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VIDEO VISIONARY

DIY DYNAMOS

OPEN ALL HOURS

Ibrahim Kamara’s inspiring idea

The men who’ve made it

The convenience stores of SE15

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A free newspaper for Peckham and Nunhead

THE

Issue 17 October/November 2016

PECKHAM PECULIAR

COSMIC COSIMA A girl who’s going places Page 17


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NEWS

DEAR READER, WELCOME TO ISSUE 17 OF THE PECKHAM PECULIAR, A FREE LOCAL NEWSPAPER FOR PECKHAM AND NUNHEAD. This part of south-east London has always been a hotbed of creativity and entrepreneurship – and Cosima, our cover star for this edition, is proof of that fact. The 23-year-old north Peckham resident, who was born and raised here, is a seriously talented singer and songwriter whose first track, Had to Feel Something, has garnered rave reviews. Pictured: The Movement Factory performing at last month’s Peckham Festival. Organisers said the inaugural event, which ran from September 8-11, had a footfall of 13,000 and “great feedback”. Roll on next year!

THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

There’s no doubt that she’s destined for big things, and now she’s signed to Island Records and is working with Amy Winehouse’s former manager, the sky’s the limit. Read our interview with her on page 17. We also met Ibrahim Kamara, an inspiring young entrepreneur from a family of successful Peckham business people. Co-founder of GUAP, the world’s first video magazine, he’s another exciting talent to keep an eye on. Turn to page 12 for more. As big fans of print (obviously!) we were excited to interview Alan and Ricky Hurle from Tadberry Evedale, a longstanding local print and print finishing company based on Philip Walk.

Editors Mark McGinlay, Kate White Production The Creativity Club (http://thecreativity.club)

Alan, who set up the business nearly 30 years ago, produces high-spec printed materials for clients including top West End restaurants. Read our full interview with him and Ricky on page 23.

Photographer Lima Charlie Features editor Emma Finamore

We would like to thank all our advertisers in this issue, some of whom have now been with us for many editions. It’s down to their generosity and support that we’re able to keep printing The Peckham Peculiar, as well as covering our staff and production costs.

Sub-editor Jack Aston Illustrator Alice Feaver (alicefeaver.com)

What’s more, the advertising revenue means that we can continue to invest in creating a high quality community newspaper and put on more pages filled with local journalism, unique photography and strong design.

Contributors Lorna Allan, Charlotte Egan, Linnea Frank, Dan Harder, Seamus Hasson, Louise Kimpton-Nye, Derek Kinrade, Miranda Knox, Alexander McBride Wilson, Sam Oxley, Luke G Williams

Our next issue is the Christmas and new year edition, which hits the streets on December 3 – and it’s going to be a great one. If you’re a local business who would like to advertise with us, please drop us a line at peckhampeculiar@gmail.com.

Marketing and social media Mark McGinlay For editorial and advertising enquiries, please email peckhampeculiar@gmail.com Blog: peckhampeculiar.tumblr.com Twitter: @peckhampeculiar facebook.com/peckhampeculiar instagram.com/peckhampeculiar

Last but not least, we’re always on the lookout for interesting stories about Peckham and Nunhead. If there’s a person or place that you would like to see featured on our pages, please get in touch. We hope you enjoy the issue.

Top tweet Winston Goode (@MistaGoode): “The Peckham Peculiar packs a punch as usual... #SomethingForEveryone”

Mark McGinlay and Kate White

Canavan’s under threat One of Peckham’s best-loved nightspots has been told it does not have permission to operate as a nightclub by Southwark Council. Canavan’s pool club on Rye Lane was investigated by council officers after they received a noise complaint from a local resident. The club has a licence for live and recorded music and dancing indoors until the early hours of the morning. But it has now been ordered to apply for planning permission for change of use from pool hall to bar or nightclub. Owner Ciaran Canavan (pictured), who bought the business in 2011, said he will submit a new planning application but told The Peckham Peculiar that if it is not successful, the council’s restrictions could spell the end for the club. Canavan’s bid to stay open as it is received dozens of comments on the council’s website, with 83 people in favour and three against. One supporter accused the council of “cleansing” the area, while another praised the club’s “safe and friendly” atmosphere. A third said: “Canavan’s is special. It’s one of the few places in Peckham where you get a real proper mix of the community, all demographics and all ages together having a great time.” But a neighbour objecting to the bid referred to recent applications to build flats next to and opposite the club, writing: “More people living here means more will expect to be able to sleep in the early hours of the weekend and not be woken up by drunk people fighting.” Following last month’s ruling, a council spokesman said that any enforcement action against Canavan’s will be suspended for six months to give it time to submit a planning application. Councillor Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “We will work with Canavan’s to keep this popular venue open. This will have to take into account the impact on local residents. “We have asked them to submit a planning application which will be considered as soon as possible. I’m hopeful that if everyone works together to overcome residents’ concerns we can safeguard Canavan’s for many years to come.” Earlier this year the council ruled that Lerryn Whitfield, whose café Corals is just six doors down from Canavan’s, must not allow customers to use the back garden during the day following noise complaints. She is now appealing the decision.

Shaping the future of the Old Kent Road Residents have just one month left to give their views on a series of wide-sweeping changes proposed for the Old Kent Road. Southwark Council is working with the Greater London Authority to prepare a new development plan for the famous road and the surrounding streets, which it says will see the area “transformed”. It is asking local people for their views on the draft Old Kent Road area action plan, which provides a vision and a series of objectives for the street. Once adopted, it will guide new development and growth in the area for the next 20 years. The plan outlines a strategy to build

October/November 2016

20,000 new homes including private rented and social housing, as well as their location, design and height. Some new buildings are proposed to be more than 10 storeys high. It includes policies on how to generate 5,000 jobs and create new space for offices, light industry and artists’ studios. It is also proposing a “revitalised” high street with shopping and other town centre facilities. There will be improvements for cyclists and pedestrians by building new transport links and making existing routes safer; while public transport upgrades will include an extension to the Bakerloo line and two new underground stations.

Peculiar fact Up to 28 primary school classes and 18 secondary school classes will be offered by 2025, with further school places later in the plan period. There will be new parks, a health centre and a community sports centre on Surrey Canal Road. The council is proposing that heritage buildings and existing green space will be sensitively incorporated into the new development to “enable the story of the Old Kent Road to be better appreciated”. To view the draft area action plan and have your say, go to southwark.gov.uk/ oldkentroadaap before November 4.

Dennis Elliott, the original drummer from rock band Foreigner, was born in Peckham.

THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 3


NEWS

The inbetweeners Developers hoping to build four houses on a narrow strip of land between three rows of back gardens in Peckham have submitted new plans for the site after withdrawing their first application in June. William Griffiths Architects have come up with the scheme on behalf of Emerson Property Ltd. They hope to build the homes on the strip of land between Stanbury, Lugard and Hollydale roads. The new plans include one two-bedroom and three four-bedroom properties for private sale. The two-storey houses have private courtyards and their own gardens. They feature black timber cladding and planted roofs. The site is currently used as a builder’s yard “primarily for storage” with “little employment activity” according to the planning application. It features a site office and several derelict workshops and is accessed via a driveway on Stanbury Road. The previous plans, submitted earlier this year, received 13 objections on the council website. One neighbour said: “The area where these new houses will be built is already incredibly crowded. “The new builds will severely reduce sunlight into our house, making it very dark and the noise pollution in the area will also increase, contributing to a negative living environment. Our privacy will be greatly reduced with the new houses overlooking our garden.” Another said: “The proposed development backs right on to the gardens of numerous properties in Stanbury and Hollydale roads in what is a very narrow and restricted piece of land.” A spokesperson for William Griffiths said: “Our

client came to us with a brief to design unique, high quality houses on this dilapidated industrial site. Together we want to create something exciting that will add to the rich tapestry that is the regeneration of Peckham. “The houses are designed to provide exemplary living environments, whilst respecting existing neighbours by not overlooking or blocking light. The scheme echoes the site’s industrial heritage, with green roofs mimicking the existing ivy covered sheds. Extensive planting and new trees add to the environment. “Great emphasis has been placed on sustainability and the scheme incorporates ample bike storage in the expectation that new residents will embrace green forms of transport.” In 2011 Southwark Council refused an application by a different developer to build six homes on the site, due to the proposed properties’ lack of natural light and outdoor space and the “overbearing” impact on neighbours. To view the proposals and have your say, go to tiny.cc/stanburyplans


NEWS

Letter thieves still at large posts. We had to collect our post from the sorting office [on Highshore Road in Peckham] until the situation was resolved.” A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: “Royal Mail temporarily suspended mail deliveries to addresses in and around Cheltenham Road in Nunhead, SE15 from September 9, 2016. “This followed incidents on two separate days where a small amount of mail was stolen from our postman whilst out on deliveries. These incidents are being investigated by the police and Royal Mail is assisting with that investigation. “Letters were sent to affected customers to inform them that their mail would be held at the Peckham delivery office for collection or to arrange delivery to an alternative address. Posters were also displayed in the local area. “Following a further assessment of the area on September 19, deliveries resumed to all addresses on September 20. Delivery staff in the area have been reminded to stay vigilant to keep themselves safe and their customers’ mail secure whilst out on delivery.” She added: “The safety and welfare of our staff is paramount and the suspension of deliveries is always a last resort. We sincerely apologise to customers for any inconvenience this has caused.” A spokesman for the Metropolitan police confirmed that officers from the Southwark team are investigating the incident. No arrests had been made as The Peckham Peculiar went to press.

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Royal Mail has started delivering post to homes in the Cheltenham Road area of Nunhead again after service was suspended following two mail thefts – but police said that no arrests have been made. Addresses on Cheltenham, Stuart and Reynolds roads stopped receiving letters last month after thieves allegedly targeted the local postman and then stole an entire bag of post in two separate incidents. Homes on Hichisson and Borland roads were also cut off. According to one resident, who asked not to be named, on the first occasion a thief attempted to intercept mail from the postman on a doorstep on Cheltenham Road. When the postman refused to give up the letters he was threatened and forced to hand them over. The following day the postman was stopped again, this time by three people who jumped out of a car and stole a post bag. Another person who lives locally said they received a letter about redirection services that they had not requested. The resident said nobody was made aware of the incidents until at least a week later, raising fears that people’s identity could have been stolen in the meantime. Ironically Royal Mail initially tried to notify residents by post, but as service was suspended no letters were received. He added: “I emailed Royal Mail but it took over a week to get a proper response. People including me are worried about identity theft and so we have taken steps to protect our identities through online fraud protection companies. “A local delivery manager has been posting notifications to each address by hand and there are some notifications tied around local lamp

If you have concerns about your postal delivery, contact Royal Mail’s customer service team on 03457 740740.

