Snow on the Heygate

                                          Photo: Johnathon Gales

A couple of new photo essays of the Heygate have turned up in my google news feed, taken during the recent snowstorm in London. The above photograph, taken by Johnathon Gales, is of my old home, Claydon House, with the new ‘gateway to the Elephant’ the Strada Tower, rising up behind it. His blog, thoughts not thoughts has more photographs.

   What was most striking, aside from the empty windows, was the desolate quality of the Strada. At first I wasn’t even sure what it was – the tower was still at the foundation s

Valentines Day on the Heygate, 2009.

Found this on Youtube this morning:


Mostly old folks gathered in a community hall – I”m guessing the hall behind what used to be the doctor’s office, now the office for the Heygate Tennant’s Association. Probably the last time people got together like this on the estate.

It says a lot that in the six or seven months I lived on the Heygate, I was hardly aware that this older, white working class still existed. The faces I saw were mainly those of immigrants – Africans, South Americans, East Euros. This, I”m sure, had a lot to do with the fact I was an immigrant myself, albeit of a different kind. But it does say a lot about the alienating power of the estate, when you can’t even get a sense of the people who live around you.

Where are these folks now, I wonder?

Painting Moths on the Heygate

Big Brush of the ‘Paint the Heygate’ project gives a moving description of walking around the nearly empty estate. On the massive Kingshill Building (she calls it the Aylesbury here, but I think she means Kingshill), they find a council worker who shows them round. They find exactly one person left on the whole building, out having a cigarette on the empty terrace. “No comment” he says, as soon as he sees them, obviously marking them for press.

Will Montgomery’s ‘sounds of the elephant

Photograph: Dollan Cannell.

Will Montgomery is a sound artist who has posted some sound recordings made inside and outside the Elephant and Castle Shopping Mall. In an article for the August, 2007 issue of Painted, Spoken, he writes:

“I’ve never lived on the Heygate and I’m glad of that. However . . . one night I was knocked over on the Elephant’s north roundabout. The impact destroyed the joint at the base of my left thumb, and the Elephant, like the fused thumb, has nagged at me ever since. . . .”

Then, explaining his interest in the shopping centre (from the sam

Seizure

I heard about this exhibit a couple of months ago and knew it was in the Elephant – but didn’t know where. 


Artist Roger Hiorns took a disused council flat, constructed a watertight metal tank moulded around the contours of the property then filled the structure with 16,500 gallons of copper sulphate solution. Two weeks later, he pumped out the excess, leaving behind a layer of blue crystals coating the flat interior. 


You can get a rough idea of what

New Design Revealed for Heygate

From BD the Architect’s Website: 

(image credit: Nick Wharton). 
A firm named Panter Hudspith (Panter? Hudspith?) has revealed plans for 145 homes at Stead steet and another 100 at Royal Road. The proposals are to go in early next year and construction begin in April (2010). 500 public housing schemes are to be built in total. 
In theory this looks benign enough – public housing on a human scale, etc. But I just wo

Deal Still Not Signed . . .


From the Southwark News: 



The council is continuing it’s exclusivity agreement with Land Lease, the Aussie developers, but no deal has been signed. The Labour opposition accuses the Lib-Dem/ Conservative council of ceding control of the regeneration process and says: 

Regeneration in Southwark is now in total chaos, with an Executive totally out of their depth, the director of major projects resigning [see p

Paint the Heygate

The person behind this has made his/ her site invite only (why?) since I last checked it a couple of days ago, but supposedly there is a campaign on to paint the heygate estate.

It was unclear from the site whether this would be the painting of the whole estate, one building – or perhaps just one flat – but it seems the organizer wants to bring in several renowned artists to ‘paint the heygate’. 
From a letter, he/ she sent to Southwark Council:

I have six world renowned well known urban artists (local and overseas) who have told me personally that they want to come down to paint the Heygate and work with this local community. Imagine the possibilities.