Friday, 19 July 2013


One of the recurring themes on The Triangle, is the strong sense of community, and the amount people are prepared to give, in time and effort, to make things happen in the area. No doubt everyone has heard about the Cinema campaign for example. And although we still do not have a permanent local picture house, there's been no shortage of more intimate film showings in the area, as part of the local film festival, and the odd impromptu screening  in Cooper's Yard for example.
Another campaign that has gathered momentum over the last year or two, is Transition Town, which, as we've seen in an earlier post, has the tangible result of having established a weekly local food market.
Meanwhile, those behind the long-running  'Save Upper Norwood Library' campaign continue to do battle with the local authority and government cuts.

Back in the endless winter of 2012/13, another local project was germinating. Organised by various hardy locals, including Annabel Sidney, Mehul Damani & Robbie Gibson, the aim was to rescue some of Crystal Palace Park's famous sphinxes from the ravages of nature. Although some along the top terrace have always been clearly visible, there are plenty more you may never have noticed lurking in the undergrowth, concealed behind ivy and brambles. After several well attended  work days, volunteers have cleared much of the vegetation that was strangling two sets of sphinxes on staircases at the southern end of the terraces. Latterly I joined one such operation, and have to report, it was extremely rewarding, and would recommend anyone to get involved. The rewards are even greater, now that it's been announced that English Heritage are funding a detailed survey into their condition before possible restoration might begin.

Just a stone's throw from the sphinxes, the subway's future is also looking brighter thanks to the work of campaigners, Jules Hussey & Karl Richter. Earlier in the year, a successful application was made to Southwark Council to reinstate the opening on the west side of Crystal Palace Parade, which leads down stone steps to the subway. The steps will be made safe, and a new gate installed. There was also much excitement when, in June, HRH The Duke of Gloucester paid a visit in his capacity as patron of  Heritage of London.

The Duke shakes hands with Karl Richter

Jules Hussey escorts the Duke down to the subway

The stairs leading down from Crystal Palace Parade

Anerley Hill suffers a bit of an image problem; boarded up shops, anti-social behaviour, and those unsightly delivery cages lined up outside Tesco. But this neglected stretch also has its champions, and changes are afoot. Although it's sad to see pubs close down, and there have been 2 recent closures on the hill, it's good to see that the former Thicket tavern, which has now been converted into flats, has at least retained the ground floor for other uses, and the developer, Lightbox, doing their bit for the community have given the space over for the summer, rent free, to the Bigger Picture Gallery, and what's more, 25% of the commission from art sales will go towards the library campaign. This was the opening night back in June.

With regards to wider improvements on the hill, 4 staunch local campaigners have managed to secure £25k from Bromley's regeneration budget. Congratulations ladies!

From left: Elinor Michel, Renee Thornley, Amanda Sciberras & Gill Wing
The team outside La Belle Jolie, which will feature in a future post
Not all campaigning is for local causes, I went to a local event recently which was arranged as a fundraiser for a building far north of here. You may have seen the Channel 4 series called George's Amazing Spaces, which featured our very own Laura Clark (the loo lady). Also featured was a lovely log cabin up in the Lake District (the real one, not the South Norwood pretender to that title). Depressingly the cabin built by Tim Sands, was destroyed by arsonists, so Laura thought it would be good idea to help raise funds for its rebuilding. As she has a studio on Cooper's Yard, that seemed like a great venue for a summer evening of entertainment, attended by Tim and hosted by Laura's husband Kevin. There was local beer, cupcakes, a magician, comedians and a burlesque performer. And all in all nearly £1000 was raised, including £600 which was donated to Shelter. Who said campaigns had to always be hard graft. Cheers!

Vintage barmaid, Laura Clark

Mr Tim Sands in full flow

Laura with Andy (Bambino) Stem

Compere Kevin introducing Tim Sands

Talking down to George Clarke!

The Burlesque star getting ready

Lenny "Kravates" & his band

Lady of the night...