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NEWS

A helping hand

Homes at last The developer behind plans to build hundreds of new homes on the former Wood Dene estate on Queen’s Road has insisted that the first flats will be completed by 2018 – despite long delays to the project. The Wood Dene estate was demolished in 2007 and new owner Notting Hill Housing association (NHH) received planning permission to redevelop the land with 333 homes – of which 35 per cent will be “affordable” – in July 2013. But work has appeared to progress at a snail’s pace on the five-acre site, which is bordered by Queen’s Road, Meeting House Lane, Carlton Grove and Hollydene. The land has lain derelict for years, with one local resident branding it an “eyesore”. Despite the apparent lack of action, NHH said it has been working on a new energy centre on the site, which will provide heating and hot water to the new homes and the existing Acorn estate next door. Now the centre is finished, contractor Higgins Construction has finally started building work. There will be 117 “affordable” homes, with 54 social rented and 63 available through shared ownership schemes. The remaining 216 will be offered for private sale. The original Wood Dene estate was built in the 1960s and comprised two interlocking, seven-storey blocks housing 323 flats. Of these, 316 were council properties and the remaining seven were privately owned by leaseholders. An NHH spokesman said: “Since planning consent was granted and we took ownership of the site, there has been a period of enabling works, including the construction of a new energy centre and sub-stations that has been ongoing on site for the last 18 months. “These enabling works are now complete and the main contractor has begun construction of the new homes.” He added that the first homes will be finished by mid-2018 with the scheme set to complete in 2019. In addition to new homes, the development will feature community facilities, shops, landscaping and a “pocket park”. A fifth of the new properties will be family homes of three bedrooms or more and there will be car and bicycle parking. NHH chief executive Kate Davies said the scheme will offer “a mixed, sustainable community for residents”, adding: “We are sure the new development will be a great boost to those living in Wood Dene and its neighbouring areas.”

October/November 2016

Fancy getting to know your elderly neighbours over a cup of tea and a natter? Then volunteering with a local outreach charity could be right up your street. Link Age Southwark supports more than 500 elderly people in Peckham, Nunhead and other parts of the borough. It provides regular home visits from a dedicated group of volunteers and runs about 20 groups with activities ranging from craft to computers. Volunteers also accompany elderly people on trips to the shops or to non-medical appointments, as well as offering to help around the house and garden and giving lifts to social events. With an increasing number of clients using its services and more than 70 people on the waiting list, the charity is about to launch an urgent drive to find more SE15-based befrienders – volunteers who can spare an hour or two a week to meet an

elderly person for a chat. Katharine St John-Brooks, chair of Link Age Southwark, said: “Southwark is such a vibrant and diverse London borough but there are still too many older people suffering from loneliness and isolation.

“The good news is that it’s also home to many wonderful people who are willing to give up some spare time to help, whether it’s to pop round for a cup of tea and a chat, or to give someone a lift to a social event they couldn’t get to alone.” Iris, 87, who uses Link Age Southwark, said: “Link Age Southwark has been a lifeline for me. Without volunteers to take me out and a social group to go to I would be completely housebound. “Thanks to the charity I’m able to get out of the house, build friendships and meet people of all ages in the local community. When I was younger I helped older people in so many ways and I urge everyone to get involved with Link Age Southwark and support the incredible work it does.” To find out more about befriending or other types of volunteering with Link Age Southwark, email info@linkagesouthwark.org.

Bags of potential A Peckham-based charity is working with prisoners to create a range of handmade tote and toiletry bags. Pecan Pi is a social enterprise created by Peckham High Street charity Pecan. It has commissioned the limited-edition bags from a prison in the Midlands and is set to run similar projects in London prisons including HMP Thameside in Greenwich. Statistics show that almost 60 per cent of people with short sentences commit another crime within one year of release. But Pecan Pi’s Tessa Evelegh, author of The Great British Sewing Bee, said giving people a meaningful occupation while in jail helps break this cycle. Bag-making brings prisoners together for a normal working day, allowing them to build social and practical skills while taking pride in their work and giving them hope for the future. The bags are made from bright printed fabrics and each one boasts a unique combination of linings, zips and trims. The tote bags are made from the colourful recycled sacks used to transport coffee beans to British roasters. Profit from bag sales goes towards helping people into work with training, job hunting and CV writing skills. Pecan works with Prosper 4 Business, another social enterprise that assists people with criminal convictions with finding jobs and setting up small businesses. For more information or to buy a bag, visit pecanpi.london

New bar for Blenheim Grove The team behind the popular Ali Baba Juice truck have teamed up with Peckham Refreshment Rooms to open a new bar in Peckham, which will launch at the end of September. Located at 12-16 Blenheim Grove, in the former hairdressing salon on the corner of Station Way, the bar will celebrate Peckham produce with juices, cocktails and a food menu that reflects the bright colours of the local markets. Ali Baba Juice was founded in 2014 by Chris Abitbol and Sienna Murdoch in an alleyway near Peckham Rye Station. The duo were inspired by the abundance of diverse goods found on the market stalls of Rye Lane and used juicing as a

way to celebrate the local area. Their unusual flavour combinations, such as puna yam, banana and lime juice, were soon a smash hit with thirsty customers. Other Ali Baba classics include the pineapple, fennel and Sichuan pepper juice, and the apple, kale and basil flavour. Now the pair have joined forces with local bar Peckham Refreshment Rooms to open their first fixed venue. Open from 8am until late, Baba will offer breakfast at the bar, cocktails in the evening and bites in between. The drinks menu will feature Ali Baba Juice’s signature bold flavours and will include an array

of juices, shakes, teas, plum wine sodas and cocktails such as fresh piña coladas and bloody marys. The food offering has been devised in collaboration with Peckham Refreshment Rooms’ chef James Fisher. Expect dishes including halloumi with fresh hot flatbreads and homemade plantain ice cream. The interior design is down to the Refreshment Rooms’ Sven Münder and Red Deer architects and has been built by local carpenter Jack Snell. The look is described as a “minimal and functional aesthetic to let the colours of the fresh produce sing”. THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 11


NEWS

Preserving Peckham Volunteers are tackling food waste in Peckham by using surplus fruit to make their own jam and other preserves, writes Miranda Knox. Since setting up a local food hub last year, the Peckham FoodCycle team have worked tirelessly to reduce food waste in the area, rescuing and distributing more than 7,000kg of unwanted food that would otherwise have been thrown away. It has been used to cook more than 3,300 free meals for local people at weekly Saturday sessions that are open to everyone. They take place at All Saints Church on Blenheim Grove. Nearly all the fruit has been donated by Rye Lane traders, Sainsbury’s on Dog Kennel Hill and General Store on Bellenden Road, with volunteers then turning it into a variety of jams and preserves. So far they’ve raised more than £200 from jam sales alone, with the majority of proceeds going to the Peckham-based Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers (SDCAS). They plan to make another batch over the coming months. FoodCycle volunteers came up with the idea to produce their own jams just before Christmas last year, after they received lots of donations of perishable goods. They soon expanded the range to include chutneys and marmalade. Hub leader and project coordinator Sam Oxley, 28, said: “We often had vast amounts of a particular fruit donated and didn’t want it to go to waste, so we decided to make preserves initially, and the idea grew from there. “We made our first batch of jam before Christmas and it was really popular – it made great homemade gifts, so we’re planning to do the same again this year.

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“Since then we’ve experimented with flavours and in Ready Steady Cook style, we’ve used whatever we have been donated. We’ve made strawberry and raspberry jam, a pineapple glaze for ham, mango chutney, spiced beetroot chutney, marmalade and peach jam.” This summer FoodCycle teamed up with Peckham resident Manuel Monade – founder of social enterprise the Peckham Cart – to produce doughnuts filled with their own jam. They were sold for a suggested donation of £2. The doughnuts were stocked by local businesses including Hop Burns and Black and Slow Richie’s in Brick Brewery. Sales of the sweet treats made about £100 per week, with all profits going to SDCAS. Richie Calver, co-founder of Slow Richie’s, said: “We were really pleased to be an outlet for the doughnuts. We believe in zero food waste, so the work that FoodCycle and Peckham Cart are doing is close to our hearts.” Oxley added: “The joint efforts of FoodCycle and Peckham Cart really showed how communities can come together to help others in fun and exciting ways. The support we’ve had from local businesses to sell the jam and doughnuts has been amazing. “We’re also very grateful to All Saints Church for allowing us to use their kitchen space. The reaction has been great and we’d like to continue to increase the amount we can raise for good causes.” To find out more or to volunteer, go to foodcycle.org. uk. Instagram: @peckham_foodcycle.


NEWS

Sign with a story

CAMERA PRESS PHOTO

The former offices of a Peckham lawyer whose clients included Ronnie and Reggie Kray were revealed last month after years hidden from view. The stone-carved sign of Ralph Haeems & Co was concealed behind a banner belonging to the Redeemed Christian Church of God, which was the last tenant to occupy the upper floors of 133 Rye Lane. Last year the building was bought by developer Frame Property, which has won planning permission to refurbish the property and turn it into a co-working space with a bar and restaurant. Ralph Haeems was known as London’s leading criminal defence solicitor from the 1960s onwards. According to his obituary in the Guardian, there was hardly a south London crook worthy of the title who didn’t beat a path to his door. In addition to the Kray twins, his clients included George Ince, who was acquitted of The Barn restaurant murder in Braintree, transvestite bank robber David Martin and serial killer Dennis Nilsen. Another notorious name on his roster was Russell Bishop, who was cleared of the Brighton Babes in the Woods murders (but later jailed for life for another attempted killing). He is also said to have acted for several police officers. Haeems was born in 1940 in India where his family worked in education. He studied engineering at Bombay University and moved to London with just £4 in his pocket to study for a master’s in chemistry. He got a job as an office junior and apprentice to solicitor Emmanuel “Manny” Fryde of criminal

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practice Sampson and Co, which acted for some of London’s most infamous villains. Clients at the firm, which was conveniently located a stone’s throw from the Old Bailey, included the Great Train Robbery gang member Charlie Wilson. Quickly gaining a reputation for his shrewd judgement and hard work ethic, in 1964 Haeems helped set out the Krays’ defence against allegations of blackmail in the Hideaway Club case, for which they were acquitted. In 1969 he acted for the duo again when he prepared their defence against the murder charges of Jack “the hat” McVitie and George Cornell. This time the twins were sentenced to life imprisonment. Haeems remained at Sampson and Co until 1977, when he left to set up his own practice and bought premises at 9 Blenheim Grove in Peckham. The address was no accident; he was a superstitious man who regarded nine as his lucky number. By 1984 Haeems was working at 133 Rye Lane and had broadened his client list to include those accused of white collar fraud and moneylaundering. Several of his cases helped establish new law. Not surprisingly, given the nature of his work, Haeems was careful to distance himself from his clients and maintained a strictly professional relationship at all times. He inspired strong loyalty among his staff, with several of his team continuing to work for him until they were well into their 80s. Haeems passed away in 2005 aged 64.


GIORGIS MEDIA PHOTO

EVENTS

Get with the programme THIS YEAR’S BLACK HISTORY MONTH PROMISES TO BE THE BEST ONE YET, WITH A VARIED LINE-UP OF EVENTS INCLUDING SPOKEN WORD PERFORMANCES, PHOTOGRAPHY, HISTORY WALKS, AUTHOR TALKS AND MORE. Here are our highlights POP-UP SHOP Peckham community group PemPeople (People Empowering People) will be teaming up with local artists and organisations to put on a programme of interesting and exciting activities celebrating African and Caribbean culture. Expect photo exhibitions, film nights, open mic sessions and other events from October 1-23 in PemPeople’s pop-up shop at 91 Peckham High Street. For full details of what’s on, follow @pempeople on Twitter or call 07859 821918.

ONE FOR THE KIDS Mylo Freeman and Sade Fadipe will be leading an afternoon of African storytelling on October 2. Mylo is the creator of the popular Princess Arabella children’s picture books, while Sade is the writer behind A Fun ABC. The afternoon is aimed at children aged three to seven and their families and promises to be a humorous and engaging experience. It starts at 2pm at Peckham Library, 122 Peckham Hill Street.

