The Barnfield Video Archive Project is a series of participant-led workshops. that started in March 2023. We have been viewing and editing archive videos filmed on the estate and the local area from 2008-2010 for the Well London programme.
Since the initial launch of this project 5 months ago, we’ve watched and analysed a great deal of archival footage and discussed how to get good results when filming with your phone. If you would like to learn more about filming and editing it’s not too late to join the group.
All are welcome and it’s free! If you are interested in or have a connection with the local area and its history, this project is for you. We have many upcoming workshops as well as a public screening at the end that will showcase the results from filming during the in-person sessions.
If you are interested in joining us please sign up using this link, and feel free to watch our archival footage here.
Spectacle has a wide range of archive footage from the London Pride parade in 1991. This footage is available to license for your documentary or news story. Please contact us by emailing email@example.com
The footage was shot for Despite TV’s documentary, ‘Out of Line’, on the subject of London Pride 1991. Having already taken an interest in documenting the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender) political struggle as it was happening (Despite Clause 28 – 1988). This longer documentary film takes a celebratory approach to the community’s political and social wins.
The footage gives an insight into London Pride from 25 years ago, and shows the celebratory atmosphere of the event as well as the increasing number of social and political groups that had started to participate in the parade.
The full film Out of Line is available to rent or buy here. A DVD of the film is also available here.
Jacqueline Willis Silwood resident and Ola Walker local youth worker expressed their frustration and hurt after L&Q housing association, current managers of the Lewington Community Centre, cancelled the youth club at short notice. The day before L&Q had cancelled the Zumba class again at very short notice, which sparked a resident sit down.
L&Q have a history of last-minute cancellations of community events including the residents’ Christmas Party. Fortunately, they were given permission to throw the Christmas party, but not without causing distress and anxiety to the community event organisers and the caterers. As the Christmas party drew nearer, they were still in the dark about the availability of the centre.
The Lewington Community Centre, promised under the regeneration of the Silwood estate to serve and be managed by the Silwood neighbourhood has become simply an “asset” of L&Qs portfolio of properties- it is rented out most of the time to Morley College.
These community events were cancelled at extremely short notice, just a few hours before the events were meant to begin. This was particularly unfortunate on the day that they were supposed to hold a youth club event for minors, as it posed a child protection issue when the building closed and they had nowhere to go.
L&Q offer no real explanation for the cancellations. They cite staff shortages but there is no reason for the community not to be keyholders. If they had been keyholders none of the events would have needed to be cancelled.
L&Q seem determined not to allow members of the community-led Lewington Community Centre Management Community (LCCMM) to be keyholders. Indeed L&Q appear to resist any attempt by the community to organise and run their own centre as they were promised they would under the Section 106 agreement. Before the “regeneration” of the estate the community happily and efficiently ran their own centre.
After a series of community events have been cancelled at short notice, when L&Q suddenly announced the Lewington Centre on the Silwood Estate would closed at 5pm- not the scheduled 9pm, it was the final straw, after 20 years of being excluded from their own centre.
Residents wanted to show that there were people who would be prepared to manage and close the building after 5pm. The women were resident community workers and representatives of residents and tenant groups.
Residents were not asked to leave by L&Q but soon after 5 the police were in the room.
This is not the whole story.
Since the building was open L&Q have resisted all attempts by the community to manage and use their own centre.
This sit down was not just about a zumba class being cancelled. It was the last straw in a 20 year struggle for the community to get the centre “regeneration” promised.
What Silwood residents had pre Regeneration: a mish-mash of community resources, youth clubs, a nursery, a creche, education and training facilities, clubs and groups, council supported and bottom up initiatives effectively run and organised by residents, paid or voluntary. Many were much loved by the community and the residents made the best of what little they had.
What they were promised, the justification for the entire regeneration scheme was a bigger, better, purpose built community centre and facilities.
What they have 20 years on is the “Lewington Centre.” A building L&Q run and refer to as an “asset” and a business. The centre is in fact let out to Morley College most of the week so it is not available for community use.There is nothing “purpose-built” about the Lewington Centre. With 25 flats above the main hall, occupied by key workers, some on night shifts, the building was never suitable for the kind of noisy social and community events like birthday parties, weddings. The acoustics have been a constant problem. Just a few teenagers playing table tennis made a deafening noise before expensive sound remediation.
L&Q insisted they had to build the flats above the centre to provide an income stream to make the centre sustainable. Its not clear why the flats needed to be physically located on top of the building given the huge amount of land L&Q were given in the regeneration deal. Without transparency and published accounts it is also not clear what this income, combined with the rental from Morley College and other private hires, is actually spent on. Do L&Q really need to charge the community to use their own hall for social and community events to “cover their overheads”?
The community want some very basic things so they can once again manage their own community resources:
Management of activities and social events at the community centre.
