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

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 ….

Tavi Place inquirer confirmed

The independent inspector who will carry out the Public Inquiry for the Torrington Place/Tavistock Place scheme has been announced as Martin Elliott. A quick Google search shows he’s done a lot of these inquiries, mainly dealing with issues around rights of way and common land.

The Inquiry will begin at 10.00am on Tuesday 10 October 2017 and is scheduled to last for 19 days. It will take place on Floor 11 at the offices of the London Borough of Camden, 5 Pancras Square.

Ahead of the start date, a Pre-Inquiry Meeting is taking place later this month – in the Council Chamber on Judd Street, on Thursday 31 August, commencing at 1.00pm. Any individuals or groups wanting to attend are asked to get in touch with the programme officer, Pauline Butcher at, by Friday 25th August.

Return of the Marchmont St party!

We’re delighted to announce the return of the Marchmont Street Party this year. The event will be held on Saturday 23rd September 12-5pm. The event is being organised by the Marchmont Association and King’s Cross Brunswick Neighbourhood Association, who run the community centre at 62 Marchmont Street and a range of valued community services in the area.

We’re grateful for the generous support of the local businesses who have agreed to sponsor the event, and to Camden Council for a small grant. Stalls invitations have been issued to previous stallholders (80 in total in 2014).

A few old favourites have been booked to play on the live stage, including the Lambeth Wind Orchestra, Tropical Heatwave and local band, the Northern Celts. There will also be Fun Fair rides, Circus Skills workshops and Punch & Judy shows for the children. More attractions will be announced nearer the time.

FUNDING ALERT – The party is one of the ‘green token’ appeals in Waitrose at the moment. All the proceeds will help pay for children’s entertainment on the day, so please support.

If you would like to get involved, by organising a stall or volunteering to help on the day, please contact us using the ‘Get Involved’ link on the MA web site.

Some photos from previous years to whet your appetites …

MA objects to Coram St 24 hour gym

Those of you there may well recall the opening of the new gym on Coram St was a hot topic of debate at this year’s AGM. Though everyone was happy to see a new business opening in the premises of the departed Finess First, there were strong differences of opinion on the proposed 24 hours trading. A vote on the evening recorded 9 in favour and 6 against, with about 20 abstentions.

Since this meeting The Gym has submitted its planning application, which has given rise to new concerns, primarily that the facility will not be staffed overnight. The MA committee has also been disappointed that The Gym has only given assurances in words about preventing nuisance being caused to residents living close by, with no specific actions to back this up. These should include staff being available on the premises. There is no indication of how residents might contact The Gym if they are, for example, woken by noisy customers.

As a result, the MA has submitted an objection to the planning application saying that, if The Gym can’t be more pro-active in dealing with local resident concerns, the business shouldn’t be permitted to trade beyond the same hours allowed for the nearby licensed premises, the Marquis Cornwallis and Callaghan’s pubs.

We are also extremely concerned to learn that residents of Foundling Court are being kept awake by the bright lights of The Gym premises, and the TV in its window – and that nothing can be done about this in Planning terms. We are surprised that there is no breach of planning when a new business causes such a nuisance, and have asked Camden to revisit this decision.