PERFORMING ARTS Inspire New Creative Performing Arts (INCPA) will invite budding actors to use drama and performing arts to explore the lives of African American personalities who have changed the course of history, from civil rights leaders and business people to artists and musicians. INCPA will be running four sessions on October 4, 11, 18 and 25 at the Wickway Community October/November 2016

Centre on St George’s Way. Visit incpa.org.uk, email biancahuttonwood@yahoo.com or call 07535 408348.

CREATIVE WORKSHOPS Local gallery Peckham Platform is also involved in this year’s celebrations, with a series of free workshops for all ages. They will be led by a group of young BAME female artists called the Missing Chapter Collective. The drop-in sessions at the Peckham Square gallery will take place on October 6 from 6-7.30pm (13 to 19 year olds); and on October 8, 15 and 22 from 11am-4pm (all ages). Visit peckhamplatform.com or email jess@ peckhamplatform.com to find out more.

EVELYN DOVE An unmissable talk at Camberwell Library will see the author and historian Stephen Bourne present his new biography on the fascinating life of Evelyn Dove, a black British singer and actress who was a BBC radio and TV star. The event takes place on October 14, 6-7.30pm in the library at 48 Camberwell Green. Tickets are free but advance booking is essential. Got to tiny. cc/evelyndove to bag your place and for more details, email office@jacarandabooksartmusic. co.uk.

ALL ABOUT HAIR Art, photography and sculpture inspired by the

traditions and symbolism of African hair will be installed in Peckham hair salon Me’Lange from October 15-29. Visitors will discover the cultural importance of braiding and of hair as a symbol of rebellion, pride and empowerment. Don’t miss the opening night on October 15, 7-9pm at Me’Lange, 3 Blenheim Grove. Book your free tickets to the evening at tiny.cc/ hairitage and for more details, email melissajo@ illuminated-arts.com or call 020 7732 9383.

HISTORY WALK On October 16 history-lovers are invited to join the Camberwell Amble – an interactive walking tour that will take in more than 400 years of Camberwell’s black history. Walkers will discover the local activists, performers and other residents who have left a lasting legacy. The walks will take place from 11.30am-1pm and 3-4.30pm. They start at Brunswick Park and finish at Love Walk in Denmark Hill. For details, email charliefolorunsho@yahoo.co.uk or call 07789 552450.

AUTHOR TALK Bestselling novelist, journalist and former agony uncle Mike Gayle will discuss his career and read an extract from his new book The Hope Family Calendar – a bittersweet tale of a father struggling to raise two daughters after the loss of his wife. The event takes place on October 18, 7pm at Camberwell Library and is for adults only. It is

free to attend but advance booking is essential. Go to southwarklibs.eventbrite.com to secure your tickets.

LAGOS RISING Over at Peckham Library, publisher Bibi BakareYusuf and crime writer Leye Adenle are hosting an evening event on October 19 called Lagos Rising, which will focus on Cassava Republic Press. Cassava is an African publishing house that launched in the UK in April this year with the aim of “changing the way the world thinks about African writing”. The event is free to attend but tickets must be booked in advance via southwarklibs.eventbrite.com.

SPOKEN WORD Four talented spoken word performers – Patricia Foster, Zena Edwards, Suléy Muhidin and Janett Plummer – will give audiences an insight into their lives with their moving, funny, fierce and inspirational poetry. The evening takes place on October 21, 7pm at Camberwell Library. It’s free to come along but tickets must be booked in advance via southwarklibs.eventbrite.com. The event is for adults only. Pictured clockwise from left: Zena Edwards, Patricia Foster, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf and Mike Gayle. For the full list of events taking place, go to southwark.gov.uk/blackhistorymonth THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 11


GUAP

Going global PECKHAM-BORN ENTREPRENEUR IBRAHIM KAMARA IS CO-FOUNDER OF GUAP, THE WORLD’S FIRST VIDEO MAGAZINE, WHICH HAS ALREADY WON MULTIPLE AWARDS. He tells us why youth culture and empowerment are at the heart of what he does WORDS EMMA FINAMORE

At the beginning of 2015, Ibrahim Kamara bought a diary. In it, he wrote his goal for that year: “Start a business.” In just a few months he was co-founder of the world’s first ever video magazine. Born on the Old Kent Road, 21-year-old Ibrahim was surrounded by go-getters from the start. His parents – from Sierra Leone – have both opened numerous businesses in Peckham over the years, on Rye Lane and Peckham Hill Street. Nowadays his mum runs a charity in Sierra Leone and his dad organises Sierra-Fest – a yearly festival in Burgess Park celebrating the culture of 12 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

Sierra Leone. In short, a family of entrepreneurs, rooted in Peckham. Ibrahim studied accounting and finance at university, but when he got down to the last four applicants for a spot on a PwC placement scheme, he made a big decision about his future. “Before the interview I thought, ‘If I don’t get this, I’m never going to apply for a job ever again,’” he says. “I didn’t get it, and I was very disappointed – the whole process really made me doubt myself and my ability. I decided that I wouldn’t put myself in that position again.”

The experience further inspired him to start his own business. “I didn’t know what it was going to be,” he says, “but I knew that by July 2015 I had to have one.” Ibrahim teamed up with university friend Jide Adetunji, with whom he’d organised events in the past. They decided to found GUAP. “In street terms, ‘guap’ means ‘money’, or at least it used to,” says Ibrahim. “We thought the business would make money, so it worked. Then we created an acronym for it, because we didn’t want it to just stand for money.

We came up with ‘Great Understanding And Power’. “From the get-go we wanted to make it inspirational as well as entertaining; we wanted anyone who came into contact with us to get that.” Initially their idea was to publish a collection of online video interviews with young people doing inspirational things, but then Ibrahim discovered augmented reality – the integration of digital information with live video. The technology takes an existing picture and blends new information into it; in GUAP’s case, a October/November 2016


GUAP reader hovers their phone over a page, and (using an app called Layar) watches as it comes to life on their screen. Interviewees speak and move and music plays. “We researched whether anyone had done it in the UK, thinking we were the first video magazine here,” says Ibrahim. “Then we realised that all over the world, although people have used the tech for adverts, no one has used it for actual features.” He shows me an example as we sit chatting, and it’s seriously impressive. But the video element is only one part of GUAP – the magazine’s subject matter is just as important. For Ibrahim, the essential ingredients of inspiration and entertainment underpin everything the magazine does. “We’ll speak to anyone who’s doing something. We’ll put a big star in America alongside someone who’s just coming up. We had Beyoncé’s dance captain, and in this issue we’ve got a rapper who had a big number one. “It’s not just music though – there’s fashion, photography, up and coming models, even business. We’re always at events, always on the lookout for new talent. I say we’re sort of doing A&R but across all fields.” A quick glance at the website demonstrates this. A rapper/grime artist from Greenwich (DC) rubs shoulders with a south London actress (Thea Gajic) and a young fashion blogger (Vintage Doll Risa), and yes, Beyoncé’s dance captain. The latest issue also features headline-grabbing London rapper J Hus’ first ever magazine cover – quite a coup for a publication that’s barely a year and a half old. All this hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. The GUAP boys won the United Artists Contribution to Culture Award in September 2015, and a BEFFTA (Black Entertainment, Film, Fashion, Television and Arts) award nomination for Magazine of the

Year in October. They’re making an impression in the world of celebrity too: the GUAP media pack lists an impressive roster of notable online followers, with Idris Elba, Rick Ross, Wiley and Skepta among them. Ibrahim and Jide even appeared on BBC Radio 1Xtra as part of a series called DIY Generation, which focuses on inspirational young people who’ve come up with an idea and made it happen. Ibrahim shoots all the videos for GUAP and does the photos and the design side, while Jide takes care of events and the business side. But there’s more to the brand than the magazine, and as the boys have just decided to make the product free (originally it was subscriber only), other income channels are essential. There’s the website, which shares content relevant to GUAP readers, and a YouTube channel featuring a collection of GUAP magazine videos, documentaries and music videos created by the team. Then there are GUAP events like GCheck at Rye Wax and parties at the Bussey Building (complete with queues going all the way down Rye Lane), creating a platform for young performers, singers, rappers and spoken word artists, as well as fashion events. For Ibrahim, it’s important that GUAP events happen around here, where he’s from. “I’ve grown up in Peckham, and it was only a few months ago that I realised this place [Rye Wax] was here,” he says. “Most people think you have to go to Shoreditch to get this kind of thing. So as soon as I discovered it, I knew I wanted to have as many events here as we could. Being from south London I don’t want to have to go to east London. We’re trying to make this a spot among young people.” This connects with the GUAP founders’

principle of inspiring their peers, and making sure the effects are felt in the neighbourhoods they care about. Ibrahim speaks about the aforementioned GUAP cover star J Hus, a rapper who turned his back on gang culture only to suffer violent consequences, but who bounced back in spite of this. “He’s a very inspiring man,” says Ibrahim. “I could never be demotivated in my work – every single person has a story to tell that can be inspiring to another person. It will resonate with someone out there. “We’re trying to show young people a different way. Where I’m from a lot of young people go down the wrong path. We want to show them that there are so many career paths out there. “Most youths grow up not knowing some of these interesting jobs even exist. Who knew you could make money just from social media, or doing PR for an act? These are roles that lots of young people don’t know about. We want to show them that whatever their talent, there’s a job out there.” Ibrahim knows only too well the impact of this lack of encouragement early on in life. When we meet it’s just a week after the tragic death of 16-year-old rapper Showkey, who was stabbed outside a party in Peckham. “He was set to be big,” says Ibrahim, shaking his head. “He’d just dropped a freestyle that got so many views, and then it’s literally all over. My little sister was at that party.” He tells me that he and a friend were discussing violence the other day, after hearing the news of Showkey’s death. “When someone dies, we’re not even shocked, and we realised how bad that is,” he says. “We’re not meant to think that death is OK. To us it’s normal, but it really, really shouldn’t be. We’re not meant to think this is OK. But this is

where we’re from, and this is what we know.” Ibrahim says creative outlets are vital for opening up doors for young people. “Most young people in, I’ll say it, ‘the hood’, ‘the ends’, think that football or music are the only things you can do,” he says. “They don’t know you could be a music manager, a music photographer. All these roles are just as important as the artist.” Ibrahim is still very much involved in local life, and it’s really important for him to stay true to his roots. “I’ll always speak the same way, I’ll always be the same,” he says. “I need to show people that you can be from around here and do something else.” When we speak he’s in the middle of building the website for the upcoming Afrikans on Film Festival, which took place at the Bussey Building in September. He knows Nicholas Okwulu, of local community group PemPeople, and is about to use one of the organisation’s spaces as a retail platform for young independent fashion brands. “I feel like we’ve done a lot,” he says. “Recognition is really important – we’re from south London, but we’re going to music labels and events all over the city and there’s always at least one person who knows GUAP. “It makes me happy because you don’t know how far your work is going. So when people come up to you in real life and love your work, it’s a nice feeling. “Next, we want to go global, to become an international brand and create more ways for young people to engage with the brand: Londonwide, nationwide, Europe-wide, and then the world. We’ve got no plans of stopping.” If this is GUAP just getting started, I can’t wait to see where it goes next. To find out more about GUAP, follow Ibrahim on Twitter @IbrahimKamara_ and visit guap.co.uk


DIY

Male bonding GENERATIONS OF MEN HAVE SOUGHT SANCTUARY FROM THE WORLD IN THEIR TRUSTY GARDEN SHEDS. Now a communal one has opened in Peckham, giving men over 50 a chance to make and mend things while swapping skills and socialising WORDS LUKE G WILLIAMS PHOTOS LIMA CHARLIE

