Have a drink with the Characters of Coldharbour Lane

woman sitting on wall outside building
Magda Borowiecka, lead architect for Southwyck House outside her creation

A Characters of Coldharbour Lane photography exhibition launches today on social media and later this month at Brixton Brewery’s taproom on Brixton Station Road.

It features portraits by South London photographer Amari James – Greaterbythehour – celebrating and paying homage to people and businesses who have made Coldharbour Lane, inspiration for the brewery’s Coldharbour Lager, what it is today.

From the architect of Southwyck House, “the barrier block”, to the Chip Shop famous for its live DJs, Characters of Coldbarbour Lane celebrates a slice of time along this lively and ever-changing road. 

“We spoke to people who represent both ‘old’ and ‘new’ Brixton,” says Jez Galaun, co-founder of Brixton Brewery.

“Some are running family businesses that have been on the street since the 1950s, others are more recently arrived.

“Despite their different stories, what struck us was how much everyone had in common: a deep respect for the local area, and a desire to serve their community as best they can.

“We also wanted to shine a light on businesses as they reopen after lockdown and the famous Brixton streetlife returns.”

Xochitl Benjamin, also a co-founder of the brewery, says that when they came up with the idea, they were especially curious about the architect of the barrier block, because it is such a dominant feature on the street.

“We managed to disprove the rumour that she committed suicide after her building was so heavily criticised by finding Magda and having her over for a beer and an absolutely fascinating chat,” says Xochitl.

“She’s turning 90 later this year, and still lives in Lambeth. She came to England from Poland in 1941, was studying architecture by the age of 15 and was a pioneering woman architect when there were very few. 

“She designed the Barrier Block in response to a complicated challenge. It was meant to be next to a raised motorway. Thankfully the motorway was never built, and the barrier block is increasingly recognised as a major achievement, though it was funny to discover that Magda herself is not a fan.

“She loves a beer though!”

Read the interview here

Photographs from the campaign, along with excerpts from the interviews, will be on display at Brixton Brewery Taproom (Arch 548 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PF) from 23 September until 7 October.

Featured in the photographs are:

  • Magda Borowiecka, lead architect for Southwyck House
  • Oliver Williams, Kool Kut barbers
  • Cidalia Rodrigues, Chip Shop Brixton
  • Brian Danclair, Fish, Wings & Tings
  • Melanie Brown, The Laundry Brixton
  • Raz & Jimmy, Jimmy’s Plaice Fish & Chip shop
  • Ama Quashie & Latoya Lovatt, AMA nail salon
Brixton Brewery signage

The exhibition is free to all visitors to the taproom, which is now open for drinks on site.

Walk-ins are welcome, or a table can be booked for up to six people by emailing taproom@brixtonbrewery.com.

The taproom is also open for takeaway drinks, so pop in to see the exhibition and leave with a few cans of Coldharbour to enjoy at home, says the brewery.

Opening hours and beer are available from the brewery website.

Exhibition images will feature on Brixton Brewery’s social media channels over the coming month and in Posterzine issue 61.