Xmas event planners at the ready folks …

Next week sees the Goodenough College & Bloomsbury Community Carol Service at Holy Cross Church., Cromer St. It’s on Thursday 7 December at 630pm.

The Mayor of Camden will be there as will the Bishop of Edmonton.

Mulled wine and mince pies afterwards too.



Attractive Christmas gift ideas that support the work of the Marchmont Association

With the race to find that special Christmas gift well underway, you might like to think of treating your nearest and dearest (or other acquaintances) to one of the Marchmont Association’s lavishly illustrated local history publications, all authored by Ricci de Freitas. All of the proceeds go towards the association’s work to improve the local area.

 They include, in order of publication:

·         The Story of Marchmont Street – Bloomsbury’s original high street (now in its 4th edition)


·         Tales of Brunswick Square – Bloomsbury’s untold past


·         From Fields to Fountains – the Story of Bloomsbury’s Russell Square, b


All three are all available at the following local outlets:

Skoob Books, 66 The Brunswick, WC1N 1AE

Judd Books, 82 Marchmont Street, WC1N 1AG

Camden Local Studies & Archives Centre, Holborn Library, Theobald’s Road

From Fields to Fountains is also available from Caffè Russell in Russell Square Gardens, and you can find them all on Amazon.

Peace and goodwill to you all.

Bloomsbury Festival 2017 – THIS WEEK!


… lots to choose from but here’s a few highlights we’ve picked out.

On Wednesday, Friends of Brunswick Square are hosting a talk by Professor Rosemary Ashton, whose research has uncovered a previously unknown association of the Peter Pan story with Bloomsbury and Brunswick Square. The talk will start at 7.30 pm (following a very brief FOBS AGM at 7 pm which you are welcome to attend if you wish).

If you’re quick you could then trip along to the Harrison for the return of the long lamented Hush. Formerly a regular at the Perserverance on Lambs Conduit St, the evening will combine the Hush special ingredients of great music and intimate performances. Three acts to warm to on an autumn evening  – Burning Salt featuring Hanah Hull and Hush perennial Bobby Williams, New York-born poet Mark Waldron, and Sailing Stones, the latest project of Jennie Lindfors, with sounds ranging from Laurel Canyon to the analogue ambience of Bladerunner.

And then on Saturday 21st – James Burton’s Bloomsbury Adventure: a historical walk by Ricci de Freitas. Ricci will track the progress of independent speculative builder, James Burton, as he developed Bloomsbury’s independently governed estates, starting with the Foundling Hospital Estate from 1790, then the Bedford Estate from 1800, and finally the Skinners’ Company Estate from 1807, before embarking on his final London ventures – Regent’s Park and Regent Street. Meeting point outside the front gates of Coram’s Fields in Guilford Street at 1.30pm.

In full the Bloomsbury Festival runs from next Wednesday 18th to Sunday 22nd – explore the complete programme here.

There’s some kind of festival on Marchmont St


The Marchmont Association (MA) and King’s Cross Brunswick Neighbourhood Association (joint organisers of MSP 2017) would like to thank all sponsors, performers and stallholders for making Saturday 23rd September such an enjoyable day. 

Event-goers were treated to an eclectic mix of performances by the 30-piece Lambeth Wind Orchestra, Jigalig Irish folk group, Greek dancers from the Greek Community School, and Bangla Shur Bengali music group, but the highlight of the event was undoubtedly the vibrant Tropical Heatwave carnival band (pictured), who got event-goers dancing in the street for the last hour.

We’re already thinking about MSP 2018, and we want your ideas.

We are grateful for the generous support of: Imperial London Hotels Ltd., Pizza Sophia, Generator London, GLP, M&J, Waitrose, Saucy Restaurant and Camden Council. We are also grateful to Camden for arranging the road closure and street cleaning, to Richard Sharples for designing our publicity and to The Brunswick, for allowing us to use their land again. Thanks also to our willing band of volunteers for decorating the street, stewarding and stalls co-ordination.




Family ties


What does the family mean to you? Yeah – the world. But what about the idea of ‘family’? Is that changing, as our lives become stretched in time and place, though better connected by tech? How does our idea of family compare to other times? How is it different across cultures?

Families in our neighbourhood today face many challenges  – bringing up children in a modern city, combining work and family, coping with the distances between family members across generations. Or sometimes the opposite – dealing with the pressures of generations living close together in small, crowded flats.

If these are questions which interest or prompt some thoughts, you might like to know about a new Britsh Museum project (we are lucky to have these places on our doorstep). It’s the latest in the Museum’s Object Journeys scheme, a community project that began in 2015 and lets people research and explore the museum collections and produce displays, events and digital content.

The BM’s Kayte McSweeney says, “Object Journeys is about learning, researching and exploring together and is designed to facilitate a genuine sharing and exchanging of knowledge. The current project aims to explore the theme of ‘care within the family’. This is a wide theme, as we would like our community partners to both shape and lead its direction. We would like the project to use our collections from the Americas and Oceania but there may be opportunities to bring in objects from other places too.”

Kayte is looking to work a group of adults (over 18’s) from different cultural heritage backgrounds and a mix of gender and age to help think about this subject, leading to the creation of a new public display that will open in Summer 2018. The project will include sessions at the museum, delving into its object stores, and some independent research.

If you’d like to see what might come out of it, here’s two they did earlier – a project in 2015 that worked with the Somali community  to produce a new Museum display, and a new display curated by a community of Kiribati (Central Pacific) people living in the UK.

If interested – contact Kayte McSweeney, Learning and National Partnerships, British Museum on +44) 020 7323 8398 or kmcsweeney@britishmuseum.org.

The image, by the way, is ‘A Bloomsbury Family’ depicting the artist William Nicholson and his family, and painted just over a century ago in 1907. Nicholson’s wife, the painter Mabel Pryde, is standing by the door. Sitting at the table from left to right are the Nicholson children: Nancy, who married the writer Robert Graves; Tony, who died during the war in 1918; and Ben, who would become Britain’s foremost abstract artist. For some reason it’s in the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh. Maybe the BM should get it on loan?

Safer streets app

The Camden Safer Steets team has just released a new ‘Streetsafe app’. You can now report rough sleepers and incidents of street activity in real time from your phone or tablet. To download the app, visit the link on the Camden SST website.

It’s intended as an extra, not a replacement, SST tells us. If you prefer, you can still call or email.

Will be interesting to hear how people find this – a helpful way of using tech to assist rough sleepers and keep the streets safer? And from the Safer Streets team – will be good to know how it is working, and has it made a difference? Do let us know ….