The UK Men’s Sheds Association defines a “men’s shed” as “a larger version of the typical man’s shed in the garden”. The aim of these community-based sheds is to offer a space where men can share tools, resources and skills to work on projects that interest them. The men’s sheds phenomenon began in Australia, where there are now more than 1,000 in operation. Such sheds are regarded as a vital part of the country’s health infrastructure, through their ability to bring men together and promote improved mental and physical health, as well as employability. Thanks to the work of the charity Age UK Lewisham and Southwark, Peckham now possesses a men’s shed of its own, in the form of the Menders Club, an initiative that was launched this year thanks to lottery funding and is fast developing into a vital and much-needed resource for local men over the age of 50. Age UK Lewisham and Southwark’s community partnerships and participation manager Claire Gaulier, the mastermind behind the project, explains how the Menders Club idea came about. “The club is part of a project called Communities Living Well, in which we set up free activities for local older people with the support of local groups, businesses and volunteers,” she says. 14 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

“With our original projects, we didn’t deliberately target women but it was mostly women who came to the activities we offered. Activities often depended on the volunteers’ interests and it was mainly women who volunteered, so we decided to provide something that was specifically aimed at men.” The Menders Club was the outcome of this desire to further engage the male community, particularly those among the over-50 age group – where unemployment rates are often high, and many men find that their social options are limited to the working men’s club, the betting shop or the pub. “Many of our members want to feel useful,” Claire explains. “The majority are in their late 50s or early 60s. Some are still at work and some have been made redundant, but whatever their background, the group helps them keep busy, pursue their interests and exchange skills. “The idea is for them to meet up, think of projects and be able to dream a bit as well as learn new skills. It’s about getting out of the house and doing things they might not otherwise be able to do or have the space to do. “For example, several members of the group have talked about wanting to fix bikes. Another member is a French polisher who works in a hotel and just wants a space in which he can

create things that aren’t related to his work.” The logistics of finding a location for the Menders Club, as well as the necessary insurance cover to allow members to operate sometimes complex machinery, have been difficult, delaying the amount of practical work that the group has been able to embark on so far and leading to several moves of venue. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm of the core members of the club is undimmed, despite these teething problems. “The group started meeting at the end of March but because of the insurance issues we weren’t able to start in the workshop until September,” Claire says. “But the group are still here and are so enthusiastic. They’ve printed their own T-shirts, they’ve designed their own logo, they have their own Twitter account [@ClubMenders] and they’ve even created a small promotional video about the group. The funding ends in November but as long as we have the right people and we have a space, everything will be OK.” While Claire has been responsible for the logistics of the project, the group’s day-to-day facilitator is Axel Sabass, the lead volunteer who now works for the charity as their main handyperson. I caught up with Axel and several members of the Menders Club after being invited along

one Friday to the old Peckham Library building on Peckham Hill Street, where they have been meeting for several months. After a warm welcome from the group, including tea and biscuits, Axel explains how they operate. “We meet every Friday from 10am until 2pm,” he tells me. “As well as learning new skills, the Menders Club is also about social interaction, so we start off with a tea or coffee and a chance to share our experiences and thoughts since the last meeting. “Then we discuss ideas we want to explore and talk about visits to other sheds. We’re openminded about what activities will take place – whether it’s bike repair, computer repair or something else.” When asked to explain the impact the group has had on participants, Axel pinpoints the importance of men being able to access a safe and positive social space. “Men often have a very macho mindset and refuse to admit weakness,” he says. “You know, it’s that attitude of, ‘I’m alright, mate!’ “But if you are over 40 or 50 and suddenly find yourself unemployed it can be very hard to find work and loneliness can develop. I don’t want to say anything negative about job centres, but once you get sucked into that cycle it gets you down.” October/November 2016


DIY Axel admits that he speaks from personal experience. “I’m 59 now,” he says. “I was a carpenter and a site foreman for many years but had to give it up because of health issues. Later I worked in IT and web design but then I was unemployed for a few years. “At my age I found it very hard to find work. Once many employers find out someone is over 50 they don’t always consider them, as they think there won’t be any return on their investment. “In 2014 I started as a volunteer for Age UK Lewisham and Southwark. I did graphic design for them and this volunteering ultimately proved to be a route back into employment for me. Around December last year Claire asked if I’d be interested in helping to start up this enterprise and I said yes.” Axel stresses that the men who attend the Menders Club come from a wide range of backgrounds and circumstances. “The group is very varied. We have people who are retired, people who are unemployed, people who are working, people with health issues and people with special needs. It’s a mixed environment and we want to be completely inclusive, as well as helpful to people. “Hopefully the Menders Club can be a stepping stone to employment for some people, while for others who are maybe retired and lonely, we hope to take them out of their loneliness in a positive way. “The location in Peckham is also important; in this area a lot of people live in small flats and don’t have the facilities to repair or make things at home, so we provide them with that opportunity. “Our guys here are joyful and positive and there’s an attitude of ‘we can do it’. It’s a relaxed atmosphere but also serious. We’re a very friendly, open-minded and welcoming

environment and we are always open to new members.” It’s certainly striking when speaking to the members how much the Menders Club already means to them. “I retired about six years ago,” Arthur, one of the regular members, tells me. “Coming to the Menders Club is a great way

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of meeting people. After both my parents died I was at a bit of a loose end and had a couple of episodes of depression. The way many people deal with that is to go drinking in the pub. That’s what I used to do. “Getting out of the house is so important – if you just sit at home it’s no good and if you sit

drinking in the pub it only makes things worse. The Menders Club is a way of looking outwards rather than inwards and I’ve found that very useful. I enjoy coming here, I like the people, I get on with them and there’s no pressure.” Another member, Alan, concurs. “It’s great to come here and meet other people, and find out more about life and what other people have done,” he tells me. “The Menders Club is about helping each other out and cooperation. My skills are in metalwork but I’m looking forward to learning from others about woodwork, or about repairing bikes. You don’t have to be brilliant at any of these skills to join us. “Everyone has gifts that they can share and it’s great to work with other people, it gives you a broader perspective. Society tends to write people off when they are over 50 and see us as old age pensioners, but there’s a lot of scope for us. We over-50s certainly aren’t finished!” One big challenge that lies ahead for the Menders Club is the fact that their current base at the old Peckham Library building, provided by local charity Pecan, is earmarked for demolition in early 2017. “We will need a new base,” Axel admits. “So we are looking for that as well as for further funding and sponsorship within the community. We’re reaching out to companies in order to build relationships that will help us sustain the group. Donations of anything such as tools or materials are also always welcome.” For more information about Communities Living Well projects or to donate tools and materials, email living.well@ageuklands.org.uk or call 020 7358 4079. The Menders Club is open every Friday at 167 Peckham Hill Street from 10am-2pm and anybody is welcome to pop in and find out more.


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MUSIC

Soulful songstress COSIMA’S INTOXICATING DEBUT TRACK HAD TO FEEL SOMETHING HAS BEEN ONE OF THIS YEAR’S STANDOUT SINGLES. With

a string of rave reviews already under her belt, this north Peckham resident is set to be a big star

WORDS EMMA FINAMORE PHOTO LIMA CHARLIE

If you follow music, you might have noticed a buzz about Cosima on blogs and websites recently, and her name in plenty of retweets. If you opened up the Sunday Times or checked out Dazed’s playlist, you would definitely have seen her mentioned. You might not have spotted her hometown though: Peckham. Growing up just off the Old Kent Road, 23-yearold Cosima is “Peckham born and raised”, with German and Cuban heritage. Now she’s producing her own unique blend of alternative pop electronica – check out her brilliant breakthrough track, Had to Feel Something – and is making a splash in the music world, even featuring on tracks by UK producer and BANKS collaborator Lil Silva. It all started on a music course at what is now Pimlico Academy, where Cosima says she won a place with nothing but an “enthusiastic Judy Garland impersonation”. By 18 she’d decided that singing was the thing for her and in a bold move, she went to live in Germany for a year to stay with her grandparents and focus on her art. During the course of her stay, she met an opera singer in her grandfather’s mountaineering club (a far cry from the Old Kent Road) and ended up taking singing lessons with her. Their meeting was serendipitous. The opera singer helped Cosima discover and cultivate her unique vocal style – deep, sensual and melancholy – which is part of what makes her stand out today. Back home in London she began producing October/November 2016

her own work. A true millennial, she used her bedroom as a studio, struggling to get to grips with music production programmes. She did manage to record some demos though, and published one on SoundCloud. “I was really frustrated one week – my voice wasn’t sounding great, and my mum was getting annoyed with me moping around – so I put a track up on a whim,” she says. “That’s how I met my manager.” At first it seemed too good to be true, “but then he found my email address somewhere in the depths of the internet and I thought, ‘Hmm. Either you’re a serial killer, or you’re genuinely who you say you are,’” she laughs. Luckily it was the latter. And it wasn’t just any manager either – it was Nick Shymansky, senior A&R manager at Island Records, the man who discovered Amy Winehouse and who now manages high profile artists like La Roux. The partnership has opened up a whole world of opportunity and Island Records is giving Cosima space and time to grow. “I think you need to find out what kind of sounds you want to make, what kind of artist you are,” she says. “I feel really lucky.” When I ask who her favourite artists are, her eyes light up. “Stevie Wonder’s childhood voice is amazing – it’s the dream voice of a woman,” she says. “I listen to a lot of jazz; Aretha Franklin. I’m a music fiend, really. While my friends are going out I spend my weekends at home watching

something like four music documentaries a night – there’s a Harry Nilsson one that I love.” Her Cuban heritage has been just as key to her music as the German side of her family too: “I’ve always loved Cuban music,” she says. “La Lupe [a groundbreaking 1960s Cuban singer, known as the ‘queen of Latin soul’] is one of my ultimate icons.” While her own music sounds completely contemporary, Cosima is strongly influenced by the past. “So much music has existed and I just want to catch up with all that,” she says. “I always wonder, what if I died without discovering someone who I would have really loved?” With this romantic outlook, it makes sense that lyrics and poetry are at the centre of her work. “I’m obsessed with words, that’s the big thing for me. I read as much as possible,” she says. “The first writer whose lyrics I read was probably Leonard Cohen – I felt something between total awe and raging jealousy. Kris Kristofferson is probably my favourite lyricist of all time; nobody tells stories the way that he does. “I’ve always been totally obsessed by lyrics and their delivery,” she adds. “You could be listening to a Nina Simone version of a song and be weeping, but then a Sammy Davis Jr version of the same song would have you dancing.” It’s against this backdrop, with a focus on mood, texture and lyrics, that her first track Had to Feel Something was produced. It premiered

on Noisey – Vice’s music platform – and was named track of the week in the Sunday Times’ Culture supplement. “That was really cool,” Cosima says excitedly, of the buzz surrounding her first release. “When you’re making art or music, or anything really, it can feel so intimate that you’re in a bubble. “You have your own interpretation of who you are, but when work is released it kind of puts that into perspective. When you make art you just want to put it out into the world.” As for other young people hoping to pursue a music career, she says: “I’m not sure if I’m in a position to give advice yet, but the thing that has worked for me so far is to make use of all the free learning facilities that are available now. “You can watch almost any music documentary online, get amazing lectures and courses on iTunes U and so much more. I find that really exciting. I think it’s important to know the thing you want to go into – like music – inside out.” She has also made the most of Peckham’s resources: “I discovered a lot of music just by borrowing CDs from the local libraries. And I took dance classes at Theatre Peckham, which was a wonderful thing to have access to.” When I catch up with Cosima again just a few weeks later, she is in the middle of directing a music video. With a career moving this fast, who knows what she’ll be doing this time next year. Whatever it is though, you can be sure that she’ll be doing it with feeling. THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 17


PECKHAM IN PICTURES

For your convenience WORDS AND PHOTOS LINNEA FRANK

The newsagents of Peckham and Nunhead are right in the middle of the community, providing us with whatever we might need at any particular moment. They sell everything from greeting cards and nail files to plantain chips and baked beans. Working in a shop like this gives you a serious insight into the community around you, the good and the bad. Newsagents know what sells and what doesn’t; at what hour people buy wine and when they need safety pins. Many of the people who run the newsagents have been doing so for a long time. Girish Patel has been in the area for more than two decades and has worked at Rye News for the last 16 years. The Rye Lane shop has an amazing range of greeting cards, sellotape, magazines and sweets. Girish says the best thing about the job is being in the middle of Peckham, meeting and talking

18 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

to people all day. He enjoys watching as things happen and change, “for the better, too”. Chetna Patel (no relation) has run Yogi News for the last 30 years. The Bellenden Road shop is simultaneously a newsagent, copy shop and convenience store and stocks design magazines, toys and bottle openers on top of the usual Oyster cards, lollipops and gum. Now populated by coffee shops and vintage stores, Bellenden Road was certainly a different place when Chetna first settled in Peckham. She tells me how the last 10 years have been “lovely, calm” for her family and the business. Peckham is changing and people come and go, but the newsagents continue to provide the small but necessary things in life, their owners knowing more than most what we need and what is happening around us.

