It’s 20 years since I had a “leaving London” bash in Forest Hill’s Wetherspoons, a converted old cinema. Loads of space and attractive decor, unlike some. A few weeks before the actual move, there was a good turn-out of friends, mainly connected with the LCC Sunday cycle rides crew.
Buried away in the ‘About’ page is a mention of my involvement in SE1 Community Newspaper back in the ’80s. This was largely with the second series, which first appeared in December 1981 and ran for a little under 10 years, but I was also working on the paper in the final days of the first series to March 1981.
Some key players from the first series have dragged me in to provide a later perspective for an exhibition which a group of them are working on, based around photos used in the newspaper which have landed up in Southwark Archives – overall project title is ‘SE1 Stories’. Lambeth Archives have also got material from Blackfriars Photography Project, which had a major input into the paper too. Meetings have of course moved on to Zoom, which made my involvement easier.
While a few of the exhibition planning group still live in or close to the Waterloo/North Southwark area of SE1, others have moved on, from Malvern to Mexico. Talking of moving on, this news item from April 1980 (issue 52 series one) may well be the first article I wrote for the publication. I was part-time caretaker of Colombo St (Sports & Community) Centre at the time and did have some part in securing the office space there for Greenpeace and London Cycling Campaign.
The piece was spotted while cataloguing the SE1 photos, which had been quickly scanned and uploaded to Google Drive. This enables the group to work on them remotely, but as there are around 1800 images, about half of which were actually processed for the publication, it took a while to get them matched to their respective articles. This is the sort of work I quite enjoy, even if a handful of Drive images remain to be matched to an edition of SE1. Less surprising is that there are several hundred photos and drawings which do appear in the newspaper where the original photo is missing. Some won’t have come back from the printers, others weren’t filed or misfiled perhaps or, like a few of mine, were returned to the photographer.
There’s still more to do in sorting the exhibition content, design and construction, but it shouldn’t be long before we are ready to confirm dates and venues. Funding has been secured for an initial project focused around Blackfriars Road and Blackfriars Settlement, but there are ideas for further outings.
Nobody was wondering, but. That’s not me with a letter in The Guardian today – I moved out of London 19 years ago for a start. And I’m not educated enough to quote Hillaire Belloc’s warning: “when you have lost your Inns drown your empty selves for you will have lost the last of England”.
I did find out in the process how to get from a piece in the ‘Editions’ daily app to the version on the ‘live’ Guardian one, though. As long as Editions has a share icon showing, go via Firefox and you can then open the web page ‘in app’. Rather slow on my 5 year old tablet, but it works.