BPCP review of 2015

Arson destroys public shelter January and February – the Park gets off to the worst possible start – an arson attack totally destroying the shelter facility by the tennis courts (subsequently rebuilt at the end of the year), followed by serious vandalism to the shelter on the path between Herne Hill gate and Norwood Lodge.

VolunteerMarch saw Lambeth Council’s public consultation on the future of cultural services, including parks and libraries.

Many park users expressed concern about the implications of the 50% cut to Lambeth Parks budget by 2016.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAApril saw the unveiling of a plaque to 2nd Lieutenant Benjamin Geary, a Lambeth resident that fought in the First World War in a ceremony attended by family members and the Worshipful Mayor of Lambeth.

 

downloadMay saw a surge in crime at Brockwell Park – a serious sexual assault near the Lido gate and serious criminal damage to the Community Greenhouses, Rosendale shelter facility, several Park noticeboards and both toilets by Brockwell Hall. Local groups St Matthew’s Project and Green Rock River Band brought some much needed cheer to the Park and the Hall with a respective free sports photography exhibition and free rock concert supported through the MADD for Brockwell Park Programme.

thamesJune brought a large commercial dance music event to the Park – Found Festival – which caused disturbance to local residents. Earlier that month, BPCP and the Herne Hill Society put together the first Thomas Lynn Bristowe memorial event – The Making of South London by historian Len Reilly, a fascinating and well attended lecture.

Dog ShowJuly witnessed arguably Brockwell’s best ever dog show, rescued at the eleventh hour by spirited and talented local volunteers following Lambeth Officer withdrawal. Actor Mark Rylance chaired a panel of celebrities, including Trudie Goodwin, to judge the well received ‘Woof Hall’ event. Either side of the dog show was a free Wuntanara African drumming and dance concert, and the 41st Lambeth Country Show. A huge ‘I heart Lambeth’ sign was installed in the park – which also retained its Green Flag status.

lambethAugust brought a change to Lambeth Parks staffing structure. Out went the dedicated Brockwell Park Manager and Park Education Officer posts. In came an Area Parks Manager post serving Brockwell and ten other parks in Herne Hill and Tulse Hill. The Park also welcomed back ‘Funky Breakers’ for a free afternoon of breakdancing workshops and hip hop showcase.

IMG_2010September’s spontaneous ‘Soul Train’, courtesy of local residents band ‘Soul Intent’ provided superb free entertainment for park users on a beautiful day in Park. This was followed by Third Thought’s ‘Invisible People’ – providing non intrusive free theatre performances to park users in the Walled Garden.

HHMFOctober’s Herne Hill Music Festival brought the curtain down on MADD for Brockwell Park with a wonderful free performance by the All Saints Concert Band.

 

IMG_2144November and December (now without the annual fireworks display) saw more vandalism to the shelters near Norwood Lodge, while demolition work progressed on the redundant Changing Block following a decision passed by BPCP stakeholders in 2014 The hardstanding will be retained for park uses.

So that was 2015. A largely difficult and a destructive year for the Park, brightened by some magical moments of community creativity for which we are very grateful to local volunteers and performers without whom this would not be possible. To volunteer in Brockwell Park please email us at: brockwellparkcommunitypartners@gmail.com

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Doris’s garden

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Norwood Lodge, by the Norwood Gate, was lived in by the head gardener’s wife (Doris) for a number of years. She was the last person to live there and she maintained the garden.
The aim of the BPCP Biodiversity Group is to create a cottage-type garden, using the kinds of flowers that would have been common in gardens in the early 20th century in order to provide forage for pollinators and to improve the habitat for them and other invertebrates. Ultimately we hoped to encourage sparrows to live around the Lodge but they seem to have heard about the plans because a small number have already settled in.

The ground has not been cultivated for more than 20 years and is heavy clay so in the first year we have planted mostly annuals, which will be removed at the end of the season, allowing the ground to be dug over again and improved before winter. We are grateful for the Community Payback people for doing the first, very hard, manual dig of the ground in the right hand bed.

At the moment the planting is largely of Nicotiana (tobacco), Cosmos, Achillea (yarrow) and Rudbeckia but we have included a few Amaranthus (Love lies Bleeding), borage and hollyhocks. A few poppies, seeded from the poppy display in 2014 have also put in an appearance.

On Saturday we noted a large  number of honey bees, hover flies and a few bumbles as well as some Large White butterflies, a Comma and a Gatekeeper.

The recent rain has given the biodiversity team a watering holiday and has much improved the life chances of a number of small bushes along the Norwood Road railings.

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Norwood Lodge Cottage Garden

Norwood Lodge cottage garden 1900

Norwood Lodge circa 1900’s.  It was lived in at the time by a park keeper and his wife. It is now a community centre for all the park’s stakeholder groups. The update and conversion were undertaken by the HLF in 2012 and a fence area of garden was agreed so that we could work on projects to enhance Brockwell Park.

Last year many of you may have seen the WW1 commemorative project that we installed with funding from Lambeth.  Since the Lodge didn’t have a permanent garden we took the opportunity to join Lambeth’s WW1 borough wide homage to the First World War.

Norwood Lodge building Norwood Lodge gardenIt was dismantled, in September and we began work on the new cottage garden to reflect the old postcard picture above. We began with digging over the soil several times as it hadn’t been a proper garden for many years and had acquired a vast seed bed of weeds.

The Conservation Volunteers, led by Tom Nandi, arrived in November to dig out concrete in the back area; put up trellis on the container, plant shrubs along the fence line and put some grass seed down.  Then we started work on the front garden in February this year.  Our idea was to plant an invertebrate friendly garden full of old fashioned plants that would encourage our moths, beetles, ladybirds and spiders, as well as bees and butterflies. Some of the Flanders poppies re-seeded themselves on the border of the newly installed fence.

Before planting we dug everything over twice more with the help of the Community Payback team – and our thanks to them for all their help, pruning, watering etc. We had made arrangements with the Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses for them to grow some annuals from seed so we were able to plant out Cosmos, Violas, Achillea, Amaranthus, Nicatonia, Borage and Rudbeckia.  We also had some Sisyrinchium that had survived from the old garden.  We also planted out the three Sambucus Nigra that had been the centre pieces of the circular WW1 beds at both Herne Hill and Tulse Hill entrances.

There are a number of Buddleia trees and we have re-sited some so that we have them where they can be seen when the butterflies arrive.  The project will take about five years to truly become a cottage garden but we have begun!

Susy Hogarth, BPCP Secretary

Norwood Lodge community building available for hire

Brockwell poppies-8810Norwood Lodge, no. 54 Brockwell Park Gardens, SE24 9BJ, is a community building available for hire to not for profit groups in Brockwell Park, Brixton, Herne Hill, Tulse Hill and West Norwood.

The Lodge is ideal for community group committee meetings, comfortably seating up to 10 people at meetings in pleasant surroundings with full kitchen access, toilet facilities and a specified space outside. The Lodge can also be set up for consultation events and social gatherings of up to 20 people with sufficient advance notice.

Groups that operate in the Park are entitled to hire the Lodge for free, and community groups based outside the Park can hire at the rate of £10 per hour subject to completion and return of the hire terms and booking form to The Secretary at brockwellparkcommunitypartners@gmail.com