October/November 2016


PECKHAM IN PICTURES

October/November 2016

THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 19


PECKHAM IN PICTURES

20 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

October/November 2016


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PECKHAM PEOPLE

Long live print BESPOKE PRINTING COMPANY TADBERRY EVEDALE IS RUN BY FATHER AND SON TEAM ALAN AND RICKY HURLE. The Peckham-based

business produces high quality printed materials for clients including top West End restaurants WORDS EMMA FINAMORE

Turn off Peckham Rye on to Philip Walk and you’ll see what looks like a normal south London residential street. But tucked away behind the terraces is a hive of activity: a car park buzzing with vans and people ferrying boxes into various units. At one end sits a textiles depot, with men stacking piles of neatly folded fabrics; at the other end there’s a food warehouse. Sandwiched in between them is Tadberry Evedale Ltd, a bespoke print and print finishing company that has been based here for almost 30 years. Alan Hurle and his son Ricky run the business together. Alan’s been in south-east London all his life – living in Dulwich and Camberwell, working in Peckham – and Ricky grew up on Camberwell Grove, one of the area’s best-loved streets. Alan has worked in print since he was 15, when he did a six-year apprenticeship at a mail order company. He ended up running their print department and founding a printworks near Choumert Grove. Then in 1987 he moved on and set up Tadberry Evedale in the building on Philip Walk. “Believe it or not this property used to be the old London to Dover stagecoach stop,” says Alan. “So in the mid-1800s this is where the stagecoaches would have changed horses, maybe rested, and then moved on to London. All these units were originally stables. Although the floor’s now concreted over, the old cobblestones are still underneath.” When they were installing a particularly heavy machine and had to dig a trench for it to sit in, the team found clay pipes, horseshoes and bridles – evidence of the building’s long history and standing in Victorian times. But back in the present day, Alan and Ricky October/November 2016

have a very different role: taking care of London’s restaurants. Despite it being a relatively slow year for the print business, these high-end clients are helping to keep Tadberry Evedale ticking over. “We look after most of the West End places – Raymond Blanc, The Wolesley, The Delaunay,” Alan says. “We produce printed items for them, which can be anything from a cake box to a placemat.” Another client is Corbin & King Limited, which owns a range of London restaurants such as Brasserie Zédel in Piccadilly, Colbert in Sloane Square and The Beaumont in Mayfair. And sure enough, when we take a tour of the printworks, there are boxes piled up all around the warehouse marked with instantly recognisable names: Polpo, Annabel’s, the Groucho Club, Harry’s Bar. The other arm of the business is bespoke and high-spec printing. Father and son list the techniques that can go into producing a high quality piece for a client: laminating, duplexing, graining, foil blocking (or hot foil stamping) and die-cutting. There are fashion catalogues with heavily textured covers, sleek modern architectural catalogues and a run of cloth-bound, illustrated books with green fabric stretched over the cover, creating a vintage, heritage look. “You wouldn’t catch us printing pizza flyers. It’s just not our bag,” Alan says. The team also produce training and staff materials for high street banks such as HSBC, as well as one-offs like a nifty fold-up money box that Alan designed himself, encouraging children opening up their first bank account to start saving the pennies. Tadberry Evedale clearly has a reputation for

quality and most of their clients have been with them for more than 20 years. There are 12 workers at the press, all with specialist roles. Then there are printers, packers, specialist finishers and those who deal with clients. Alan describes the printworks as a “rabbit warren”, and he’s right. Every room seems to lead to another behind it, and each one thuds and whirs with the sounds of industry, all with the varnish-like smell of wet ink. Shiny new Apple Macs and huge, modernlooking machines sit alongside beautiful 1950s letterpresses, which would once have held block letters and have since been restored for modern use. Asked how the industry has changed since he started out, Alan says: “It would be like asking my great grandfather what he thought of the internet. And that’s within 20 years, since the 90s.” Digital printing has changed everything for people in the print industry. Litho, the process used by Tadberry Evedale, has historically had some advantages over digital – for big print runs it’s more economical, and there are fewer size restrictions, for example – but that gap is closing as digital technology improves. “The thing is, for quantity litho is by far the better method, but digital – using toners and various mediums to apply ink to paper – has come on leaps and bounds,” says Alan. Despite this, he’s using digital to his advantage. Tadberry Evedale’s sister company, Blue Wave, is a digital printers based in the unit next door. The two help each other out with jobs whenever they can and support each other with their specialisms. The internet is another threat to litho print businesses. Ricky and Alan show me a 400page catalogue they used to print, which would

earn the company about £50,000 a year. “That catalogue? It’s online now,” says Alan. “And that’s just one example.” Tightening purse strings all over the country have also taken their toll. “It’s kind of a catch 22; as people reduce their overheads and costs, and try to make the product cheaper to maintain profits, it pushes the whole market down,” says Alan. He talks about other printers who’ve spent a “fortune” on new machines in an attempt to keep clients or win new business. “Still, we’re seeing companies go bust every week,” he says. “In our industry the rate of closures is horrendous.” But the future looks a little more secure for Tadberry Evedale at least. For their specialist, more demanding work they can earn a slightly higher rate, and their skills are valued. “A lot of what we do is very interesting work,” Alan says. “I still have a great deal of interest in it, and I enjoy it. And after 50 years in the industry, clients often need my help, especially on the design side of things.” This love for the art and craft of printing has been with Alan and Tadberry Evedale since the beginning – Alan attended Camberwell College of Art – and they support it in a very real way. Every year, the company gives design students at Goldsmiths the chance to design their annual calendar. “It helps them understand the processes and how they work, things like UV coating and embossing,” says Alan, showing me the 2016 example. Themed on “tales of London”, it’s a thing of real beauty, with everything from glittering Art Deco inspired pages to modernist impressions of Canary Wharf. “We work closely with them for every calendar,” says Alan. “We’ve been doing it for 25 years.” Here’s hoping for another 25. THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 23


THANK THANK YOU YOU PECKHAM! PECKHAM! for a great first festival

We are already planning for next year, if you want to get involved or if you have any comments or suggestions contact us at oi@peckhamfestival.org


MADE IN PECKHAM

Music man SEAN ASH SWAPPED A CAREER IN IT FOR INSTRUMENT-MAKING AND NOW SPENDS HIS DAYS CRAFTING BESPOKE MANDOLINS, GUITARS AND UKULELES IN HIS PECKHAM-BASED WORKSHOP. He talks us through the fascinating process WORDS LOUISE KIMPTON-NYE PHOTOS ALEXANDER MCBRIDE WILSON

When I get chatting to professional luthier Sean Ash at his workshop in Print Village on Chadwick Road, the first thing that strikes me is his passion for his work. Each instrument he makes is unique, made to order to customers’ requirements. As he talks, it’s clear that the process of making these pieces is as important as the final product; he really puts his heart and soul into it. “This is a modern style of mandolin,” he tells me, picking up a recently finished instrument. “Three hundred years ago the Italians were emigrating to America and taking their tiny Neopolitan mandolins over there – the finger-picking type that we know from the music heard from ice cream vans. “Around the turn of the 20th century, the famous guitar maker Orville Gibson adapted the Neopolitan mandolin to create a new style of instrument. The new mandolin was modelled on the violin and was suitable for strumming and plucking.” Sean buys the plans that he uses to make his instruments from America, where they still have a tradition of instrument-making and where, in his opinion, the best quality instruments come from. The Gibson A5 mandolin that he is holding is a thing of beauty, a combination of different wood colours and decorated with swallows around the sound hole. Mandolins take about six weeks to make, but they can be produced quicker if Sean has the wood in stock. Lutherie, as its name suggests, traces its history October/November 2016

back to the making of lutes in the baroque period. Renaissance Italy saw a blossoming of the craft and later, in the mid-17th century, the workshop of Antonio Stradivari in Cremona became famous for its exquisite violins. Subsequently lutherie spread across Europe, with apprentices learning the craft from the master violin-maker. Much later, industrialisation meant that mass produced, cheaper instruments became available, yet the traditional craft survived. So what drew Sean to the profession in the first place? “I was working in IT in Holland, installing, configuring and maintaining networks. I got into IT when it was a new industry, it was very exciting and special – but after doing it for more than 20 years I became bored with it. “My father was a carpenter and I was always artistic, but when you’re working in offices there isn’t much time for creativity. So when I came back to the UK I found time to develop my woodworking skills in a more passionate way.” Sean has been a luthier since 2008 and is entirely self-taught. Having a technical brain helps; in the early days, before online calculators were available, he made a small computer programme to help make the fretboard. “There’s a special calculation to do that and doing it by hand is awesome. With my programme you enter in the basic measurements and it works out the positioning of the frets – you just print it out and take it from there.” If it is computer technology that makes for accurate tuning of an instrument, it is the array

of beautiful and unusual woods that Sean uses – together with his top quality craftsmanship – that make these pieces stand out. He shows me a guitar made of a special wood from Tasmania, with distinctive rings caused by a fungus. Other woods he uses include claro walnut from California, Sitka spruce, ebony, mahogany and many different varieties of maple. The type of wood used to make an instrument is important not only in terms of the physical appearance; it also has a bearing on the sound. “You can’t predict the exact sound of the final piece, but you know from experience the sort of sound it will make,” Sean says. “Hard wood will make it sound brighter whereas mahogany, which is lighter, will make it sound softer and more mellow. It’s an interplay between those different woods.” Handling these specialist woods from their raw form to the finished item is a lengthy and painstaking process. “The wood arrives between four and five millimetres thick, so I have it put through a machine to thin it out,” Sean says. “The real purist luthiers do that bit by hand, planning it from scratch. They may even start by cutting the tree down, and they’ll wait until there’s a full moon when the sap is rising because that makes the wood lighter. People will pay a lot of money for that!” As well as the unusual woods and decorative inlay, another bespoke feature is a sound hole on the side of some instruments, enabling sound to be projected upwards so that the player can hear

it. It’s a feature that would be very unusual in a mass-produced instrument. With the volume of pieces that Sean has made to date – five guitars, about 30 ukuleles and the same number of mandolins – he has built something of a reputation and has a good client base. His instruments aren’t available in any shops and he likes to work with customers to create something that’s truly bespoke. Clients range from those who play as a hobby to professional musicians. So what are the highs and lows of the job? “There’s a hell of a lot of sanding – it can be really boring,” he says. “You can’t use electric sanders because the work is too fine and you can’t sand a curved surface with a machine. “The best bit is when you put the strings on and start playing the instrument. You hear the sound for the first time and it’s been worth all the hard work. It’s great seeing the customer enjoying playing the instrument too.” Bespoke lutherie is not a big industry in Britain. “There are probably between 50 and 100 luthiers in the UK,” says Sean. “A lot of them do other things such as teaching people how to make instruments, and some combine it with other work such as cabinet-making.” In addition to lutherie Sean offers instrument repair and has branched out into selling percussion instruments. In the future, he would like to broaden his range, making electric guitars as well. And he’d love to make a violin, a detailed and intricate process. THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 25


