From Riverside Community Development Trust, 20 Newburn St, SE11 5PJ. 020 7820 0555. info@rcdt.org. www.rcdt.org

Previous ENews/Events Listings can be seen on www.rcdt.org

Feedback. ‘…..your wonderful newsletter …..’

Bellway Homes Plans 112 flats on Old Lambeth Hospital Site

at Committee – See Local Planning Applications and News Section below

The Beaufoy – Corporate Committee’s Views – see story below

Previous ENews/Events Listings can be seen on www.rcdt.org

Contents inc: o:p>

Coming Week’’ Diary


London Elections 1 May

Local Planning Applications & News

New Events

Job Opportunities

DDisrepair at Lambeth Cemetery, Blackshaw Rd, Tooting

Editorial/span>.. A change of style. In order to reduce the time spent on producing the ENews and the size of each week’s edition, the Diary and Art Galleries Section will now be a separate Forward Events Diary listing, which will be sent out less frequently. The coming week’s Diary will continue to be included in the ENews, as will news of new events, which will then be added into the next edition of the Forward Events Diary.




Saturday 26

Oval Farmers’ Market.. St Mark’s Church, (opp Oval Tube),




TTai Chi. Organised by Kennington Association. Lambeth Hall, Brit Oval (entrance Alec Stewart Gate). 2-3pm



Animals Count Event in Kennington Park. Organisers hope to the Lambeth/Southwark London Assembly candidates will debate about animal issues from 3-3.30pm. See London Elections story below.


Sunday 27

Spring Plant and Garden Fair. £3 (£2.50 concessions). Master classes throughout the day (free on a first come, first served basis). Museum of Garden History.



Sunday Jazz Roast at the Wheatsheaf.  Dee Byrne Quartet. 126 South Lambeth Road.span style="mso-spacerun:yes">  020 7622 3602.



St Peter’s Evening Prayer & Recital. Daniel Norman, Tenor & Christopher Gould (piano). Rev. Andrew Walker, Director London Centre for Spirituality. Admission free. St Peter’s, 310 Kennington Lane.


Monday 28

Daytime Symposium: Garden Design Drawings. 10.30am-4pm. £45 or £35 for Friends, members of the Landscape Institute and Students. SSpeakers include John Phibbs on Capability Brown, Stephen Daniels on Humphrey Repton and Jane Brown on Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe and Annabel Downs on new professional 20th century landscape architects including Sylvia Crowe, Peter Youngman and Peter Shepheard. Museum/span> of Garden History.


Tuesday 29

Daytime Event: Unveiling of Auricula Theatre by the Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury followed by an illustrated talk on the history of auriculas. Museum of Garden History.



INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS' TALKS. At the beginning of their residencies, Gasworks' current visiting artists Andrew Esiebo, Mahmoud Khaled and Pedro Ortuño will each make a short presentation about their practices. Esiebo and Khaled are on residency as part of Africa Beyond, a UK-wide programme of African art and culture. Though diverse in approach and influences, the visiting artists' practices overlap in various ways, often bringing their perspectives to work in lens-based media. The discussion following the short presentations will explore the faceted ways in which the artists approach their media: photojournalism, video installation, project- and conceptually-led new media practices, and the documentary form, which are variously embedded and interrogated within the visiting artists' work. Refreshments provided. Gasworks, 155 Vauxhall Street 020 7582 6848. info@gasworks.org.uk. www.gasworks.org.uk



Films by Sophie Clements and others.. Local gallery Man&Eve presents an evening of films by Sophie Clements (winner of the Jerwood Moving Image Award 2008), Sophy Rickett and Ellie Rees at the Brixton Ritzy. Tickets available from the Ritzy box office: www.picturehouses.com. Part of the Picturehouse ArtSpace project that aims to bring video art into the cinema. The Ritzy is opposite Lambeth Town Hall on Brixton Rd.



