Thursday, September 08, 2011

Sanford Housing Co-op

Sanford Housing Co-operative in New Cross had their annual 'Folkus' summer festival/party/all-nighter on Saturday night. It was mobbed with hundreds of people enjoying themselves in the open air next to the railway embankment on Sanford Walk.

There were bands, DJs, fire jugglers and more. I saw Masqua, an interesting outfit made up of ex-Goldsmiths students (including cellist Jasmine Scott Neale) playing Sicilian songs among other things. Highlight for me though was seeing Viv Albertine (once of the legendary Slits) who still has a good line in punky anger albeit accompanied these days by a harpist. I didn't catch David J, Vocal Pugilist, but there's already some footage of his performance on Saturday up on youtube:



Sanford is an amazing place, built in 1971 as the country's first purpose built housing co-operative, with the aim of providing affordable accommodation for single people. The original co-op members were students, with Nick Raynsford (then a Shelter activist, now Labour MP for Greenwich) helping to set it up. There are 14 houses, each shared by eight to 10 people.

More recently Sanford has become a pioneer in urban sustainable living, as highlighted in an article by John Vidal in The Guardian a couple of years ago: 'The unexpected stage for one of the most ambitious low-carbon developments in Britain today is not an executive estate in the Cotswolds or a pretty new eco-town, but a row of modest 1970s inner-city houses lived in by a 130-strong group of artists, students and others'. There are ponds and many of the people sitting on a terrace made of railway sleepers at the party probably didn't realize that they were on top of a bike shed.

You can see the railway sleepers in the picture below (click images to enlarge) from an article from the South London Press (July 3 2009). The headline 'Urban Co-op's Bohemian Bliss' might be a bit of an exaggeration - like any collective project, people have had their disagreements, and the place has had its share of casualties. But that doesn't diminish its significance.

Sanford were on a bit of a press coverage roll in 2009 - they were also featured in Time Out with an article erroneously entitled 'London's Last Commune' (25 July 2009).


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yep was a Good day and night out - its good to see a co-operative spirit and Soul is alive an well in New cross/Deptford and also to see that Transpontine (a progressive Blogger) is giving it due respect, It's about Local Neighbourhood Community !
We hear too much about personal selfish interest in our Neighbourhoods, normally by Private leaseholding tenants in Council estates who think they represent the Actual council tenants, when it is clear that they are really feathering their own nests'

PROMOTE FREE EVENTS - THEY ARE NEEDED!

Sanford has evolved and flourished over the years , it has a Rock and Roll Soul and has not sold out on these values, seeing the generous Sanford community giving us a free public event is fantastic!
Lets hope more neighbourhoods follow this.

Solidaruty


Lf

Anonymous said...

Yep was a Good day and night out - its good to see a co-operative spirit and Soul is alive an well in New cross/Deptford and also to see that Transpontine (a progressive Blogger) is giving it due respect, It's about Local Neighbourhood Community !
We hear too much about personal selfish interest in our Neighbourhoods, normally by Private leaseholding tenants in Council estates who think they represent the Actual council tenants, when it is clear that they are really feathering their own nests'

PROMOTE FREE EVENTS - THEY ARE NEEDED!

Sanford has evolved and flourished over the years , it has a Rock and Roll Soul and has not sold out on these values, seeing the generous Sanford community giving us a free public event is fantastic!
Lets hope more neighbourhoods follow this.

Solidarity


Lf

Railway Sleepers said...

Great post! Love the video too.