PECKHAM FOCUS

Doing people justice THE SOUTHWARK LAW CENTRE WAS SET UP 40 YEARS AGO TO PROVIDE LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO THE HOMELESS, REFUGEES AND OTHER VULNERABLE PEOPLE. Executive director Sally Causer explains why the important work they do is more crucial today than ever WORDS MIRANDA KNOX

With its discreet entrance and modest decor, Hanover Park House might not look remarkable – but don’t let appearances fool you. Home to the Southwark Law Centre, it’s a vital lifeline for those who need it most, providing specialist legal advice and representation on issues including housing, employment, welfare rights, immigration and asylum to people unable to afford a lawyer. Last year, the team – comprising 10 case workers – took on 655 cases, some of which can last years. It’s a crucial Southwark service, especially considering the ever-growing housing problems, welfare cuts and the global refugee crisis. “We prioritise the most vulnerable and disadvantaged cases – our biggest areas of work 26 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

are immigration and housing,” says executive director Sally Causer. “If we weren’t here there would be more homelessness and destitution. “Giving people proper legal advice has massive benefits,” she adds. “If people receive the help they need then they’re not such a drain on health and social care, and this helps the wider community. “If we can sort someone’s immigration status then they can work, become part of society and get proper access to healthcare. Without legal help they can’t do any of that. We take a lot of referrals from refuges, mainly homelessness cases, and a lot of our clients are refugees, asylum seekers and people with disabilities.” The service, originally called the Southwark Law Project, was set up in November 1976

following three years of campaigning by local advice agencies and residents. It began with two offices – one in Bermondsey and the other on Lordship Lane in East Dulwich. Initially staffed by a team of four lawyers, two welfare rights workers and three support staff, and funded by Southwark Council and the Lord Chancellor’s Office, it was established due to a clear demand for accessible legal advice in the borough. In the 1990s it moved to its central Peckham location, operating solely through referrals from other support agencies such as Southwark’s Citizens Advice Bureaus, which pass complex cases on to the centre. Sally says: “Generally, if it’s a straightforward issue the support agency will deal with it. When it

becomes complex they’ll come to us. Partnership with frontline agencies is important – we develop those relationships in order to reach the most vulnerable people. “We do a weekly session at the Peckham Citizens Advice Bureau on Tuesdays by appointment, and we get a lot of referrals from the day centre [Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers] and social services. “We can’t take every case, but in a situation where we can’t help, we will advertise the case anonymously with a brief breakdown and there’s a number of private practice solicitors who, if it’s legally aidable, will pick it up.” Currently the centre focuses mainly on immigration and housing. “Most of our clients are social housing tenants and it’s rent arrears October/November 2016


PECKHAM FOCUS and possession claims,” Sally says. “Because there’s such a demand for social housing the [local] authority are getting tougher. “They’re only taking around 36 per cent of homelessness applications in Southwark, which is below the national average. The number of applications has gone up by 20 per cent but the number of acceptances has gone down. “Because of welfare benefit cuts and bedroom tax people are getting into rent arrears so we’re currently dealing with a lot more homelessness, particularly now with asylum seekers and refugees. “Earlier this year the government brought in the restrictions on the right to rent so people who don’t have status can’t rent privately – it’s now a criminal offence for landlords to rent to those people, meaning they’re forced to sleep on the streets.” One of the other biggest issues is the new benefits system, universal credit, which will merge together some benefits and tax credits into one single payment. It is set to be gradually introduced in Southwark from October. Sally says: “The idea is that it should mirror getting a salary, which is understandable, but it’s going to cause problems. One monthly payment is a huge change for people who’ve been used to receiving payments on a staggered basis. “Currently if someone is on housing benefit it will just come straight off their rent, whereas [with universal credit] they’ll actually get it into their bank account – so all of a sudden they might be getting an extra £500. There’s a real fear that rent arrears and evictions will increase.” Speaking to the team, it’s evident that the work they do is more than just a job – there’s a dedication, and a sense of helping the community driving those employed by the centre. “It’s helping to get justice for people who

haven’t got a voice,” Sally says. “Our solicitors are here because they strongly believe in it – everyone has a dogged determination. You have to really care, but also make some hard decisions. Our solicitors will look to support some of the most disadvantaged people, which is getting tougher. “I wanted to work here because there is that need for a bottom line agency, a safety net, that has the ability to threaten the council with judicial reviews if we think they’ve made the wrong decision. “Things are so difficult for people nowadays, with the cuts to welfare benefits creating a huge increase in homelessness and destitution, and a hostile environment for migrants. “It’s emotionally draining for our immigration team especially, listening to people who have been raped, tortured and have lost family members. But the real stress comes in the cases where you can’t help. Most of the time we are successful but there’s occasionally a case that you lose and you can’t do anything.” One of the case workers who is dedicated to helping clients is solicitor Kay Foxall. She’s worked at the centre for seven years, after joining as a trainee in July 2009, and now specialises in immigration. She admits it can be hard to hear what clients have been through and to represent such vulnerable people. “When you’re first starting out, those issues can affect you, because it’s shocking,” she says. “For me, becoming a lawyer was about doing rights-based work. I’ve had a number of cases where people have been told they’ve been unsuccessful in securing safety in the UK, and using my legal knowledge to then get successful outcomes for people is rewarding.” One of Kay’s roles within the centre is helping

women gain asylum. She explains: “A lot of cases involve women trafficked into domestic servitude or sexual exploitation. There is usually no independent evidence, so they’re often not believed – a large part is helping the women to explain what happened in as much detail as possible. “I’ve also had a few cases where women have been hiding for years because they’ve been told they can’t get asylum and I’ve managed to help them get refugee status. “Usually the women in hiding have ended up in exploitative situations or abusive relationships, because that’s the only way they can survive. The reason they’ve not got help is because they’re so scared – they have no independence. That’s why it’s really important to have accessible advice.” The centre’s main funding comes through legal aid and a contract with Southwark Council. Sally says: “We’ve lost £40,000 this year, but when you consider Lewisham hasn’t even got a law centre, in comparison it’s not too bad.” Whatever the cost, for their clients, the help they offer is priceless. Ali Mohammed, 35, was just 16 when he first came to the UK as an unaccompanied minor in June 1997 after fleeing Somalia. He was referred to the Southwark Law Centre in January this year by the Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers, after his application to remain in the UK was turned down. With the centre’s help, in April he finally received his leave to remain – a staggering 19 years later. He says: “If I hadn’t received the law centre’s help, it’s unthinkable what would have happened. I was homeless, stateless, with no access to public funds. Now I’m working as an IT teaching assistant and am able to rent a room, which wasn’t possible before.” Sadly, despite signing a five-year lease on their

Harris Girls’ Academy East Dulwich

offices, even the law centre – a crucial crutch for those who need it most – is not immune from increasing property prices. “It is worrying,” Sally admits. “Our rent has literally doubled. We need to be accessible and where we are now is brilliant – you can get buses from everywhere. But if property prices keep going as they are, we won’t be able to stay here. It’s a real problem for a lot of voluntary sector agencies. “I love working in Peckham and I love the diversity,” she adds. “It’s keeping its balance at the moment – there’s a real community feel. I live in Wandsworth and it’s dull in comparison. “It’s great that the council are committed to building new social housing [Southwark has pledged 11,000 new council homes by 2043] but people still need support services – whether it’s a law centre, a chemist or a library. Longer term, there’s a worry about what will happen. “We’d like to increase capacity at the centre – we took nearly 500 calls last year providing support to other agencies, and we’re really trying to develop our role as a training agency. “We recently did training on migrants’ access to healthcare and we’re going to do some more on the Immigration Act [introduced earlier this year] and universal credit. November is our 40th anniversary, so we also want to launch a membership drive. “It’s not just about people donating – it’s about being part of the community so that people care about the work we do. We want the community to realise that it’s important we are here.” For information on where to get advice, contact your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau via citizensadvice.org.uk. For details of other local advice agencies, visit the Southwark Legal Advice Network website at southwarkadvice.org.uk

Aspire Learn Succeed

Harris Girls’ Academy East Dulwich is officially one of the best academies in England and Wales for student progress. We are in the top 3% of schools nationally and one of the best in London, according to the latest Department for Education figures. Come and see our academy for yourself at one of our open days and evenings. Monday

26 September 2016

9-10.30am

Tuesday

27 September 2016

9-10.30am

Thursday

29 September 2016

5-7.30pm

Wednesday

5 October 2016

9-10.30am

Thursday

6 October 2016

9-10.30am

“The curriculum is outstanding.” Ofsted

“A superb range of opportunities.” Ofsted

“Students achieve exceptionally well.” Ofsted

We look forward to welcoming you.

This year we achieved our best GCSE results ever, with 80% of students achieving five or more passes at grades A*-C, including English and Maths. “A calm atmosphere pervades the academy.” Ofsted

Homestall Road, East Dulwich, London SE22 0NR web harrisdulwichgirls.org.uk email info@harrisdulwichgirls.org.uk phone 020 7732 2276


South London Clutch and Gearbox Centre We’re a family run garage who have been on Bellenden Road since 1990. Member of the Good Garage Scheme

Approved by Southwark Trading Standards

✔ MOT testing ✔ repair work ✔ servicing ✔ diagnostics

Card payments accepted

✔ brakes ✔ clutches ✔ manual gearboxes

Close to Peckham Rye Station

✔ all mechanical repairs

Email: southlondonclutch@yahoo.co.uk Web: southlondonclutch.co.uk Tel: 020 7252 8704 Opening times: Monday to Friday 8-5, Saturday 9-1 Railway arch, 200 Bellenden Road, SE15 4QJ Facebook.com/SouthLondonClutch

Whitten Timber Ltd Eagle Wharf Peckham Hill Street Peckham SE15 5JT Tel: 020 7732 3804 www.whittentimber.co.uk sales@whittentimber.co.uk Opening Times: Mon - Fri 7:00am to 5:00pm Sat 8:30am to 5:00pm

Our family business has been supplying Peckham with the highest quality standard and specialist timber since 1919. Now run by the fourth generation of Whittens, we are experts in cutting, mouldings, hardwood and softwood. From decking, doors and fencing to flooring, sheet materials and worktops, we offer a wide variety of products to suit your every need.