JAZZ JAM at  Wheatsheaf, 126 South Lambeth Road. Marcus Hill (piano), Dee Byrne (alto sax),  Tim Clark (bass), Gabor Dornyei (drums), Plus Guests. Free Admission. Restaurant food  available until 9.30pm


Tuesday 29 & Wednesday 30

TThe One You Love, By Michael Twaits. Ancient myth encounters modern day ambiguity, with a tip of a hat to vaudeville, in an evening exploring transformations through love. Oval House Theatre, Kennington Oval.


Wednesday 30

Community Lunch. Hyde Southbank Homes’ weekly community lunch in Kennington Park Community Centre is mainly targeted at all Hyde residents in Lambeth, but the session is open to all. Kennington Park Community Centre, 8 Harleyford Road. Please call  020 7346 6584 to book a lunch.



Yoga Classes. St Aubyns Holistic Centre. 2-4 Cleaver Street/st1:address>. Call 020 7820 9993 to book your place. Cost - £10.  (Every Wednesday)


Thursday 1 May

Darts at the Black Prince Pub. Black Prince Rd. Organised by Age Concern. Every Thursday.



Tai Chi. Free class moves back to Kennington Park near the Café. In the event of bad weather, this class will take place in the Kennington Park Community Centre nearby. Organised by Kennington Association. Every Thursday.


Thursday 1- Saturday 3

Footprints in the Sand. Last Three Days. Pursued By A Bear Productions in association with Farnham Maltings and Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre present a new writing double bill directed by Helena Bell: ‘For One Night Only’ by Oladipo Agboluaje  and ‘Letting Go’ by Rukhsana Ahmad. Oladipo Agboluaje was born in Hackney and of Nigerian descent. Rukhsana Ahmad is the Pakistani former director of Kali Theatre. The plays launch the company’s three year plan of work around the theme of immigration and refugees.

For One Night Only: African slapstick in the Home Counties.  when Bode and Eddie arrive at Gatwick via the same dodgy passport service. Letting Go: Abbas is haunted by a brother he can’t forget and on a cold dark night in Dover he keeps a lonely vigil watching the ships come and go.  In the midst of his sorrow the woman who taught him a new language now teaches him a new way to love. 

Tickets: £12/£6 concessions. Box office: 020 7582 7680. Online sales: www.ovalhouse.com (no fee). Oval House Theatre, Kennington Oval


Saturday 3 May

Oval Farmers’ Market.. St Mark’s Church, (opp Oval Tube). Every Saturday.




TTai Chi. Organised by Kennington Association. Lambeth Hall, Brit Oval (entrance Alec Stewart Gate). Every Saturday.


Sunday 4

Sunday Jazz Roast at the Wheatsheaf.  Dee Byrne Quartet. 126 South Lambeth Road.  020 7622 3602. Every Sunday.



St Peter’s Evening Prayer & Recital. The Basket Collective (piano trio). Canon Dr Jane Steen (Southwark Diocese). Admission free. St Peter’s, 310 Kennington Lane.


Vauxhall City Farm. Open every Wednesday to Sunday 10.30am-4pm. Tyers St.


Museum of Garden History, Lambeth Palace Road. Museum and Shop: Tuesday-Sunday 10.30am-5pm. The Garden Café: Tuesday-Saturday 10.30am-4.45pm. 020 7401 8865. info@museumgardenhistory.org. www.museumgardenhistory.org.


Volley Ball. Fridays - Sundays & Bank Holidays. 3-8pm. Old Lilian Baylis school site, Lollard Street. For information contact Kennington Association  committee member Galo Espin: 07985 603189.


Oval Theatre. Running Tuesdays to Saturdays till 3 May. Footprints in the Sand. Double Bill. See 28 March Enews for details. Tickets: £12/£6 concessions. Box office: 020 7582 7680. Online sales: www.ovalhouse.com (no fee)




At its meeting on 2 April the Council’s Corporate Committee agreed:o:p>

·                     tto note ‘the trustees commitment to securing the future of the Beaufoy Trust and its governance arrangements.

