Marchmont Association AGM – 17th May

Regular attenders will know that we always try to invite a guest speaker on a hot topic of local interest to the Marchmont Association annual general meeting.

This year has presented us with something of a dilemma. The hot topic, it seems to us, is undoubtedly the various traffic schemes that are either in trial (Tavistock Place) or proposed (Judd St / Brunswick Square). But there has already been a public meeting about the Judd St plans – set up by the Council after some prompting from us and others. And we are planning a public meeting on the Tavistock Place trial – but not until late June / early July once LB Camden has the traffic monitoring data for the first six months of the scheme.

In that case, we’ve decided to make this year’s AGM a ‘business only’ event. But don’t be deterred …. that still means it will include a full account of our work over the last year with updates on new shops, the Friends of Brunswick Square Emma Festival, plans for Guilford Place loos to become a noodle bar, the Council’s plans to leave local parks and gardens open overnight, new blue plaques and, errr.. .. the new blog site.

Plus … in the last year the Committee has also considered how we might update the association’s aims to reflect the work we are now doing regarding development pressures, and to enable us to better communicate what we find out is going on in the area. We also want to encourage our supporters to become more involved. We’re therefore proposing the following minor amendments to the Constitution. These will be presented to the AGM.

MA Aims adopted at the 19.5.15 AGM.

a. To promote the on-going improvement of the Association’s area of benefit for the benefit of residents, businesses and visitors.

b. To conserve the area’s historic character and raise awareness of its rich social history.

c. To establish and maintain a safe, high quality street environment throughout the area of benefit, thereby ensuring that it remains an attractive place to live, work and visit.

d. To promote community spirit, pride of place and a sense of shared responsibility for the area’s success.

e. To work in partnership with statutory bodies, residents’ associations and other relevant organisations.

f. To attract inward investment from a variety of external sources for the betterment of the area.

The following amendments are proposed to the above Aims

To retain Aims a, b, c, and d and replace Aims e and f with: “e. To represent the interests of residents and businesses in cases of new development within the area”; and “f. To be a source of news and information about current activities and developments in the area.”
To insert below the Aims: “We will seek to achieve these Aims by – working in partnership and supporting the work of statutory bodies and other community and voluntary organisations in the area that share our Aims”; & “Attracting external funding from a variety of sources.” (the final two points will be bullet-pointed in the Constitution).

Date for your diary is 17th May, 6.45 for a 7pm start at the Bloomsbury Holiday Inn.

See you there.

Flyer attached – we’d be grateful if you can display locally ….




Last chance to book…

Bloomsbury’s Squares: Pioneering Past, Uncertain Future

The Study Day organised by the Association of Bloomsbury Squares and Gardens, and the Birkbeck Garden History Group is fast approaching. Event is to be held Saturday 7 May 2016  

2016 is a landmark in the story of the Bloomsbury Squares, as they face serious council cuts and explore possible new ways of finance. The Study Day will trace the history of the squares, from their creation as country oases in an urban setting, through their prominent role in the early heritage conservation movement and the postwar opening of many to the public, followed by decline and then reinvigoration at the millennium, to the current situation. The day will include a number of short walks to view individual features of the squares as part of the programme.

Venue: UCL School of Pharmacy, Brunswick Square, London 30)

Booking through Eventbrite

Tickets (incl. lunch and refreshments) £32 (BGHG members £30)

ABSG study day 7 May flier (March updated 2) 

Resurrecting the Shakespeare Hut


Do you have stories or photographs handed down through your family about the First World War? To commemorate the centenary of the war, Digital Drama are looking for people in the Borough of Camden with family memories of life during 1914-18.

The stories will be used in a heritage exhibition, ‘Resurrecting the Shakespeare Hut’, running in July/August/September at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine on Keppel Street.

The exhibition  will tell the forgotten story of the YMCA Shakespeare Hut, a mock tudor building opened in 1916 to provide rest, recuperation and entertainment for WWI troops on leave in London. It was opened to mark the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in August 1916. The exhibition will also feature the family WWI stories of local residents from Camden.

