Heritage and heroes of Brixton and around

Lambeth Heritage Festival returns for its fifth year in September, celebrating the history of the borough with over 60 events, many of them in Brixton.

Brockwell Park Lido circa 1920
Brockwell Park Lido

The Lambeth Heritage Festival full programme can be downloaded, or you pick up a printed copy at Lambeth libraries. Below are some of the highlights in and around Brixton.

Brixton Windmill guided walk

Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September. 1pm

Meet at the windmill.
Pass some of Brixton Hill’s oldest surviving houses and discover surprising celebrity inmates of Brixton prison.
£5, concessions £3, children free; pay on walk. All money goes to the maintenance of the Windmill.

Documenting Lambeth: Wikipedia photo walk

Saturday 9 September 12 – 4pm

Lambeth Archives, 52 Knatchbull Road, SE5 9QY.
Join people all over the world who are documenting their communities on Wikipedia. Workshop includes an opportunity to take photographs in the streets around Lambeth Archives and contribute knowledge that is free to all. Bring your own digital camera and laptop or ­smartphone.
Free, but booking essential at lambethwikiphoto.eventbrite.co.uk.

Summer of Love revisited

Saturday 9 September 1.30 – 4.30pm

Milkwood Park, Milkwood Road, SE24 0HZ.
Picnic celebrating the spirit of 1967, the liberalising legislation passed then (Sexual Offences Act, Abortion Act) and the songs and cultures of 50 years ago. Hippie gear welcome.
Free, no booking required.

Brixton Market Heritage

Saturday 9 September 2.30pm

Meet at the Brixton Society stall in Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PB.
Guided walk taking in the Brixton market area. The history of the markets mirrors the history of Brixton – learn about from the Brixton Society.
Booking essential. £3 including a copy of the walk booklet. Email: marketwalks@brixtonsociety.org.uk.

Digital Soap Box

Saturday 9 September 1 – 4pm

Brixton Pound Cafe, 77 Atlantic Road, SW9 8PU.
Clapham Film Unit invites people to come into the Digital Soap Box and “have their say”. The unit will livestream via its YouTube channel and make ­recordings for Lambeth Archives.
Free, no booking required.

Showcasing our History

Saturday 9 September 7pm

Longfield Hall, 50 Knatchbull Road, SE5 9QY.
Join writer and researcher Steve Martin for an illustrated talk about the stories of the musicians, singers and performers who have lived and worked around Longfield Hall since it opened in 1889. Featuring music and film, the talk will look at the history of the Myatt’s Fields area from Victorian times through to the 1970s when Longfield Hall was home to one of the UK’s first Black theatre companies.
Free, no booking required.

Henry Tate and the Brixton Library

Thursday 14 September 7pm

Vida Walsh Centre, 2b Saltoun Road, SW2 1EP.
Illustrated talk by Bill Linskey, the chair of the Brixton Society, on how Brixton’s Tate library came into being and the role of businessman Henry Tate.
Free, no booking required.

Windmill Harvest Festival

Sunday 17 September 2 – 5pm

Windmill Gardens, SW2 5EU.
Harvest festival celebrating rural crafts. With craft workshops, food, music, farm animals and family fun. More information at brixtonwindmill.org/whats-on.
Free, no booking required.

Brockwell Park: creation and early years

Sunday 17 September 11am

Brockwell Hall, Brockwell Park, SE24 9BJ.
Brockwell Park is an almost intact version of an original estate, crowned by its Regency villa and created in the early 1800s by John Blades, supplier of chandeliers to the Prince Regent. Friends of Brockwell Park chair Peter Bradley explains how this estate became a Victorian park.
Free, no booking required.

V2s In Lambeth and the Dora Project

Wednesday 20 September 6.30pm

Brixton Tate Library.
Artists Françoise Dupré and Rebecca Snow connect two sites of terror during the Second World War: the V2 bomb-sites of Lambeth and the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp in Germany where the rockets were built by slave labour, including Françoise’s uncle. See doraproject.wordpress.com.
Free, no booking required.

Hot Chocolate – An Introductory History

Thursday 24 September 3pm

The Chocolate Museum, 187 Ferndale Road, Brixton, SW9 8BA.
Introduction to the history of hot chocolate with a focus on the relations between Britain, West Africa and the Caribbean. Jamaican cocoa tea served.
Free, but booking essential at www.TheChocolateMuseum.co.uk.

Time-lining the Front Line

Saturday 23 September 12.30pm

Meet at the Commercial, 212 Railton Road SE24 0JT.
Railton Road, aka The Front Line, is an address rich with local historical associations. This walking tour, organised by 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, looks at the earlier history of the road as well as its association with the 1981 Brixton riots/uprising.
Free, but booking is essential. Email kareen@198.org.uk or phone 020 7978 8309.

zaeo-the-trapeze-artist_S-I-Martin walkIn the Valley of the Comedians

Sunday 24 September 1.00

Walk. Meet outside White Bear Theatre, 138 Kennington Park Road, SE11 4DJ.
Discover the forgotten era of Lambeth’s music hall, stage and screen performers (like trapeze artist Zaeo, left) – a time when race, class and gender were in constant collision. S. I. Martin leads the walk from Kennington Common to Brixton Hill.
Free, but booking essential.


Brockwell Lido, 1937 – 2017: 80 years young

Monday 25 September 7pm

Lido Café, Dulwich Road, SE24 0PA.
There is a Lido in Brockwell Park because locals were already swimming in a big lake there from the 1890s. Celebrating the Lido’s 80th anniv­ersary, daily swimmer and local historian Peter Bradley looks at 120 years of swimming in Brockwell Park.
Free, no booking required.

Windmill Lecture – The Ashbys of Brixton Hill

Wednesday 27 September 7.15

St Paul’s Community Centre, Blenheim Gardens SW2 5BZ.
Talk by a family descendant, recounts the history of the Ashby family who built Brixton Windmill in 1816 and worked there until 1934, as well as their Quaker beliefs and their determination to continue to produce stoneground flour in the face of the industrialisation of flour production.
Free, no booking required. Refreshments, exhibition.

Brixton Local Heroes

Wednesday 27 September 7pm

Brixton Library, Brixton Oval, SW2 1AS.
The project celebrates and commemorates local people. This event presents a list of suggested names and culminates with a film screening and discussion of recent “local heroes” who have contributed to society through arts, science, entertainment and politics. Free, no booking required.

Memory on a T-shirt

Saturday 30 September 11.30am – 2.30pm

198 Gallery, 198 Railton Road, SE24 OJT.
Join 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning and their Voices from the Front Line project about the history of Railton Road for an introductory practical workshop on designing and printing your own T-shirt inspired by Brixton’s history. Booking essential.
Donation of £10 for materials. Email kareen@198.org.uk.