Tag Archives: Windrush Square

‘We Love Brixton’ on Windrush Square

‘Who doesn’t love Brixton is a loser’ – epithet written on one of the 8ft letters which spelled out ‘WE LOVE BRIXTON’ on Windrush Square yesterday.


Photo by Jon Darke

Photo by Jon Darke

Decorating the letters

 Photo by Jon Darke

And people gathering to watch…

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Tomorrow: We Love Brixton – Windrush Square

As a response to the London riots, a group of Brixton residents – including several shopowners from ‘Brixton Village’/Granville Arcade – have organised a ‘We Love Brixton’ event tomorrow on Windrush Square. They are going to install ‘WE LOVE BRIXTON’ in 8ft high letters on the square, as an ‘interactive sculpture’, which people will be able to decorate on the day. There will also be a ‘Speakers Corner’ for local residents to voice their opinions and music from the youth brass band, Kinetika Bloco.

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Brixton Windmill opens its doors

The procession from Windrush Square up Brixton Hill – an extraordinary turn-out:

Photo (above): Kaye Wiggins

Chuka Umunna MP was there to open the Windmill with the Mayor of Lambeth Tina Valcarcel and a special guest – a descendant of John Ashby, the original owner of the Mill:

Photo (above): Kaye Wiggins

They were the first to see the newly renovated interior:

While the rest of the crowd waited very patiently in the sun:


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The Weekend Ahead in Brixton

Now all the fuss is over and the Sarah Burton dress has been revealed, we can get on with the rest of the weekend. Here’s what’s in store:

Tonight: The Come Dine With Me Royal Wedding Special at 8pm tonight gets contestants to host themed street parties – one of them is Vincent from Brixton and he’s hosting a mock-Martinique wedding party ‘with his guests expected to cross dress’. The party was actually filmed some weeks ago of course.

If you fancy something a little more exciting, Plan B is holding their ‘Bump!’ club night with electro/Italo disco duo Heartbreak.

Saturday: Wim Wenders’ 3D film about the modern-dance choreographer Pina Bausch, ‘Pina’, is showing at The Ritzy at 15.20, 18.10 and 21.30. It looks GREAT.

Monday: The Brixton Windmill is re-opening – join the procession from Windrush Square at 2pm, processing up the hill to the Windmill itself for the opening ceremony with Chuka Umunna and a ‘guest celebrity’ at 3pm.

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More videos from the anti cuts demo last night

One protestor’s view of the public spending cuts in Lambeth

Videos by Kaye Wiggins

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Photos from tonight’s anti-cuts demo, Brixton Town Hall

Blocking the road to protest against lollipop ladies losing their jobs

Photos: Kaye Wiggins

And a short video to give a taste of the protest (taken by Zoe Jewell):

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A snapshot of Brixton’s library protest

Local resident Rod Smith, librarians Abibat Olulode and Anna Tomlinson

Kaye Wiggins reports from Saturday’s protest against cuts to library services

Abibat Olulode, who works at Brixton library, and Anna Tomlinson, from the library in Streatham, are among a group of around 100 people who staged a protest outside Brixton library yesterday. They say they have no idea what Lambeth council’s spending cuts will mean for the service because they haven’t been told.

“All I know is what I’ve read in the South London Press,” says Abibat. “But it’s obvious that there are going to be big cuts.”

She says she fears the library’s outreach services will be hardest hit by the cuts. “The money we get will be for our core service, so we will have to stop the other work,” she says. “This means things like literacy development activities, reading groups and programmes to help refugees. These services are for the more vulnerable people yet they’re being hit the hardest. That’s why we’re here to protest.”

The deputy leader of Lambeth Council, Jackie Meldrum, visited the library on the morning of the protest, but Abibat says this wasn’t enough to reassure the protesters. “I didn’t hear her, but I expect she just said what she always says – that we have to blame the cuts on the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in the government,” she says.

“I think she’s wrong about that. The council shouldn’t be complicit in finding mealy-mouthed ways to make these cuts. It should stand up to the government and demand more money.”

Rod Smith, a retired Unison member and a regular user of Brixton library, says he is worried about the council’s plans to transfer responsibility for running libraries to community groups, who would make greater use of volunteers to run the service.

“If you want libraries to be run properly, you need paid, trained staff,” he says. “Why should people’s public services be run by volunteers?

“The council is the biggest employer in Lambeth. It is setting a bad example by saying to other employers that it’s ok to let people work for free instead of paying professionals.”

Abibat points out that she has a masters degree in information service management. “How many of the volunteers will have that qualification?” she says. “They won’t, and they’ll quit when the work gets tough.”


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2010 – the year in Brixton

Kaye Wiggins reports on 2010 in Brixton – a year of elections, closed leisure centres, happy lido days, rising market rents and a jerk chicken festival.