As well as looking for stories from local people about their own families’ memories of WWI to be included in the exhibition, the project also wants volunteers interested in researching the history, helping with oral history recordings, and taking part in a performance re-enactment of the opening of the Hut on 11th August.

Find out more …

Alison at Digital Drama on 07525 205148 or e-mail


Judd St cycle plans opposed by RNIB

The Royal National Institute for the Blind has called for Transport for London to scrap its plans for extending the North-South cycle highway along Judd St, according to this week’s Camden New Journal.

The Institute has also raised concern about the proposal to replace the pelican crossing near to the RNIB’s home on Judd Street with a widened zebra crossing.

RNIB director Fazilet Hadi is quoted in the paper as saying: “We are extremely concerned that the dramatic increase in the number of cyclists, combined with the removal of the pelican crossing, will put many blind and partially sighted people at risk of injury. TfL must not assume that all blind people are easily identifiable and that cyclists can spot them in advance. Many people with sight loss do not use a cane or have a guide dog.”

A protest last week was supported by blind peers including former Labour home secretary David Blunkett.


Roman lessons for Bloomsbury?

Is there an alternative to the road schemes now being trialed and planned for Bloomsbury? The schemes are intended to make driving more difficult in central London, so encouraging other modes of transport.  But critics fear they will create more congestion not less, and force local car drivers to take circuitous routes.

Amsterdam and Copenhagen are often cited as models for London – but local resident and planning expert Tony Tugnutt finds inspiration further south…

“So when in London why not do as the Romans do?

As someone lucky enough to have visited the Eternal City many times over the years, a scheme implemented there seem to be heaps more effective than Livingstone’s Congestion Charge. The Congestion Charge does nothing for pollution or city life just £££££ out of drivers’ pcokets. So why not send it packing like his bloomin red bendy buses, now blue, retired in Malta and catching alight friends tell me?”
Rome has a restricted area ZTL (“Zona Traffico Limitato”) in Centro Storico and Trastevere where driving is authorized only to local inhabitants or to individuals destined for a hotel in the restricted zone. Your hotel will assist you with the registration of your license plate number. The ZTL-zones in Rome are controlled by video cameras.


And this is the advice the city’s authorities give visitors…

“Rome is the third-most-visited tourist destination in Europe, the seat of the Italian Government and the Roman catholic church. In the centre of Rome parking is possible but very limited. The best option to park is a car park.

Traffic in Rome is chaotic and stressful. Roman car driver are sometimes aggressive. Our advice is to park your car as quickly as possible and spend your time in Rome car-free. Besides that, street parking in the historic center is hardly possible, there no parking bays.”

Words in Holborn

Another upcoming Local Studies event that caught our eye…..

Writing by Shakespeare and his contemporaries connected with Holborn
performed by John Levitt to mark the quatercentenary of the Bard’s death


Tuesday 26th April 2016 at 7.15pm

Camden Local Studies & Archives Centre

2nd Floor, Holborn Library, 32-38 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8PA

 Admission Free

With a little help from my friends

… is the title of the talk on offer at this year’s annual meeting of the Friends of St George’s Gardens. The meeting happens on Tuesday April 12th (tomorrow!!) , 7-9pm, at the Lumen Church, Tavistock Place.

Guest speaker is Ken Greenway, from London’s most urban woodland, the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. Ken has worked all around the UK on conservation projects and the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park won the prestigious Observer Ethical Wildlife Award in 2015.

 Ken’s passion and interest in plants also led him to learn more about wild food. He is a keen bat enthusiast with a regular slot at Bat Fest at the Natural History Museum. Inriguingly the Friends tell MV that his interest in bats was used to winning effect when he starred and won in Come Dine With Me.

Then on Saturday April 23 the Friends will have their regular St George’s Gardens Day Party, from 2-5pm. Music, a juggler, Punch and Judy and tea and cakes all on offer.