·                     that the officers ‘proceed with the Scheme as proposed by the Charity Commission … and delegates to the Director Legal and Democratic Services authority to continue the discussions with the Charity Commission and finalise the arrangements.

·                     that ‘no decisions are made regarding changes in Trustee arrangements or the power of sale until the plan to regenerate the Prince’s Ward Investment Strategy (including the proposal to convert the Beaufoy Building and associated Council owned buildings into an Artisan studio and arts and crafts museum) is reported back to Cabinet and Corporate Committee in September 2008, such report to include a set of fully developed alternative options for the future trust arrangements.’ (Editorial note: is ‘studio’ an error – should it not be School?)

A member of the Beaufoy family attended the meeting. She expressed ‘her enthusiasm for the recent developments and noted that the proposals were a welcome opportunity to see the Beaufoy sites revived. She also questioned whether the original aim of Henry Beaufoy with regards to keeping the tombs in the West Norwood Cemetery in good repair, could be accommodated by the Council.’ The Committee agreed that the officers should look into the obligations on the Council to maintain the Beaufoy tomb. The Committee also agreed:

·                     ‘to work with officers and De Morgan to keep the Beaufoy Charity and Scholarship Funds together with the Beaufoy buildings, noting that this will allow the new Beaufoy to continue and improve upon the original aims of the Beaufoy charities.’

·span style="font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"">                     oon Oval Councillor Andrew Sawdon’s proposal that ‘an assessment of the timescales for the project would need to be added to the recommendations of the report for both Cabinet and Corporate Committee.’

The minutes of the meeting can be seen on the Corporate Committee section of the Council & Democracy area of www.lambeth.gov.uk.



Vauxhall Primary Schools News span> (f(from the Headteacher Shirley Wilson)

Looking for Change projectspan>.  Tate Modern/UBS- funded arts project has seen year 4 pupils develop their visual literacy and arts appreciation skills. Their work will be exhibited in June at the Tate Modern.

Happy Puzzle Day. VPS pupils recently had a fun no-numbers day which involved them solving a variety of puzzles. Nursery children had a blast balancing penguins on a moving iceberg while Year 6 children worked in teams to solve a puzzle involving shapes and space.

Gymnastics Club. Talented Year 3 members of VPS Gymnastics club came 3rd of 12 Lambeth primary schools during the recent Gymnastics Festival. The Gymnastics Team won 4th in the Body Management category. The school brought back the Fair Play Award, Vauxhall’s first Gold Cup Trophy, for outstanding sportsmanship!

Site Development. . Planning application has been made for the development of the school playground to provide a multi-use games area. Works will commence during the summer break and should be completed by December 2008.

Archbishop Sumner Primary School News. This week’s visits out: Year 4 and the Art Club to Buckingham Palace to see the exhibition ‘Amazing Rare Things’, Year 5 to the Imperial War Museum in connection with their World War 2 topic, Nursery and Reception to London Aquarium. On 11 May the school brass band will play at a special service to celebrate Religious Education in schools at St Paul’s Cathedral. A spellathon raised £350 for MENCAP. 

Dormant at UBOX. Lynne Brown, UBOX Gallery Director writes. Dormant is the latest solo exhibition of new work by renowned artist and designer Georg Meyer-Wiel. Presenting paintings, drawings and carved amber pieces that have never before been exhibited, Dormant promises to deliver fresh insight into Georg’s artistic motivations. He says: “In essence my art is about a violation of constraints that is both dreaded and desired. A personal mythology of penetration that mixes the heroic marble and metal bodies of classical sculpture with the dark, fleshy language of dream and nightmare.” Georg has exhibited his art worldwide, with major shows in London and Germany. His fashion and ballet design is celebrated in high profile circles and he counts Mary Quant, Anne Tyrrell and Issey Miyake among the many admirers of his work. In addition, Georg has been featured in publications including the Independent, Sunday Times Style, Vogue UK, Tank, Dazed & Confused and showstudio. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see this transfixing new work in our unique setting.’ See Future Events Diary.

