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Discussion: 100 years of Social housing

Francis Crick Insitute 1 Midland Rd, London, Londdon

Owen Hatherley and John Boughton on 100 years of social housing in Somers Town

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Trees cut down for tower

On Wednesday Somers Town lost trees and green space for a luxury tower of private flats.

If you go to Phoenix road, you can see the cut trees.

A sad week for the area.

Is Phoenix road to be completely transformed into towers?

How can the little green space we have be cut into?

Gardener vacancy – Somers Town locals apply NOW!

Locals who live in Somers Town should apply for the paid gardener position at the Story Garden.
There currently are no local Somers Town people employed at the Story Garden.
How well-advertised has this been amoung the community?

Currently, there are few local people represented or leading the community groups in Somers Town – why is this?
There are many people living in the area, and many without work. Many may not be online – it needs to be advertised locally.

The voluntary sector, was traditionally run by locals who live in the community they represent and who knew everyone, has over time become less and less so, has changed and is repesented by a ‘professional’ community workers, who do not live locally.

Another impact is that they do not hold meetings in the evenings (not working hours) and thus locals who work miss out on meetings that are held in the day.

Has the sector become professionalised?

And like pop music, it then becomes the domain of middle class people or art students, who can afford to and fancy a stint at ‘meaningful work’.

Take it back!

A large block of flats.

New name for Cecil Rhodes house?

Councillors have suggested renaming Cecil Rhodes house in Somers Town – but what to?

It is somewhat of an anachronism and embarrassment with the awareness raised by Black lives matter across the world.

A suggestion was made to call it George Floyd house, but others have suggested names a little more connected to Somers Town. We have a wealth of social reformers who lived in this area – Wollstonecraft, Godwin, and more recently, George Padmore and Claudia Jones – giants of black and African liberation.

Find out more about Claudia Jones’ life in a talk on July 2nd at 6pm (tickets) held by Somers Town History Club to launch its new publication Journeys.

What do you think?


Demolition imminent 42 Phoenix Rd

Who remembers the old nursery at 42 Phoenix Rd? The building is to be demolished ‘within a month’.

Another loss for the area’s heritage.

Once the Margaret day nursery from the 1930s and then the Hopscotch club, it holds many memories for generations of children and nurses who once lived here.

It is to be replaced by student flats with no social housing nor green space planned, in after a tortuous planning application process that got the go ahead despite local feelings.

The Somers Town History club is interested in capturing any memories:

The unusual window detail that we would like to retain for Somers Town.

Losing game

With the Brill place sleight of hand at Camden council’s planning meeting – increasing the number of flats to 68

in the luxury tower and the increase in its footprint, the affordable housing has disappeared, it is now no longer part of the community Investment Programme, it does make the promises made to push through the deal 5 years ago seem like a con trick – and Somers Town yet again is on a losing game.

We lose more public green space (and let’s face it, lockdown highlights the need for local parks) for the benefit of the developers who – poor things – according to Adam Jones their costs ‘have gone up by 25%’ hence why they cannot deliver the affordable housing.

And as Paul Tomlinson points out in the CNJ the deficit would suggest it should not go ahead at all.

I why is it?