Sunday, 28 July 2013

My Deptford

The focus on Deptford in the South Bank's Festival of Neighbourhood prompted some strange emotions. It may only be '8 minutes from here' (actually 11 mins according to official timetables and that's not including the walk to Waterloo East but I'll let that one go, it's a great name) but it was very odd seeing local artists, issues and initiatives on what is essentially a national, perhaps even international, stage.

Spoken word performances in the Clore Ballroom last night took place in front of a projection of the His n Hers mural, giving the impression that the performers were right back home in Giffin Square.

The big cardboard anchor which was commissioned by the South Bank specially for the festival by Laura X Carle was somewhat bare at the start of the day, but by the end of it was covered in Post-it notes, many of them demanding the return of the anchor to Deptford High Street.

More than 40 works by Deptford artists are displayed in the '8 minutes from here' show, with some familiar scenes bringing Johnny's DIY shop and the river view from Deptford to Greenwich (complete with aircraft carrier) right into the heart of the Festival Hall. 

Several panels of security fencing provide a fitting canvas to display photographs of Deptford - test yourself on how many places and people you can recognise - and visitors are invited to add cards with their impressions and experiences of Deptford.

The Deptford Market of Ideas has stalls promoting a number of local organisations, including galleries and charities, and an impressive display by the Build the Lenox campaign manned by its director, bewigged boat builder Julian Kingston.

Artist Hollie Paxton has made some beautiful little tins decorated with photographs of Deptford High Street shops - open the lids and you can hear soundtracks recorded inside those shops. Her metal brooches replicate hand-written signs from the high street, and she has also made an oversize knuckle-duster ring with Deptford written on it (as seen being modelled by local star Molly on the home page of her website).

There's still time to catch the Deptford show - from 10am today (Sunday) pop along and add your thoughts about the anchor or Deptford, meet Bernadette Russell (of 366 Days of Kindness fame) and see Ben Parry and Jacques Chauchat's sonic junk street machine.


Just. Hangsing said...

I'm every so proud to be living in Deptford. @SouthBankCentre did a splendid job hosting different groups, artist and performer in Deptford this weekend.

It's a great platform for the community. Will be nice if this become a yearly event :)

Anonymous said...

great...said in a very very sarcastic tone......complete usual waffle never mind what is really happening in Deptford!!

Anonymous said...

Ah the anchor, wonder if the replica was drenched in urine like the original? In fact I reckon the thing knew more of beer and vomit than the sea. What a crying shame such local colour for the perambulating middle classes has been taken away.

vesper said...

@Deptford Dame

Thank you for this very informative post regarding the Festival of Neighbourhood at the South Bank Centre, where it was possible to meet some inspired, and inspiring Deptford neighbours such as :

The Albany

Apples and Snakes

APT Gallery

Art Mongers

Cockpit Arts

Deptford Lounge

Deptford X

Entelechy Arts

Feed & Read

Heart n Soul

Lewisham Arthouse



Arts Network

Make Believe Arts


Theatre Arts

The Midi Music


Spread the Word

The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust

Trinity Laban
Conservatoire of Music and Dance

I was born in Deptford, but am currently living in Erith, so last Saturday 27th July 2013, I took the theme of the Festival of Neighbourhood along with me to Erith Library so that some Thames Gateway, City Challenge creativity would have a least one practitioner in a cultural wasteland currently being dominated by The Daily Orbit sic.

In the past I have performed at the Albany, and Spread the Word published my anti-NAZI poem FROM DARK TO LIGHT TOO in their WRITE NEXT DOOR ANTHOLOGY, and it was this spirit that interacted with the POWERS THAT BE at Erith Library last Saturday.

Sue said...

What is really happening in Deptford then, Anonymous? Pray do tell us.

And to quote one of the post-it note comments on the anchor at My Deptford on the South Bank, "Anchors don't make people drink on the street – capitalism does"...

vesper said...


I sometimes saw people I was at Tidemill Primary School with, drinking on the Anchor.

And whenever I said hello, asked about brothers, sisters, family,etc, the years, the alcohol, the heroin addiction, fell away and once again we became kids in the playground for a short again.

Unknown said...

"Anonymous", please tell us "what is really happening in Deptford" I want to hear your voice! Obvs not everything was covered but share your thoughts and get involved (otherwise it's just moaning which we all do enough of!!) I have lived here for 15 years, I work here. I loved seeing Deptford at the Southbank and all the great work that was there, some visibility is better than invisibility no? and if you could share your thoughts if it happens again it could be improved? Great work all.

Anonymous said...

What is really happening in Deptford? Well seeing as you asked...most people are on low incomes and working in crap jobs or no jobs, Hence income coming in via new development is a very good thing for jobs and money being spent in local business which will employ people. That's all that is going for most people maybe a big no to silly boats from someone with a few quid that has nothing better to do. Or maybe earning £££ out of it i.e grants or trying to raise funds via donations. Who is this forum for middle class guardian readers with a few quid or ladies that lunch? (Keep calm;)) Go and walk around the Pepys estate or other council estates in Deptford..... Ask them what they think of the boat thing... They will laugh in your face and rightly so.

Sue said...

Agree with Bernadette (as someone who has been living here even longer – 34 years – and has even less money to live on than I did 30 years ago). At the South Bank, the anchor was the focus of dissatisfaction with the status quo. It could've equally have been the display by the three young women who put up photos of Deptford and invited comments...
Unfortunately the publicity in Deptford itself for this event wasn't very good, and early publicity for it had the sponsors logo Mastercard plastered all over it which wasn't very inviting for anyone in Deptford.

Don't suppose Anonymous visited to see for him (or her) self. (A fairly cheap bus ride if the train fare was too much and Lewisham now runs a very cheap bike hire).