Man&Eve at Chicago Art Fair. From today local gallery Man&Eve is taking part in the NEXT art fair in Chicago until 28 April. It is presenting work by Ben Long and Sarah Bridgland. NEXT includes works from both commercial and non-commercial arts organizations as well as galleries, project spaces, artist collectives, art publications and key private contemporary collections. A virtual clearing-house for the best of contemporary art, NEXT presents a new, selectively curated exhibition format that brings together - in one exhibition space - the most cutting-edge contemporary artists and arts organizations in the world; www.nextartfair.com.


Last week’s issue discussed the importance of voting in the t1:City w:st="on"> London elections on 1 May. Short statements were requested from all the GLA candidates for Lambeth & Southwark outlining their policies and proposals on KOV area issues. Statements by Val Shawcross (Labour) and Jasmijn de Boo (Animals Count) were included in last week’s ENews. The following have now been received from Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrats) and Katt Young (Left List). The only editorial changes made are to the layout. Some candidates are not included because they have not sent statements.

Errata in 18 April issuespan>. The organisation is Animals Count; ; their candidate is Jasmijn de Boo. There are 10 candidates.

Carolinepan style="mso-spacerun:yes">&n  Pidgeon – Liberal Democrat

I have been a Kennington Councillor (in Southwark) for 10 years.  My priorities if elected as your Assembly Member are::p>

Improved transport - I am campaigning to see the Cross River Tram built reaching from Streatham through Brixton, Kennington and Waterloo right across the river into central London. Currently Labour have said that their plans may terminate the Tram south of the river - what a waste that would be. I will campaign to ensure that the Tram is built and crosses the river!

I I will also work to secure a pier at Vauxhall Cross with a river bus to take pressure off the tube and rail networks, ensuring we use river transport more.  I will also continue to press TfL to rezone Kennington Tube Station so it is a boundary 1/2 station and to be more responsive to local needs.

Post Office Closuresspan> - I am fighting to save local Post Offices from Labour's closure programme, including the Lambeth Walk Post Office on Vauxhall Street. I presented Post Office Ltd with around 3,800 signatures against the local closures. 

Development - with new pressures on development, especially in the Vauxhall area, it is crucial that the voices of local people and local communities are heard before any decisions are made by either the council or the Mayor, including affordable housing.

Protecting our open spaces – I am committed to protecting and enhancing our open spaces such as Lambeth Walk Open Space, Spring Gardens and Jubilee Gardens.

SaSafer streets - I have worked tirelessly for more police on our streets and for safe, fun places for young people to go with their friends.  As an Assembly Member I will work hard to ensure that our area has the police it needs and to stop any plans to close local police stations.



Katt Young - Left List

I am an African Caribbean single parent of a teenage son who has sickle cell anaemia.pan style="mso-spacerun:yes">  It was through my fight for him in the health and education systems that I saw the need to become more political. 

I’I’ve recently been campaigning against post office closures and pledged my support to Offley Works youth centre in Oval, which has won temporary reprieve from closure. The Left List, including our candidate for mayor, Lindsey German, is made up of ordinary Londoners fighting on the vital issues - and we will take only an average London wage if elected. 

The housing crisisspan>: We need to build new council housing.  Privatization is a disaster and ‘affordable housing’ is out of reach of most people.  In-house repair teams should be brought back.  I am calling for the compulsory purchase of the 90,000 homes that now lie empty in London, to end the housing crisis.

Schools: Comprehensive schools, the biggest step forward in working-class education, are being dismantled in favour of expensive academies where sponsors – carpet dealers, banks, builders and other profiteers – make the decisions.  We would build new secondary schools and abolish unfair entrance procedures.

Transport: London’s transport is a mess. Ken’s congestion charge and dangerous bendy buses haven’t helped.  We would cut fares, bring back conductors and guards, build new lines,  exextend Oyster to the Overground and bring all public transport back into public ownership.

Young peoplespan>: Young people are demonised, yet youth provision has been cut to the bone.  We get ever more police officers - resources which should be redirected to end social deprivation.  Young people should know their rights in the face of ‘stop and search’.