2010 has been a year of change for Brixton. It has said hello to Windrush Square, Starbucks, Chuka Umunna and the co-op council. Here’s a quick round-up of the bigger stories of the year.

The renamed and re-landscaped Windrush Square opened in February. Lambeth Council said it would “create a safe, high-quality public space reflecting our unique and diverse community.” But critics questioned whether an “expanse of concrete” could really reflect Brixton’s character.

Also in February, the council announced its plans to “go co-op”. It has spent much of the year trying to explain to residents what this means, and gather our thoughts about it, sometimes in unorthodox ways. Asking us to put coloured balls in different bucket and stickers on bits of paper was a memorable example.

But what the council claims is a worse-than-expected budget settlement from central government, announced in October, has brought a sense of urgency to the plans. They are due to come into force from spring 2011.

Sticking with politics, the general election in May saw Labour hold its Streatham, Vauxhall and Dulwich and West Norwood seats. Chuka Umunna replaced Keith Hill in Streatham, Kate Hoey kept her Vauxhall seat and Tessa Jowell held onto Dulwich and West Norwood.

In the local elections, there was a strong showing for Labour, which gained seven seats. The Lib Dems and the Tories each lost three seats.

A plan to temporarily move Streatham’s ice skating rink to the site of the Pope’s Road car park in Brixton caused unrest this year. In October, more than 100 demonstrators marched to Lambeth town hall to protest about it.

The plan also angered traders on Brixton market, who said using the closed car park as an ice rink, rather than reopening it for parking, could cause them to lose more trade. They had been arguing since February that the closure of the car park in December 2009 had affected their trade, and a Freedom of Information request in October added weight to their argument.

Market traders have had a difficult year, warning in September that rent rises could force more of their shops to close. But there was good news in April, when Brixton’s indoor markets were given listed status.

Shopping in Brixton changed a lot in 2010. Whilst several market stalls have closed down, and independent shops like Lori’s Frothy Coffee have struggled, big brands including StarbucksH&MT-Mobile and, most recently, Holland and Barrett, have arrived in the town centre.

But Brixton’s local businesses have had some causes for celebration. The Brixton Pound marked its first birthday in September. And who could forget Charles and Camilla’s surprise visit to the market in July?

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Mini Interview: Jacob Fodio Todd, OxJam

Brixton Blog interviews Jakob Fodio Todd, regional manager for Brixton OxJam, about this year’s music festival on 23 October

What is OxJam?

OxJam is a month-long music festival across Britain and we’re organising one in and around Brixton. The money raised goes to Oxfam and they spend it on three different elements of their work – campaigning, development work and emergency response.

What’s going to be happening in October?

We’ve got as many local musicians and DJs as possible – people like Yaaba Funk for example.  People are very receptive to the idea of playing at OxJam if they’re around and available, so we’re going to have some really good events. There are going to be lots of different DJs and it’ll be taking place at all the major Brixton venues – The Windmill, Plan B, Rest is Noise, Dogstar and Upstairs at the Ritzy.

What events have you got planned in the lead-up to OxJam?

We’ve already had a few – a Frock Swap, where people came to the Dogstar to swap clothes, and a Jumble Sale in the Dogstar. They’ve been quite stressful to organise! But there’s always been a really good atmosphere and a nice flow of people have attended. On 9 October, we’re going to do a takeover of Windrush Square with music and stalls from local businesses.

How much are you hoping to raise?

We raised £4,000 last year, so we’re hoping for a bit more this year. About £300,000 is expected to be raised across the country.


Upcoming Events:

Oxjam Brixton Windrush Square All-dayer, 9 October – promoting local Brixton organisations, Oxjam festival and music and dance entertainment

Oxjam Brixton Takeover 2010, 23 October – @ Plan B(electro/dance), Rest Is Noise(afrobeat/hi-life), Upstairs at the Ritzy(jazz/blues/soul), Dogstar (hip hop/reggae) and the Windmill (indie/rock/ska) – tickets £8 (http://brixtonoxjam.com)

More info:
FB:  Oxjam Brixton Takeover 2010
Twitter: http://twitter.com/oxjambrixton

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The Co-op Council comes to you

Lambeth Council are going on a road trip this week – staff have been out and about in Lambeth talking to residents about what they think of the plans for a co-op council. And on Sunday they’re coming to Brixton…if you can bear to miss the World Cup/the build-up/the aftermath then here’s your chance to finally ‘have your say’.

From 10-4 today they’ll be in Norwood:

10am-12.15pm Norwood Rd – near Tulse Hill station
12.45-6pm Norwood Rd – near Tesco

And from 10-6 on Sunday they’ll be in Brixton:

10am-12.15pm Brixton tube
12.45-3pm Brockwell Park
3.30-6pm Brixton – Windrush Square

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