Of course new development is to be welcomed with the chance of new jobs – retail, security and hospitality. (Not construction, cos those jobs are going to East Europeans, who are working for less, and work better – take that up with your local councillor, Anonymous).

The ship building project hopes to offer other skills training, both in new technology and heritage crafts, both of which can lead to other jobs you probably can't imagine. Do you have any kids? Do you think, just because you can't get a job, your kids should be grateful for the retail jobs that will arrive here in ten years' time? (cos they ain't gonna arrive here anytime soon, it really is going to be at least ten years before there are any ordinary jobs for local people).

BTW, the Lenox Project doesn't have any money, and it's a not-for-profit company that will not even earn any money for the people promoting it. It is modeled on a French project that has turned the fortunes of a small town where everyone (except those watching EastEnders in French) has got involved to turn around the town's fortunes. Don't knock it till you've read up on it, you fool.

Deptford Dame said...

@anon surely there's nothing wrong with 'ladies who lunch' if they are doing their lunching in local cafes and restaurants, spending money in the local economy and supporting businesses in Deptford?

Btw I often walk around the council estates and talk to people who live there, because I do too.

vesper said...


It's nearly 40 years since "My Deptford" lost it's own unique Town Hall, and John Silkin MP for Deptford became MP for Lewisham Deptford.

My family were 'socially cleansed' shortly afterwards when 179 Deptford Church Street SE8 was compulsory purchased, and demolished. The same fate would appear to be repeating itself for me on the Larner Road Estate in Erith, where approximately 600 former Council homes are being 'regenerated' into 300 homes for sale, and 300 for rent by the Orbit Group, whose CEO Paul Tennant is President of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

My Deptford orientated opposition to the scheme, sees me facing eviction, and imprisonment for daring to oppose the manufactured zeitgeist that is setting the Thames Gateway, City Challenge scene here. My legal defence in both Criminal, and Civil Law goes from bottom to top, and the IPCC have upheld my appeal against the non-recording of my complaint against the Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe by Stephen Greenhalgh the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, and MOPAC's professional standards are currently stalling, and refusing to record the complaint against Hogan-Howe and the Met, which links them to Orbit and the CONSPIRACY TO PERVERT THE COURSE OF JUSTICE that they have the world believe is a regeneration project called Erith Park.

When it comes to ladies, and Deptford Cafes, Josie aka Giuseppina Fazzani was a lovely lady who I got to know when I was growing up in Deptford. My Dad used to take me to Lou's Cafe in Deptford High Street where Josie worked the till and the customers with her smile and genuine interest. Great loss to the Catholic Community where her death has left a big hole in the world...Fatal flat fire in Deptford treated as murder Our Lady of the Assumption pray for us!

Anonymous said...

what about all the fantastic array of artists/crafts people who are going to be displaced with nowhere to work and the terrible 4 tower blocks that will be flung up in place of Faircharm. ..The new 'Creative Quarter' with no creatives????

Anonymous said...


Is there, or was there, a local campaign going on to oppose what's happening to the council estate in Erith? I'm sure the group Defend Council Housing would be very interested in helping (you may have contacted them already of course!)

Anonymous post 1 Aug,

Local residents were given the chance to object to the planning proposals for Faircham. As the date for doing this has now passed, what about drawing up a petition and circulating it on-line on this site,Crosswhatfields blog etc...?

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add to my post above that Defend Council Housing's website is Lots of information on opposing Govt's plans to sell off/get rid of council housing, also a petition.

vesper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

@ Sue

Ah, capitalism, yes good job you reminded me about that. I'll get right on to the council, we'll have capitalism abolished soon as, get the anchor back on the spot and the drinkers will all turn into Dick van Dyke. It will be brilliant. Or sumink. The Anchor is just a lump of metal. I've lived in Deptford for 20 years and South East London for 33. An Anchor surrounded by piss heads is not what I cherish about the place. People who don't have to live with the problems of acute alcoholism, are free to see it as an endearing trait, something that adds 'character', perhaps whilst on the way to waitrose. And yes I have been to waitrose.

vesper said...


Thank you for the valuable information i.e Defend Council Housing's website is Lots of information on opposing Govt's plans to sell off/get rid of council housing, also a petition.

The Government, Bexley Council, the Orbit Group, and the police have tried to prevent a campaign being organised on the Larner Road Estate to oppose their multi-million pound plans for regeneration, which in this this case is a design and build solution sic by Wates, and then a massive sell-off

Projects are promoted under the heading 'Building Communities' when in actual fact it's all about destroying established communities and replacing them with ones that reflect the image of what our masters say a community should be.

I was fitted up in October 2011, and the malevolent tactics employed, were almost carbon copies of those used against me in the 1990s after I continued to protest about the odious NF/BNP leadership being allowed to use the Old Addeyans FC/Densitron International PLC clubhouse for their malevolent planning meetings, a case which eventually saw me defeat both the IPCC, the Met Commissioner Lord Blair at Judicial Review on the 28th Februay 2007 before the Hon Mr Justice Goldring at the RCJ.

I'm way past the stage of signing a petition, and I'm fighting for my life in every sense. My IPCC complaint against the Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe claims A CONSPIRACY TO PERVERT THE COURSE OF JUSTICE involving the Met Police and Orbit.

Yesterday I delivered a letter by hand to the office of David Evennett MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury. I've demanded that MOPAC comply with the IPCC decision to uphold my appeal against the non recording of my complaint against the Met Commissioner by Stephen Greenhalgh, the Deputy Mayor for Policing & Crime.

MOPAC have been stalling since 25th June 2013. Perhaps we should inform Defend Council Housing?

Anonymous said...

we all objected till we were blue in the face no was decided well in advance....only to be slapped down and made studio less!