This government easily found billions to bail out Northern Rock and fund its illegal wars.  It’s time that Lambeth and Southwark have the chance to vote for someone who will stand up and fight. 

For our full manifesto go to www.lindsey4london.org



Oldspan> Lambeth Hospital Site, Dugard Way, off Renfrew Rd. Bellways proposals to build seven blocks of 112 flats and the extension and conversion of the water tower into a 4-bed house, including 40% affordable housing will be considered Lambeth Council Planning Applications Committee 1 meeting on Tuesday 6 May at 7pm at Lambeth Town Hall. . 9 Kennington, Vauxhall and Waterloo community and residents groups were consulted: none made any comment. The officers are recommending full planning permission subject to a Section 106 legal agreement to be signed by 16 July and various detailed planning conditions. The full report can be seen on the Committee’s section of the Council & Democracy area of www.lambeth.gov.uk

Planning Applications

20-26 April

Site of Kerrin Point, Hotspur St./st1:address> Details re-soundproofing. Ref 08/01478/DET

The Dog House, Kennington Cross.. Display of externally illuminated fascia signage. 08/00999/ADV

St. Peter’s Residence, 2A st1:Street w:st="on"> Meadow Rd. Application for a Certificate of Lawful Development (Proposed) with respect to boundary wall structural works comprising a reduction in existing height. Ref: 08/01467/LDCP

Details can be seen on:

http://planning.lambeth.gov.uk/publicaccess/dc/DcAplication/weeklylist_searchform.aspx. IIf this link does not work then go to www.lambeth.gov.uk and track through to Planning and Public Access database. And to go and see any plans is easy from the KOV area as the Town Planning Advice Centre is at Phoenix House, 10 Wandsworth Road, at Vauxhall Cross. 020 7926 1180. tpac@lambeth.gov.uk. Plans can also be seen at Durning Library, 167 Kennington Lane. You can also send your comments on applications through the Public Access data base. Kennington Association’s Planning Group blog is accessible via http://journals.aol.co.uk/kenningtonnews/KenningtonNews

Planning Decisions

20-26 April

Citadel Place. Erection of a new gatehouse security building (ancillary to Class B1 office use of premises) and vehicle enclosure. Permitted.

28 Hanover Gdns. Erection of a 2 storey side extension with alterations. Permitted.

140 Kennington Park Rd./span> Demolition of existing boundary wall and replace with stone plinth and painted metal railings. Erection of ground & 2nd floors and related adaptations. Permitted.

19 St Mary's Gdns. Erection of single storey rear conservatory extension including the removal of the existing external flank wall. Permitted.

Arches 50 51 52, 7-11 South Lambeth Place/span>.. Change of use and alterations. Refused.

69 Vauxhall Grove/span>.. Application for a Certificate of Lawful Development (proposed) with respect to the erection of a single storey ground floor rear extension involving the formation of a patio and small extension. Creation of a roof terrace and balcony to first floor level to the rear. Permitted.


6 May. 7pm. Kennington Association Aspan style="color:black;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">rt Auction Working Party. First meeting. Dog House, Kennington Cross. See new event item blow.

12 May. 7pm. Friends of Kennington Park AGM/span>. The AGM will be held on Monday 12 May at 7pm at Oval House Theatre, Harleyford Road. Your chance to hear the latest news from the Friends, get a financial update, vote for the committee and hear a short presentation from Dr Iain Boulton on plans to sow a wildflower meadow. Lots has happened in the last year - not least the successful campaign to raise £240,000 for a new playground and nature trail. Come along, hear what's going on and have your say about your park.