Need a hand? Call Cleaning

Nunhead Roofing ROOFING SPECIALISTS, SOUTH EAST LONDON

• A completely reliable efficient, professional cleaning service • Staff fully vetted • Insurance included • Daily, weekly, fortnightly cleans/ironing • Regular cleans • One-off/Spring cleans • Affordable rates

020 3086 8613 www.handsoncleaning.co.uk enquiries@handsoncleaning.co.uk

Nunhead Roofing is a family run business with over 20 years of knowledge and experience in the roofing and building profession. We are based in the Peckham area and carry out works throughout South East London and Central London. Whether domestic or commercial, historical or listed, we offer a high quality service. All roof replacements are insured as we are members of the NFRC.

For advice or a quote, Call Mark 07970 268644 info@nunheadroofing.co.uk www.nunheadroofing.co.uk

Our Services

Slating Tiling Lead work Chimneys Guttering Pointing Insulating lofts New soffits and fascias External painting Flat roofs LICENSED MEMBER OF


NUNHEAD PEOPLE

A clean sweep THREE YEARS AGO NUNHEAD NEIGHBOURS GARY LEVART AND TIM SIDDALL LEFT JOBS IN TEACHING AND GRAPHIC DESIGN TO SET UP A CHIMNEY SWEEPING BUSINESS. They explain why the career change has been a breath of fresh air WORDS SEAMUS HASSON PHOTO LORNA ALLAN

It’s early Friday evening and I’m meeting Gary Levart and Tim Siddall at the Ivy House pub in Nunhead. Sitting on a bench outside, they tell me over a pint of Guinness how sweeping chimneys was quite a career change for both of them. Gary, 56, is a retired school teacher and former head of faculty at a large comprehensive, while Tim, 46, previously worked as a web and graphic designer. The pair, who live and work in Nunhead, have been friends and neighbours for many years. With neither man having an obvious CV for a move into chimney sweeping, I ask them how it all began. “I’d had my chimney swept and I had to wait a month for someone to come out and do it,” Gary explains. “I was chatting with Tim one evening about how difficult it was to get a chimney sweep around here. We got into a discussion about how we should set up our own chimney sweeping business. What started out as a rather tonguein-cheek conversation turned into, ‘Shall we actually do this?’” “It did seem like there was a bit of a niche in this area,” adds Tim. “Especially with an increasing number of young professionals moving in, buying old properties and opening up the fireplaces or buying wood burners. It was clear there was a definite opportunity.” After deciding the idea had potential, the duo got the required qualifications under their belts and set up their company Aardvark Sweeps. They are accredited through the Institute of Chimney Sweeps, registered with HETAS and recognised by the Southwark Builders Award Scheme. Three years later and the business is going from strength to strength. Like most sweeps Tim and Gary currently operate from home, but they are soon hoping to open a retail premises selling wood, multi-fuel stoves and accessories. They also plan to take on extra staff. When they started out they focused solely on sweeping chimneys, but after spotting a number of badly installed wood-burning stoves they undertook more training and now offer a supply and installation service as well as stove maintenance. “We don’t really advertise that much,” Tim says. “We get most of our work through word of mouth. The East Dulwich Forum is particularly useful and a similar forum in south-west London, called Nappy Valley, also accounts for a lot of our work.” It is fair to say that for both men, chimney sweeping marks quite a diversion from their previous careers. “The great thing about it is that it’s reassuringly dull,” Tim laughs. “I mean it’s health and safety, how interesting can you make it? “Seriously though it is enjoyable work and it gives you lots of head space. The satisfaction comes from providing a service, doing a job well and in some cases saving a customer from a potential disaster.” Gary adds: “It’s a straightforward kind of day’s work. There’s no nonsense, no politics. You just turn up, do a good job and you get paid. It’s a very old-fashioned formula. In terms of stress, if teaching is up there, what we’re doing now is about a millimetre off the floor. “I loved being a teacher, it’s the best career you could ever have – but after 20 years it was time to October/November 2016

move on. I thought I’d do a bit of supply teaching, pick up my pension in a few years’ time and have a nice easy life. I never thought that I would be doing this.” One of the key issues that both men are keen to talk about is the health and safety aspect. After three years doing the job they’ve seen first-hand the potential dangers that lurk up chimneys. Tim says: “At the end of last year we went out to a customer who had been living in the same house for 30 years. He said he had never had his chimney swept, and his fireplace was getting a bit smoky. I could see straightaway from the outside that he didn’t have a chimney pot. “He had a ridge tile over the flue so smoke could get out but it was being held back, resulting in a massive build-up of soot and clinker. Basically he was one step away from disaster, either through burning his house down or suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. “It’s not that unusual to come across customers

who regularly use their chimneys and haven’t had them swept for many years. The most common question we get asked is how often people should get their chimneys swept and the answer is at least once a year. “It’s actually recommended that you get it done more regularly if you use your fire consistently – particularly if you are burning wood. If that’s the case you should consider getting it swept twice a year.” It’s considered lucky to see a chimney sweep on your wedding day and the profession tends to conjure up evocative images, whether it’s of Dick Van Dyke as the cheerful chimney sweep Bert in Mary Poppins; or Dickensian scenes and antiquated working methods. Thankfully small boys are no longer sent up chimneys, but the basic principles of chimney sweeping hold true in that the traditional brushes and rods are still used today. However, getting your chimney swept in 2016 is a much cleaner

and safer affair than it used to be. “We use a state-of-the-art camera to inspect customers’ chimneys,” Tim says. “We also use vacuum cleaners that are specifically designed to extract hazardous waste and ensure that little or no soot or dust escapes the room.” In addition to tackling vast quantities of dirt and grime, modern-day sweeps are often tasked with dislodging dead birds and squirrels stuck inside chimneys, as well as ensuring that customers aren’t putting their lives in danger. Given all that, are Gary and Tim glad they went into the chimney sweeping business? Gary certainly thinks so. “It has been really worthwhile, if only for the views we get over London while on the rooftops. “We started off thinking it would be a nice little side business, something to keep us interested, but it’s gone beyond that. We didn’t envisage taking on staff and we didn’t envisage thinking that we would be looking for a retail premises.” THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 29


HISTORY

Hard times A WEBSITE DETAILING HUNDREDS OF TRIALS AT THE OLD BAILEY FROM 1674 TO 1913 INCLUDES MANY CASES FROM PECKHAM, RANGING FROM PETTY THEFT AND BURGLARY TO MONEY-LAUNDERING AND MURDER. Our writer takes a closer look WORDS DEREK KINRADE

The Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, popularly known as the Old Bailey, is still a forbidding place. Anyone who has been called upon to give evidence there, even as an innocent witness, can testify to having been terrified. A court on the site, conveniently situated next to Newgate Prison, can be traced back to the 16th century. The original structure was destroyed in the Great Fire of London and replaced in 1674, and the present building was constructed in 1902. A subterranean passage known as “Dead Man’s Walk” connected the court and prison, along which condemned prisoners would be led to public execution in the street outside: an entertainment that until May 1868 attracted large crowds. Those spared the death penalty or awaiting trial lived in abject squalor. In her book Dr Johnson’s London (2000) Liza Picard relates that in the mid-18th century, as many as 300 prisoners were crowded into two rooms measuring 14 feet by 11 feet. In 1764, following a clean-up, it was reported that “three cartloads of the most abominable filth” were taken out of Newgate. The Old Bailey was scraped down and washed, and herbs burned before each session. Today, in our sanitised 21st century, thanks to digital technology and much hard work, a website has been created extensively detailing the trials held in this dominant seat of justice from 1674 to 1913. I can offer only a few sample cases, but do so knowing that the reader is likely to become obsessed with this treasure house of sin. Killings feature quite prominently in the data, as do bigamy and “coining” (the making and passing off of counterfeit money, which was a royal offence). But the pattern of crimes revealed by these records is largely of a petty kind, reflecting the social deprivation prevailing in some parts of London: assault, fraud, forgery, embezzlement, theft of goods and animals, burglary, shoplifting and pick-pocketing, all of them put down severely. I found the example of William Jones, convicted of highway robbery on September 11, 1782 particularly interesting. The prosecution rested in part on the evidence of two boys, one of whom was Charles Flead, aged eight (“going on nine next lord mayor’s day”). Flead was asked if he knew what it meant to swear and take an oath. He replied: “If I swear falsely I shall go to hell.” He then confirmed that he had been to church, and could say the catechism, the Lord’s prayer and “the belief”. Flead testified that the accused had offered the boys three pence for a bundle of dirty linen. When this was refused he had snatched the bundle off Charles’s head and run away, saying he would “have it for nothing”. He had later been apprehended on his way back from Peckham Fair. And so on to an eternal bed. Infanticide was a special case. The killing of illegitimate infants by their mothers was a particularly nasty problem, but one closely related to desperate poverty and the inadequacy of social provision. Apart from the rigorous Foundling Hospital little assistance was available, and young serving girls with child were unlikely to secure employment. A particularly gruesome case was that of Mary Steer, heard on November 22, 1852, on a charge 30 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

of the wilful murder of her newborn baby girl on Commercial Road, Peckham. Even then, the harsh rule of law could show some compassion. Mary, who had dismembered the child’s body and flushed the remains down a toilet, was found guilty only of concealing the birth, and confined for just one year. There is peculiar interest, of course, in offences that occurred in specific places. Searching “Peckham”, I was particularly struck by a case

close to home: that of Mary Mehon, a 17-yearold servant in Hanover Street (now Highshore Road). On September 17, 1838 she was accused of stealing two stockings, value three shillings, from the property of John Higgs. His wife conceded that her servant had been given three pairs, “but not these”. Found guilty, poor Mary was sentenced to transportation for seven years (a form of punishment that was abandoned in 1868).

Fifty years on, Louis Pantlin of 100 Lyndhurst Grove was found guilty of “unlawfully obtaining money from various persons by false pretences” and was committed to serve 20 months’ hard labour. This might have been literally tough physical toil, described in the Penitentiary Act 1779 as “labour of the hardest and most servile kind in which drudgery is chiefly required” or, after 1818, the tread-wheel, an invention of the civil engineer William Cubitt. He intended this as a means of making use of prisoners to grind grain, but the device was rapidly recognised as also being an exquisite punishment, and installed in gaols across the country. One of the first was the Surrey House of Correction (now Brixton Prison). Typically, a long paddle wheel was mounted on a horizontal axis so that several prisoners, male and female alike (though not together) could be made to tread for hours on end, day after day: the equivalent of walking up an endless staircase with no top. In 1838, to refine the torture, vertical separators were installed to isolate prisoners from each other. An alternative was known as “the crank”, and comprised a heavy drum with a large handle that prisoners would be required to turn, hour upon hour, to no purpose. The mechanism could be tightened by prison officers, making it harder to turn and leading, it is said, to them being called “screws”. Both forms of cruelty survived until the late 19th century. Another to suffer the penalty of hard labour was Joseph Baines. He had dressed as a fireman and cheated Emily Miller of 212 Peckham Rye (among others), by attempting to procure a subscription for a fictitious fire brigade to be established on Goose Green. What he got, on July 31, 1882, was four months of penal servitude. But occasionally a prisoner would be found not guilty. On October 26, 1846, Richard Miller was cleared of assaulting John Morgan, a milkman, and stealing his watch. It turned out that Morgan and the prisoner were old friends and according to Morgan’s servant his master had been very drunk and it “had all been a lark”. It was said in evidence that the prisoner was taken at the Lord Nelson, “at the end of Peckham footpath, not a quarter of a mile from the eel-pie house”. I am assured that London’s eel-pie houses considerably pre-dated that of Manze on Shard Terrace, which opened in 1927. In his Introduction to Criminological Theory, Roger Hopkins Burke describes the administration of justice at this time as “chaotic, predominantly non-codified, irrational and irregular, and at the whim of individual judgement”. What the Old Bailey website gives us, however, is evidence of a gradual improvement over time, most apparent in the proceedings which postdate the Prison Act 1898, with its emphasis on rehabilitation. However, looking back in 2016, it is sadly observable that many of the offences of yesteryear persist, and it is questionable whether we are much closer to finding solutions. Go to www.oldbaileyonline.org to view the archive. Pictured: prisoners in the exercise yard at Newgate Prison, 1872, by Gustave Doré. October/November 2016


