial year, we just had confirmation that the Police will be there, yet again, for another visible presence in the centre of Brixton in support of the community.
Finally, visitors will have a chance to air their views about potential local projects, e.g. what about a mosaic on Windrush Square? Any news about the reopening of the toilets? Paying for using them if necessary?… FoWS has arranged for a consultation stall on the day, for the relevant organisations to present their project and answer questions as best possible… Of course we can’t cover all issues, nor do we pretend to, but it’s a start to address community themes in the centre of Brixton.
See you there!
Windrush Square has been the subject of many discussions lately, with residents and local groups coming together to express concerns about safety, cleanliness and maintenance of the square… Brixton Bugle recently published two articles Windrush Square, use it or lose it followed by news of Windrush Square campaigners welcome progress on clean-up.
As mentioned, in response to popular demand after the Use it or Lose it article, Friends of Windrush Square (FoWS) in cooperation with Friends of Tate Library Brixton (FoTLB) are planning a Community Day on Windrush Square, Saturday 2 April 2016 from 11am onwards. FoWS are working on the application to Lambeth Events and all being well, look forward to welcoming the community, keen to receive info and advice from local community groups. Visitors will also be able to take part in leisure and craft workshops such as T-Shirt painting or gardening. They will also have an opportunity to air their views about several projects being planned around Brixton.
Windrush Square has not always been the spacious and elegant expanse of matching tiles and manicured grassed area (well at least six years ago when the square was first open). Once a busily working area, it housed the bus garage (shown below) where the Orange Luxury Coaches to Brighton left London, taking not only Brixtonians to the seaside. Rushcroft Road was still splitting the area right down the middle and on the left – not visible on the picture – were the elegant Tate Library Gardens (link to Friends of Tate Library Brixton’s webpage) gracing Brixton Oval just in front of the Library.
One detail you may still recognize on that picture, courtesy of Lambeth Landmark. The background to the bus garage environment was already known as the ‘Bovril wall’. Then as now, people were interested in prime advertising spaces. Faded with age, now a ghost sign, Bovril is towering above Windrush Square proudly facing the clock tower. What’s next for the Bovril wall? And for other once prominent Brixton’s walls for that matter? Come to the Community day, Saturday 2 April between 11 and 5pm to check some possibilities and air your views.
Brixton Local Heroes: Norma Williamson
~ A formidable Brixtonian; and tireless voluntary worker for her community…
~ A former, dedicated NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) staff member…
~ An Age UK Lambeth Trustee
Norma’s ‘ Green Memorial’, bay tree dedication was presented to Brixton Library in June 2016 by the Brixton Society, with a commemoration arranged by Friends of Windrush Square (FoWS) and Friends of Tate Library Brixton (FoTLB).
Criteria to select Local Heroes:
The person is
~ recently deceased (post 2000)
~ has connections with the area; and
~ has raised the profile of our area and
community through their work in voluntary
and/or in other employment.