24 May. 10.30am-12.30pm. Start of seven week Morley College Saturday Morning Family Concerts./span> Morley welcomes families who love to share their pleasures, especially music and dance.  The Family Concerts are unique for their relaxed informality where young children can feel part of the excitement of performance.  Babies tend to have a snooze, very small people are sometimes quite shy, parents soon settle down and grandparents, aunts and uncles would hate to be left at home. Presented by Shirley Anderson. Tickets can be bought on the door.  Family ticket (2 adults & 2 children) £20 so get together with another family.  Otherwise single tickets £9 for adults & £6 for children. Brilliant Brass - Sparkling music from sparkling instruments. English Folk - Summer isn't far away now - it's time for some traditional English Morris dancing. Location: Emma Cons Hall. Morley College, Westminster Bridge Rd. Any enquiries ring Shirley on 020 7326 1545 or email shirleywirly@yahoo.com

May, June, September. City & Guilds of London Art School Shows. The School is an independent art school located at 124 Kennington Park Road Kennington.  Each year we arrange three shows which are open to members of the public.  We would be very pleased to welcome anyone with an interest in art or anyone who might be interested in attending the school to any of our Shows.  IIf you would like further information this can be obtained from the General Office 020 7735 2306 or email info@cityandguildsartschool.ac.uk. The Foundation Show is 20-22 May, the Degree Show 19-22 June. The MA Show 11-14 September. Full details in Forward Events Diary.

27 May – 22 June. Henrietta Simson. Solo exhibition at Man & Eve gallery. span style="mso-spacerun:yes">& 

28 May. 2pm. Art & Compromise (II). Paul Hobson. /span> Free, but booking essential. Art & Compromise is a series of lectures conceived by Beaconsfield in collaboration with City & Guilds of London Art School. The 20th century concept of the artist as a politically alienated idealist has undergone significant shifts in recent years. Is there any form of moral obligation still within arts purpose? What price integrity? Can the negotiations of compromise be catalysts for creative invention? Paul Hobson is Director of the Contemporary Art Society www.contempart.org.uk.  He was recently the Interim Director of The Showroom gallery and has held various strategic positions within the visual arts, including Director of the Moose Foundation for the Arts and Head of Strategy and Development at the Serpentine Gallery. This Art & Compromise lecture will consider the implications arising from the idea that all art is a form of negotiation with oneself and the world, and the multifarious ways in which artists have to negotiate the meaning, value and status of their work in an increasingly hybrid, transactional visual arts ecology. To book, please email: info@beaconsfield.ltd.uk with ‘A&C lecture booking’ in the subject, or call Beaconsfield on 020 7582 6465. Beaconsfield, 22 Newport Street, www.beaconsfield.ltd.uk/

1 /span> June. Kennington Village Fete, Cleaver Square. MMagic show, Punch & Judy, human fruit machine, etc. Winkworth are the main sponsor. Proceeds to local causes. For further information contact Margarita O’Malley on 07970 863000 or margarita.omalley@nitor.uk.com. Tables are available to public traders on a first-come-first-served basis at £35 each.

18 september. Kennington Association Art Auction at the City & Guilds Art School. Bid for works local artists and students plus lots of original bargains. Viewing will take place on Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 (exact times to be confirmed). Proceeds to the Secret Santa Christmas scheme and a student crisis fund for the College. Further information from Catey Hillier, Art Auction Co-ordinator: cateyhillier@aol.com. A working party will start meeting at The Dog House on Tuesday 6 May at st1:time Minute="0" Hour="19" w:st="on">7pm.



The Stockwell Partnership, a community-led regeneration charity, is expanding its successful bi-lingual advocacy service following the award of a three year contract by Lambeth’s Community Children Service.span style="mso-spacerun:yes">  We are recruiting 4 new advocates to increase our language support to families of children under 5 in Lambeth.

Somali advocate:  35 hours per week £22,000-£24,840 pa

Portuguese/Spanish advocate:  35 hours per week £22,000-£24,840 pa

French advocate:   14 hours per week £10,432 pa

Polish advocate:   14 hours per week £10,432 pa

All salary figures quoted are inclusive.