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FOOD

The café on the corner PETITOU ON CHOUMERT ROAD IS A MUCH-LOVED LOCAL INSTITUTION. Clare Bloxidge, who owns the café with husband Matt, tells how they came up with the idea while working in the Caribbean WORDS MIRANDA KNOX PHOTOS SAM OXLEY

Even just a quick glance through Petitou’s huge windows will tell you that owners Clare and Matt Bloxidge are passionate about Peckham. Local artists’ works adorn the walls, leaflets for a variety of businesses from the area are carefully placed on window sills and stuck to the noticeboard, and high quality produce is locally sourced. Petitou opened in 2003 with a simple ethos – to serve homely food in a friendly, welcoming setting. Clare, who lives in East Dulwich with husband Matt and their two children, says: “We wanted to do good, healthy, value-for-money food that people feel satisfied by. “The area has changed so much but the community feeling has always been really strong. Connecting people, seeing them chatting and swapping business cards and sharing tables while enjoying our food makes it all worth it.” Despite its strong Peckham focus, the idea for Petitou came about when Clare and Matt were working in a bar more than 4,500 miles away in the Caribbean. They ended up there after Clare, who hails from Bromley, left her job as a market data analyst in the City. “It was a great job, but stressful,” she says. “In 2000 my dad was diagnosed with the same cancer my mum died of when I was little, and I just felt I needed to do something. I took two months off to visit my sister Emma, who worked in the Caribbean. “I fell in love with it, quit my job, took a sailing course with Matt and a friend and went to Majorca. We found a tiny boat that was sailing to Antigua and they said they’d take us. It took 32 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

about a month to get there but it was an amazing experience.” When they eventually reached the island the couple managed a crew bar. “I also helped on the boats and did a charter with Mariah Carey for a week, which was completely surreal. She was a lot nicer than people think – she wasn’t a diva at all,” Clare laughs. In 2003 they had the idea to open a café. “We used to go to a lovely café in Saint Martin called Top Carrot – it did great quiches, salads and fresh juices. We were in there one day and thought, ‘We could do this.’ “We both love customer service and being around people. We sat down and wrote a list of what we wanted – big windows, a tree outside, outdoor space, wooden floors, mismatched furniture and local artists’ work on the walls. “The day we got back to London in 2003, my sister Loraine, a Peckham-based ceramicist, said a café she designed the terrace for was up for sale. We knew it was perfect as soon as we saw it – it had everything on our checklist. “It was already called Petitou – the previous owner Paul’s dad was from Grenada and Petitou is a beach there. Because of the Caribbean connection, we really liked the name and we kept it.” Back then Peckham was a different place. “We signed the lease, then we panicked!” Clare recalls. “It was quiet – a lot of the shops on Bellenden Road were empty. But while the area was a little run down, we knew the potential was there. “The building itself is beautiful. It was originally a butcher – we actually have the old ledger in

the café. It’s an amazing book, very heavy, and it contains meat orders from Jones & Higgins department store [previously at 1 Rye Lane]. “It’s also been a pet shop and a hairdressers, then it was left empty for about 20 years before Paul turned it into a café in 2001. There was a complete regeneration around that time and the council invested more money into the area. “Antony Gormley designed the cast iron sculptures on Bellenden Road, and when Paul opened Petitou he asked Loraine, who has lived in the area for 25 years, to design the terraced area outside and she created an aerial map of Peckham.” Getting the café up and running was no mean feat. “We did all the work ourselves – we thought it would take two weeks and it took over two months,” Clare says. “Everyone kept knocking on the door asking when we were going to open – we just got to know the locals. “Jonny from The Gowlett stuck his head in one day and said he had a van if he could help at all, so we became good friends. We fell in love with the area – the diversity and the sense of community. Everyone talks to each other here – it’s just so different. In October 2003 Petitou reopened. “Everything was trial and error,” Clare says. “We literally went, ‘Right, let’s work out the menu. My aunty makes an amazing mackerel pate, let’s get the recipe,’ or, ‘My uncle makes smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and avocado – let’s put that one down.’ It just seemed to work.” Now the café has a team of nine and has perfected its menu. “The food hasn’t changed

much, we’ve just experimented and there’s more variety,” Clare says. “We can’t take things off the menu – people go mad! “We’ve got a great team. Our chef, Fee, has been with us for six years and makes the most amazing quiches, tarts and salads. We have around six different salads every day that we serve with flatbread. “The scrambled eggs are always very popular, and we get through about three quiches a day. We try to source locally – our cakes come from Forest Hill and we use Flock and Herd on Bellenden Road for free range ham. We shop at Khan’s – we love it there. “We also stock Brick Brewery beers, jams from East Dulwich, chocolate made in Brockley and Daily Dose juices, which are freshly squeezed in West Dulwich. They’re selling really well.” Perhaps it’s the deep-rooted links to Peckham that makes Petitou so well-loved by locals. “It’s a great place to people-watch, read or write,” says Clare. “There are so many regulars who’ve been coming since we opened, many of whom have become great friends.” Now, Clare and Matt have renewed their lease and are trying to figure out what to do next – with early evening cocktails one option. “There’s a real buzz in Peckham now, which is good,” says Clare. “It brings more people here and there’s something for everybody, which is so important. “However, it’s sad that people who have lived here for ages are getting pushed out. What’s happened to the property prices is mad, and if it continues, Peckham will lose the community spirit that makes it so special.” October/November 2016


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FOOD

Portuguese plates FAMILY-RUN RESTAURANT NAPURA SERVES SAUTÉED KING PRAWNS, SLOW-COOKED LAMB SHANKS AND OTHER DELICIOUS DISHES, PAIRED WITH AN INTERESTING CHOICE OF PORTUGUESE WINES. We can’t wait to go back WORDS CHARLOTTE EGAN PHOTO ALEXANDER MCBRIDE WILSON

Napura on Nunhead Green is owned by mother and son team Manuela Teles and Carlos Risso – natives of the seaside town Cascais on the outskirts of Lisbon. Manuela has run Napura since 2006 but this year Carlos joined her to relaunch it as a restaurant and takeaway. “She does all the cooking and I run the place,” says Carlos, who describes Manuela as a “self-made chef” who initially came to London as a seamstress to work in a bridal shop in Wimbledon. Napura’s reopening was marked by the whole family – now based in different parts of the world – coming around the table for the first time in years, and the duo are proud of pulling off the relaunch on a tiny budget. “Even the tables were made by hand,” says Carlos. Although it’s featured on the menu, Carlos is keen to point out that Portuguese cuisine is not all piri piri chicken. In fact, it is chargrilled fish that is a real speciality. “We have 1,000 ways of cooking cod – only Iceland eat more fish per capita than we do,” he says. He describes the popular delicacy bacalhau, which is made by soaking fish in salt water for two days then grilling it to give it its unique taste.

Napura also offers bacalhau a bras, made by shredding cod, sautéing it with onion and garlic and scrambling in an egg. Carlos’s favourite dish is the lamb shanks – braised lamb that is slow-cooked for 10 hours until it’s so tender that it falls off the fork. “It is

tradition for us to eat oven roast lamb on a Sunday like the British do with beef,” he says. He also recommends their bestseller, carne de porco a Alentejana: sautéed prawns, pork and clams. For something sweet, Napura offers the famous Portuguese custard tart or pastel de nata, as well

as crème caramel-like flans and their signature cookies and coffee cake, made through soaking popular Portuguese Maria cookies in coffee and layering them with cream. But Carlos has dreams beyond offering customers perfect food. “I want Napura to become somewhere people will specifically go to for the wine. Portugal has fantastic and underrated wines,” he says, showing me a carefully crafted wine list that he intends to build upon in the coming months. Napura serves the delicious Portuguese tipple vinho verde, which literally means “green wine” – a reference to its age rather than its colour. It’s a light, dry, low-alcohol wine that can be red, white or rosé and often has a very slight fizz to it. For Carlos, an ideal day starts with shopping in one of London’s markets before cooking for his friends around a big table with a glass of wine. He equally enjoys living and working in Nunhead. “All I want now is to see more businesses in the area, so that Nunhead Green becomes a real destination of choice,” he says. If it’s homecooked flavours, quality wine and a traditional Portuguese welcome you are looking for, Napura should be top of your list.

A Moroccan mash-up SALLY BUTCHER IS ABOUT TO BRING OUT A NEW COOKBOOK FILLED WITH RECIPES FROM HER PERSIAN CORNER SHOP AND CAFÉ PERSEPOLIS. This Moroccan dodo snack takes minutes to make but be warned, it’s seriously moreish WORDS SALLY BUTCHER

USE A VEGETABLE KNIFE to cut through the skin along the length of the plantain and peel the skin away (you can do it with your hands but this, at least in my case, usually results in Neanderthal grunting and sticky fingers). Slice the fruit into 1 to 1.5cm discs. MELT THE BUTTER in a frying pan, adding a splash of oil to stop it burning. Toss in the plantain and cook for a minute or so either side so that it starts to brown. ADD THE HARISSA SPICE MIX, then crack the eggs in, stirring well with a wooden spoon. Just as the eggs start to set, beat in the harissa paste and take off the heat.

34 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

YUKI SUGIURA PHOTO

METHOD

INGREDIENTS (SERVES ONE) 1 yellow-black plantain (as opposed to a green one) Small knob of butter, for frying Splash of oil (to stop the butter burning) 1 level tsp harissa spice mix 2 fat, free range eggs ½ tsp harissa paste (or more if you’re man enough) Taftoon “naan” bread (or any bread with texture) Chopped fresh parsley

SERVE ON TOP OF WARM TAFTOON “NAAN” (or any bread with a bit of texture – enough to absorb all that chin-dribbling goodness – will do) and sprinkle with parsley. This recipe appears in Sally’s new book Persepolis: Vegetarian Recipes from Peckham, Persia and beyond. It’s published on October 13 but Sally will have advance copies in the shop at 28-30 Peckham High Street from October 3 (Pavilion Books, £25). Pictured: Sally with her husband Jamshid in the shop.

LIMA CHARLIE PHOTO

This brunch special is, frankly, a smash hit in our café. There was nearly a riot (well, a couple of people objected) when I tried to take it off the menu. Dodo is the West African term for fried plantains (as opposed to the extinct but adorable Antipodean bird), but it is also used randomly to describe dishes containing plantain. If you can’t find plantain in Auchtermuchty or Alpine or Alice Springs, just substitute it for an unripe banana.

October/November 2016


In complicated times we try to keep things simple For instructions received in October, November and December 2016 our fees (for asking prices up to £1,000,000) will be as follows: If you are selling a house – £5,000 (plus VAT) If you are selling a flat – £3,000 (plus VAT) All fees are payable only upon successful completion of your sale. office email web

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Issue 17 of The Peckham Peculiar  
Issue 17 of The Peckham Peculiar  
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