Thursday, September 21, 2023

Looking History and other walks

A couple of walks coming up in the 'Looking History' series. My walk 'Peckham Against Racism and Fascism' takes place at 11 am on Sunday October 1st and will hopefully do what it says on the tin, exploring the history of anti-racist/fascist/colonialist moments and movements in the Rye Lane area.

Before that on Sunday 24th September there's 'A Kaleidoscope Walk of the Elephant and Castle' with people being encouraged to share stories about particular places with meaning to them.

One of the best things about these kind of walks is the contributions and memories of people who turn up. On the 'Dirty Walworth' walk in July there were was a nice moment where walk guide Chris passed round some sarsaparilla, a drink taken as a health tonic for many years in that area and famously sold on East Street market and at Baldwin's herbalist/health food shop on Walworth Road. That sparked off childhood memories from somebody present who also recalled being sent by her mother to pick up orange juice from Walworth health centre which was provided free to babies - she sneaked her first taste of orange.

On that same walk as we passed Husky Studios on Amelia Street I mentioned that I'd once read in South London Press that Destiny's Child had rehearsed there prior to a performance on Top of the Pops, so Beyonce had been in Walworth.  A guy who had been a regular drinker in the nearby Tankard pub for years said that lots of people using the studio had popped into the pub in the past including John Lydon and Stevie Wonder! Somebody else chimed in with the tale of Drake being spotted in Walworth Road bagel shop. Folklore or facts? Tell me more...

I also enjoyed the Radical History Faction walk around Newington Green, one of a series around Hackney and Islington. Visiting 29 Grosvenor Avenue - home to a radical commune in the early 1970s and raided by police searching for the Angry Brigade - one person on the walk remembered visiting for anarchist meetings (there was a print shop in the basement) while somebody else lived there now. They have one final walk this season coming up around Angel/Upper Street on 15th October

I also went on the Rye Lane film locations walk on 10 September, part of the Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival. It told some of the history of the area taking in locations from recent Rye Lane movie, including a park bench on Holly Grove, the Peckham Soul shop and the indoor market.


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