Sunday ceremony to open Brixton Cherry Groce memorial

Computer-generated image of the memorial to Cherry Groce in Brixton's Windrush Square
Computer-generated image of the memorial to Cherry Groce in Brixton’s Windrush Square

The Cherry Groce memorial pavilion on Brixton’s Windrush Square is due to be officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sunday 25 April at 11am.

Designed by leading architect Sir David Adjaye and largely funded by Lambeth council, the memorial is the result of campaigning by the Cherry Groce Foundation.

The foundation was was set up to honour Cherry Groce, who was left paralysed after a Metropolitan police officer shot her in her Brixton home in September 1985.

This was the start of a pursuit for justice over three decades for her and the community.

The foundation said the memorial is designed to create awareness and understanding of the life and experience of Cherry Groce and her family, as well as the broader community, and to create a permanent place of reflection and inspiration for people to connect with the concept of justice and reconciliation.

Following the unveiling, which comes almost exactly 10 years after Cherry Groce died in 2011, an online community event, starting at 4pm, will examine the impact of the tragedy on the family and wider community, and discuss its historical significance and how to build a better future.

Guests will include Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean died after being held in a police van and Brixton police station in 2008.

CGIm image
The proposed pavilion looking north

Sir David Adjaye, whose architecture practice also designed the controversial tower development planned for Pope’s Road in Brixton, said: “The construction of this memorial will speak to restorative justice and will symbolise that what matters to the community, matters to London and the whole world.

“This tragedy went too long in the public realm without acknowledgement and there is now renewed urgency and importance in finally facing this history.”

Lambeth council leader Jack Hopkins said: “We are proud to be working alongside the Groce family and Sir David on this fitting memorial to Cherry Groce, an innocent woman from our borough who experienced terrible suffering as a result of a major injustice.

“We hail the Groce family for their commitment in getting to the truth of Cherry’s shooting, for their resilience in the face of suffering and for their determination to create a long-lasting tribute to their mum which will make sure this injustice will not be forgotten.”

Listen to Cherry Groce’s son Lee Lawrence talking to the Blog’s Dave Randall