Before the “regeneration” of the Silwood Estate by Lewisham and L&Q in 2000 the residents successfully ran their own community centre and youth facilities- either voluntarily or employed.
These facilities, the youth club, cyber centre, community hall, under 5s etc were demolished and residents were promised a bigger and better purpose built “Community Centre” to not just replace but improve on what they lost. What followed was a systematic disempowerment of the community. What they got was the L&Q run “Lewington Centre”, a totally unsuitable building that residents struggle to access. L&Q sublet the building to Morley College which is of no benefit to the community and means the building is rarely available for residents to use.
On the 16th of September 2019, the Silwood community held a meeting to form the Community Centre Management Committee (CCMC). This meeting symbolises local people of Silwood wanting to come together to improve the facilities of the community and surrounding areas.
Historically, the residents successfully ran their own community centre and amenities. Sadly, under the regeneration of the estate, L&Q housing association took control of the new purpose-built community centre that was meant to not just replace but improve the facilities lost. Following the regeneration, L&Q then sub-let the centre to Morley College and the community has felt excluded ever since.
After years of frustration, the establishment of an independent CCMC means the whole community could have their voice heard. In the past L&Q have managed to make promises and not keep them to individuals without being made accountable but now with the strength of the committee, this will happen no more. A significant improvement for the community, as in the past, resident’s concerns about the management of the estate was falling on to deaf ears and there was no one to hold L&Q accountable to fulfil promises made.
Spectacle has been documenting the resident’s struggle since 1999 and continue to do so today. We believe that the injustice done to the residents is unacceptable. By setting up the Silwood video group to document and lobby for a meaningful regeneration, we are working with the community to help bring awareness to the mistreatment of Silwood residents.
The group has participated in workshops organised by Spectacle and filmed the consultative meetings so they have a personal record.
Rita Edmond, Community Develop Practitioner, in her interview, exclaims, “we stand together, and we fall together.” which is an attitude that currently illustrates the unity of the Silwood community and their hopes for the future.
Another interviewee, Pembe Kumbi, Local entrepreneur, said the community has lots of hidden young talent that will be expressed through the use of the community centre.
There is so much opportunity for Lewington Community Centre to become a hub for people to gather for youth groups and an assortment of classes. Joyce Jacca mentions all sorts of potential uses for the centre if it is allowed to be run by the locals.
This represents a whole new chapter in the Silwood story that goes to the heart of community empowerment and wellbeing.
Twenty five years ago Despite TV filmed the documentary, ‘Out of Line’, on the subject of London Pride 1991. Having already taken an interest in documenting the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender) political struggle as it was happening (Despite Clause 28 – 1988). This longer documentary film takes a celebratory approach to the community’s political and social wins.
The events of 1988 seem almost forgotten as 25,000 LGBT activists and allies gathered in London to take part in Pride 1991. The event, a march through the streets of central London ending with a party in Kennington park, had grown in popularity since 1988, thanks to activist groups such as LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) and Stonewall who worked hard to achieve greater acceptance, giving more people the courage to come out, even if just for one day.
Opening with footage of the celebrations on the streets of London, the film gradually takes on a more political tone, interviewing individuals about their experiences of homophobia and discrimination. The filmmakers talk to the Lewisham Lesbian Mothers group, who march in the parade with children and babies in tow. One woman is interviewed about her struggles conceiving and raising a child as a lesbian mother – a subject rarely discussed in the early 1990s.
The film also incorporates several interviews with BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) LGBT individuals and groups, who discuss the particular challenges they face living at the intersections of numerous forms of oppression – often facing homophobia in Black communities, and racism in LGBT communities.
As well as being an insight into London Pride from 25 years ago, the film succinctly summarises the struggles still faced by LGBT people in 1991, and the social and political strides they had made in changing a society which dismissed them.
The full film is available to rent or buy here.
A DVD of the film is also available here.
Residents visiting the building site of their promised Community Centre
Dear Richard Southall,
I am writing on behalf of residents and Lewington Centre users.
Re your letter 20th Sept 2012 distributed to Silwood residents:
1- Was this letter circulated to all Silwood residents? If not why not?
2- Can you outline the process and mechanisms by which you ” regularly consult with residents” ?
3- How did the residents identify the priorities you cite and how many responded?
4- How and when are you going to “make available opportunities for local people to give us their views about our services”?
5- Does the new use of the Lewington Centre comply with the funding agreements between L&Q and Lewisham Council?
6- Does the new use of the Lewington Centre comply with the funding agreements between L&Q and Southwark Council?
7- Please can you forward Lewington Centre business plan and accounts for years 2010/11 and 2011/12
8- The SIlwood Community Centre Business Plan April 09-Aug 09 shows profits of £65,244 ( 08/09) 47,366 (09/10). Where do these profits go?
9- The income from the 25 flats above the Lewington Centre is meant to go towards community use of the centre. Is this the case?