You will provide generic advocacy support to refugee & settler families in Lambeth and encourage them to make full use of services offered by Lambeth’s Children’s Centres and other support facilities, including ESOL classes. You are fluent in both written and oral English and the language of the post you are applying for.   You have experience of working with migrants, refugees or asylum seekers, are sympathetic to the needs of parents/carers with young children and have a good knowledge of the welfare issues that they face.    You will know about the Every Child Matters Agenda and Team Around the Child. All posts require an enhanced CRB check, 2 written references and a health statement.   IInterviews will take place on 22/23 May 2008. For an application pack send a 60p C4 sae to John McCay, Stockwell Partnership, 157 South Lambeth Road/st1:Street>, London SW8 1XN.   Closing date for completed applications: 5pm on 13 May 2008..


Following Shamus Leonard’s funeral last Friday I emailed the local Councillors for Bishop’s, Prince’s and Oval Wards about my concerns about the poor state of repair of the chapel and the perimeter metal fencing, the poor level of information about the day’s funeral timetable, and the fact that even very modern gravestones were staked to prevent them falling down. Councillor Andrew Sawdon got his enquiry to the relevant Council officers in first and the following reply has been received from Ken Dry, Lambeth’s Cemeteries, Crematoria & Coroners Manager.

‘Lambeth Cemetery was first opened in 1852, and of the two original Cemetery Chapels, one is out of commission and surrounded by 'Heras' safety fencing, whilst the second which accommodated the funeral service attended by yourself is some 300m opposite and each within direct line of site of the other.

On the issue of the location and placement of cemetery information and each day’s funerals, there is a notice board immediately adjacent to the public entrance of the cemetery office which itself is adjacent to the cemetery entrance from Blackshaw Road. As the there is a site plan immediately visible on using this entrance opposite the cemetery office, I can only assume that you have perhaps mistakenly used the Crematorium entrance which is also on Blackshaw Road (300m further towards the Wimbledon end of Blackshaw Road) and travelled via an internal cemetery road to the Chapel. Please accept my apologies for any confusion; I shall re-examine the signage to see if it can be improved further, though bearing in mind that every burial service/grave committal is supervised by a member of cemetery staff, any person arriving late would be able to consult this person or ask for further information at the cemetery office some 60m away from the chapel.

In terms of the cemetery chapel I am aware that it is not to a suitable standard of décor (certainly not one I would wish) and I sincerely apologise for this. Having only just received the results of a structural survey of the Chapel in order to estimate the likely repair/renovation costs and determine a prioritised action plan for the same, I hope you will draw some comfort from the fact that this is a service priority for the current financial though dependent upon the available expenditure budgets and within the context of competing corporate priorities. Whilst a ‘quick win’ could be achieved by redecorating the interior, in my professional opinion it will be more cost effective in the medium to long term to address the structural and exterior fabric of which is a 150 year old building, with no significant foundations and sited on London Clay.

In the same context as above, the cemetery railings are to my knowledge ‘original’ and surround much of the 40 acre site. These again need to be replaced at some point in time as opposed to simply repainting which would deliver only a short-term result. Again funding and the priority of this issue in the context of other service provision is central, with 300m of 1.95m high cast iron, black painted railings costing £130,000 under another lottery funded project it is clear to see the level of funding required to achieve this objective.

In reference to your concerns regarding the cemetery memorials, I can confirm that the Council, as the landowner, is duty bound to risk-assess memorials under the Health and Safety Executive regulations, whilst the ownership of the memorials and the maintenance of the same remains with the registered graveowner until the expiration of the exclusive rights of burial; not the council. Thus when an assessment of a memorial (to industry recognised criteria) has been completed and has been assessed as a ‘failure’ it has been council policy to stake the memorial in situ in order to allow the inscription to remain visible whilst showing a greater sensitivity than laying the memorial flat, which would have had a more detrimental effect upon the cemetery and the reputation of the council.

This risk assessment exercise was completed as per a formal legislative procedure involving advance notice of the assessment works with each assessment being followed by a letter to the memorial/grave owner should it have failed, informing them of their legal responsibilities and the powers available to the council to take action should remedial action not be taken. In the course of this work, and at other cemeteries throughout the UK it is apparent that memorial masonry work has been sub-standard for some significant time, and is currently being addressed by the National Association of Memorial Masons and the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management to prevent further repetition by way of industry and burial authority regulation.

