Somers Town history
A great Panel Discussion with
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‘100 years of Social Housing’ can be found in Somers Town, and we have the Culture Editor of the Tribune Owen Hatherley, John Boughton (‘Municipal Dreams’) and Professor Esther Leslie to bring their insights to bear. We will also be launching our publication.
It takes place at the Francis Crick Institute on December 3rd at 5.30 for 6pm start to the talk.
Somers Town is in the news for all the wrong reasons: threatened by recent developments. Yet this is a cohesive community and a living legacy of 20th Century social housing pioneers whose work – every example of social housing from the last 100 years – can be found in this small pocket.
This panel takes a look…
So it’s appropriate we explore and honour this narrative thread of social justice, as well as help maintain a unique working class identity, in a permanent gallery space in the place where so much originated: Somers Town.
Opinion piece. Many might think we need this like a hole in the head, but plans for a shipping crate to be placed outside a church and the Prince Arthur Pub have been submitted for a ‘coffee and arthouse and community hub. Some might think there are already community ‘hubs’. And a shipping crate? An area known for its significant St Pancras Housing and estates with courtyards and social housing now might have a shipping container outside a church?
The pioneers of social housing might be turning in their graves.
A 48-year-old woman was left with potentially life-changing injuries after the shooting, and three other women, aged 21, 41 and 54, were taken to hospital where their condition is deemed to be non life-threatening.
A 12-year-old girl who sustained a leg injury is expected to make a full recovery.
The shots sent mourners running and screaming, with many of them sheltering inside the church, witnesses said. Footage posted on social media showed chaotic scenes after the shooting began.
One resident of an estate across the road from the church, who did not want to be named, said: “I heard the gunshots. I was having a quiet day on my balcony and I heard this almighty bang and I thought this was not normal, and the next minute everyone was screaming and shouting.”
Buy local: support local initiatives at the Climate Change Market on Chalton Street on Friday December 16th 11- 3pm. Upcycle with People’s Museum Somers Town – ‘Radical Screen Printing’ – bring a t-shirt and choose from motifs from local photos and history to print your own – or buy a bag/ t-shirt already printed.
Why not bring your bike to be checked – a refill station – or buy a plant or craft from lots of local suppliers.
Find out more about climate change.
Or buy the many books and postcards available from the People’s Museum – an entirely local resident-led initiative. Sustainable development happens locally!
A ‘Somers Towner’ is up for a national award for the work in setting up a museum for the area.
The People’s Museum Somers Town only opened in May 2022 and its founder Diana Foster is a finalist at the Museums Change Lives Awards which celebrate the achievements of museum and individuals that are making a difference to the lives of their audiences and communities across the UK.
The shortlisting reads:
‘Diana’s work in founding a community museum and living memory project has impacted Somers Town, Camden’s sustainable development at a time of uncertainty and encroaching gentrification. She worked to preserve local identity and memories in a place of radical reformers; where innovative social housing projects took place and radical thinkers such as Wollstonecraft and Padmore lived. She has campaigned tirelessly to promote this history and an area’s sense of place, and the museum aims to become a site of social justice: a community hub as well as a repository of memory.’
Diana said, “sustainable development is not just about recycling cups – it’s about an area having a sense of place and a voice – I felt that this area was being overlooked in the recent tsunami of development and hence the museum came about – after 6 years of work with many people.
The London Festival of Architecture has made Somers Town its focus on June 24- 26th June with many events and a partial road closure. There will be an outdoor installation by Nooma, the winning architecture practice, and many events. The new People’s Museum Somers Town is providing many walks/ talks and events over the weekend on the LFA theme of ACT! social Justice.
All events outdoors on Phoenix Road unless specified.
Opening ceremony Friday 24th June outdoors on Phoenix Road
Starts at 6pm Film & Q&A ‘St Pancras Rent Strike’ with John Cowley at the People’s Museum at 52 Phoenix Rd, NW1 1ES
Followed by talks in the installation.
