History in the making
Last month, Southern Housing Group’s Samuel Lewis Trust estate on Liverpool Road in Islington, London, turned 100.
To mark the occasion, its 450 residents were encouraged to take part in several art projects throughout the summer months. Festivities culminated in a traditional tea party, complete with porcelain crockery, which was attended by 150 people last month.
Southern’s first 323 homes on the Liverpool Road estate cost £101,000 to build in April 1910, equivalent to almost £9 million today. ‘It’s an amazing example of an estate,’ says Gadi Sprukt, one of the founders of Tall Tales, the group of artists that worked with residents.
Tall Tales aims to show how art can provide opportunities for residents to get involved in their community, especially how they can participate in regeneration projects.
Six artists held workshops to gather ideas at Liverpool Road throughout August. ‘They spent some time on the estate finding interesting ways to reflect the community back on itself,’ says Mr Sprukt.
Artist Christian Nyampeta says he wanted to create something for residents to keep once the artists left the estate. He landed upon the idea of a newspaper which would include contributions from people living at Liverpool Road, reflecting the estate’s past, present and future. The paper was published in black and white for a nostalgic feel.
One of the workshops held by the artists involved residents using disposable cameras, says Mr Nyampeta. ‘They photographed their favourite spots on the estate,’ he explains.
Participants also learned how to use pinhole cameras and their pictures were published in the newspaper.
Residents worked with artist Davina Drummond to make cakes and design their decorations, while Jess Blandford made 100 metres of traditional bunting out of fabric contributed by residents.
Almost 400 triangle templates were posted through letterboxes on the estate so residents could cut their material to size.
‘Everyday fabrics were put together on the same line,’ says Mr Sprukt, explaining the idea behind the bunting. ‘This allowed people to see their belongings [in this case their fabric] in a different way.’