I hope this answers your queries; and once again please accept my apologies for any distress and inconvenience caused.’

I responded with the following comments:

Thank you very much for your very prompt reply, which is much appreciated.br />
I am pleased to see that improvements will be made.

On the issue of the notice I walked in the main entrance and did not look for a notice at it because I expected to see one on the chapel door. While the officiating vicar for the funeral I was attending and I were chatting a woman ran up looking for where the funeral was that she was trying to attend. That was in another building further down the site and she went running  off to get there. I suspect that people who arrive in cars drive in without seeing the notice at the entrance, and I am sure that there is not always someone on the entrance gate to ask.

I am not sure whether you are hinting that it may be necessary to demolish the chapel. If that is the case then the loss of a building with character would be a visual and heritage loss. In terms of the railings, I would hope that any replacement would be solidly made and of a design which would be consistent with the age of the Cemetery. I do not know whether the Cemetery is listed. If it is would Lambeth have to make a planning application to Wandsworth Council for the details to be looked at from a conservation perspective?

On the issue of the poles used to prop up gravestones, they appear in most cases to be very thick ones, higher than the height of the gravestones. They are very ugly. Cannot an equally sturdier way be devised that would have a cross shape stake flush with the back of the stone and driven down deep into the ground? Leaving aside the issue of the quality of modern masonry, there still seems to me from a layman's perspective to be a problem of how firmly bedded the gravestones are, which raises questions about the installation workmanship.

While I appreciate that repair and replacement works are expensive I assume that if remedial action had been taken earlier it would have been much cheaper. Also I suspect that most Lambeth Council tax payers would expect the Council to use its money to keep cemeteries in good condition. Having for a short while in the 1990s been freelance acting clerk to the West Norwood cemetery committee on behalf of Lambeth Democratic Services I am aware that years ago Lambeth developed a poor reputation with regard to the upkeep of its cemeteries. I assume that there is an annual repair and cyclical maintenance programme and budget. The state of the perimeter fencing would suggest that there was no provision for cyclical painting.’

KKen Dry has answered as follows:

‘In answer to your recent reply I can confirm that no decisions have been made,  or action(s) considered in respect to the demolition or otherwise of either of the cemetery chapels; neither are they listed structures nor the site to my knowledge within a conservation area.br />
When referring to memorial risk assessment, the process  concerns the structural integrity of the entire memorial and its foundations. The latter aspect is the primary reason for the majority of failures, and it is the issue of subterranean ground anchorage and dowellage that is central to the initiatives underway within the industry as previously mentioned. In essence less scrupulous memorial masons have neglected to use these items and methodologies in their work, or when they have, the items have failed for a any number of a range of reasons over time.

The wooden stakes supporting those memorials assessed as having failed, , together with their tensioned bindings, are of the required thickness and length to adequately bear both the stationary and moving loads of the  memorial. Whilst they may not be aesthetically pleasing, they are for a purpose, having been driven no less than 300mm into the ground to firmly support, and not simply 'prop' the memorial.

To utilise the system you suggest, we know would not provide adequate support or stability, as various methodologies and products were tried and tested before using the current format, which in itself proved to be the strongest and most cost effective for the purpose at hand.

In closing, I am sure you will agree that hindsight is a wonderful gift, and that the impact of past decisions and actions by the council in respect of its cemeteries (particularly West Norwood) and their effect upon its reputation over the last 15 years,  are now fully understood and appreciated by all concerned.

With regard to the other issues mentioned concerning the priorities of elected members and the allocation of council financial resources, these are best referred to Councillor Mark Bennett as elected member with portfolio for the Cemeteries, Crematoria and Coroners service.’


ENews/Events Listing compiled and edited by Sean Creighton, RCDT

Unless stated editorial comments do not reflect the views of the RCDT Board.

RCDT is supported by London Development Agency, and part-funded by Pedlar’s Acre Trust - Lambeth Council