Saturday 25th June
Mural Painting from 11am with Nicki Deux and the People’s Museum Somers Town outside
Lunch – decolonised dinner! Try cuisine from different cultures outdoors
12pm Health and Hygiene St Pancras housing by Eleanor Marshall of Open City walk.
12.30 OssulstonEstate – Echoes of Karl Marx Hof Guided walk Tickets
2pm Fun Auction
The People’s Museum will auction off Somers Town “heritage” with a serious purpose – why were 80 Doultonware Gilbert Bayes artworks from St Pancras Housing stolen and sold at auction? FREE fundraiser for our campaign to restore art to estates. Outdoors on the installation Phoenix Rd
3pm The Model Estate: OakshottCourt by Camden Guide Fabien Watkinson Tickets
A Space For us? Panel Discussion Free 28th June at 6.30pm
A new museum has opened in Somers Town: the People’s Museum Somers Town – A Space for us finally found small premises at 52 Phoenix Road. This community-led museum tells of the area’s ‘Radicals Reformers Uncommon People’ will open Wednesday to Friday 10-5pm, after a launch party on May 12th.
In June the museum expands its programme with many events as an official hub of the London Festival of Architecture, including Saturday morning outdoor mural painting in Phoenix Road, walks and walks around the landmark social housing estates, culminating in a Panel Discussion on the 28th of June called A Space for us? – to question what is happening to our heritage and space and whether residents have a say. All welcome.
Lost/Found: Somers Town, the inaugural exhibition of the new Museum,tells a story of change through lost and found objects from demolition sites, from origins to decline, from slum clearance to social housing, from reform to protest. Many contributed to this…
Founder Diana Foster
Find out about June events below.
PEOPLE’S MUSEUM IS PART OF THE LONDON FESTIVAL OF ARCHITECTURE JUNE PROGRAMME
The Model Estate: Oakshott by Camden Guide Fabien Watkinson Sunday 26 June at 3pmTickets
OssulstonEstate = Echoes of Karl Marx Hof 26th June 12.30 by founder and resident Diana Foster Tickets
Health and Hygiene St Pancras housing by Eleanor Marshall of Open City walks Saturday 25th June 12pm – Tickets
Wednesday Lunchtime Social Justice walks on Radical histories themes: June 8th, 15th, 22nd Tickets 12pm Meet at Museum
Radical Screenprinting – each Thursday evening 6-8pm Tickets
Friday Curated lates – with film showing – Unseen archival films Tickets
FAMILY JOIN FREE!
Family Mural Painting – FREE Tickets outside on Phoenix Road
A Space for Us! Somers Town Panel Discussion 28th June 2022 Tickets 6.30 pm (open to all)
Social Justice Walk to installation on Homelessness by Artist Richard DeDomenici
Gilbert Bayes Walk to courtyards to see Art in everyday life + Workshop Saturday June 18th 1pm Tickets
Unless otherwise stated: all start at People’s Museum Somers Town 52 Phoenix Rd. NW1 1ES
Please contact email@example.com for local residents FREE tickets to many events. www.aspaceforus.club
Lucy Gannon, the Camden officer leading this project, came to the December neighbourhood forum meeting to give us an update. In 2022, we are likely to see trial traffic changes in the area, alongside new parklets, planting and benches. The project programme has been extended until 2025. Lucy’s report to the forum can be accessed here.
Camden has been chosen as on one of four “destinations” at this year’s London Festival of Architecture, with lots of focus on Somers Town. There will be a series of installations, exhibitions, talks and special events. The call for entries is now open, and LFA is inviting individuals and organisations to submit event proposals that explore the theme of ‘act‘. The submission for free entry proposals is 11 March 2022 and the festival runs across June.
In October 2021, Somers Town was chosen by the GLA as one of two neighbourhoods to receive significant funding to combat the impacts of global climate change locally. The GLA has committed to £1.4M to fund 10 phase one projects, and Camden Council has agreed to match fund in kind. The application was a collaboration between council and community, and STCA and STNF will be leading on the neighbourhood strategy.
More about Future Neighbourhoods and the phase one projects can be found here.