10- When did L&Q agree with BEC re use of the Lewington Centre? Please can we see a contract.
We would appreciate a written response to these questions.
I thank you in advance for your prompt response.
Dear Mr Saunders
Re: The Lewington Centre, 9 Eugenia Road SE16 2RU
I write in response to the issues raised in your email of 7 November 2012 the contents of which are noted. I have structured my response to address each of the ten separate issues raised.
1. The letter dated 20 September 2012 was hand delivered to all residents (irrespective of Landlord or tenure) living on the estate. In addition to this the letter was also delivered to those Southwark homes located in St Helena Road adjacent to the centre.
2. L&Q undertakes, through an independent market research company monthly resident satisfaction surveys designed to test satisfaction with existing services and opportunities for residents to express their personal priorities. This information helps to inform our forward strategies. These randomly selected candidates can number up to 570 surveys each month.
3. Through the independent surveys described in two above.
4. In addition to the process previously described we undertake localised surveys at L&Q organised events and projects. Those engaging in these activities are given an opportunity to complete a feedback form that also asks them to identify their individual priorities. This information also helps to shape our future strategies.
5. Lewisham are satisfied with arrangements at the centre.
6. There are no outstanding financial agreements between L&Q and Southwark in relation to the centre.
7. These will be made available, on request from London Borough of Lewisham.
8. All generated income supports the operational upkeep of the centre and on-going service delivery.
9. As above
10. BEC have rented space at the centre since October 2011. It is not appropriate to disclose contractual details to a third party.
I hope the above is of assistance to you and I appreciate your concerns surrounding the running and use of the Lewington Centre, however I can assure you that this centre is run completely in line with our policies and procedures and any agreements we have with third parties.
Please leave a comment if you have any remarks, further questions or suggestions regarding this issue.
Residents of the Silwood Estate, Rotherhithe, were promised that when the estate was “regenerated” their existing and community managed community centre and other facilities would be replaced with a better purpose community centre- later called the Lewington Centre.
London and Quadrant received grant of £3,334,653.00 of Section 106 money, of which £1,964,728 was to build the community centre- it also included £2,240,000 SRB money to build new flats above the main hall that would provide the community with a constant rent revenue stream of £32,500 p.a. that was to go towards community capacity building.
However since it opened in April 2009 local residents have struggled to get access. The rents are too high for the Tenants and Residents groups to use it for office space. The hall is either inappropriate or unaffordable for most community uses.
Now the “owners” London and Quadrant, without any meaningful consultation with residents, have let out the centre to Bede Educational College and the residents are almost complete excluded. There appears to be no L&Q staff based there.
In order to find out what is going on it has been necessary to make a Freedom of Information request to Lewisham Council see below.
Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000
Reference No: 197880
Thank you for your recent request. We apologise for the delay responding.
We enclose the following information.
Regarding the Lewington Centre and the flats above please can you provide
the following information and documents:
Documents relating to Section 106 agreements with L&Q
Section 106 Agreements once signed are public documents and can be viewed
either at the Council offices or via the Council’s website.
Below is a link to the Section 106 Agreement we believe you are interested
in. That agreement relates to Silwood Phase I and was signed on the 23
Documents relating to L&Q’s commitments to funding and services provided
for the community centre
Please see attached report.
Details of any funding from Lewisham council to the centre and the terms
and conditions of this funding.
Please see attached.
L&Qs financial reports and business plans for the use of the Lewington
Centre since it was opened.
Please see attached report.
We hope you find this information helpful.
You have a right of appeal against this response. If you wish to appeal
you must do so in writing to the Corporate Information Manager at the
Corporate Information Team
London Borough of Lewisham
1^st Flr, Town Hall Chambers,
London, SE6 4RY
Corporate Information Team
Tel: 020 8314 6848
Before the site of what would become the Silwood Estate was developed in the late 19th century, The St. Helena Tavern and Tea Gardens were a centre of entertainment and recreation for working class Londoners and the surrounding rural communities. Tea gardens were places in which people could get away from the sights and smells of urban London and St. Helena’s provided lawns, ponds, trees, statues and two Chinese pavilions. At the time it was surrounded by hay fields and a range of hills that formed from east to west.
As seen on the map below from 1868, the gardens were adjacent to what was known as a ‘Rope Walk.’ These long lanes were used for stretching out hundreds of metres of rope fibre in order for them to be twisted (or ‘layed‘) into strong, functional rope for use on the Docks.
St Helena Tavern and Tea Gardens and Rope Walk - 1868
On this map from 1914, (around 30 years after the demolition of the St. Helena Tavern and Gardens,) the site has been developed into what is now part of the Silwood Estate. However on the west end of St. Helena Road, part of the rope walk still exists and can still be viewed to this day.
Silwood Estate 1914
Silwood related books, maps, DVDs and prints can all be found and purchased from Spectacle’s Shop.