Planning for the people

    • Planning for the people

      The ‘Blackfriars SE1 in the 1970s’ exhibition features in a new article for the community planning world: ‘SE1 Stories – Lessons from the History of Community Organising in one Neighbourhood’. It says the exhibition

      gives us food for thought about what lessons we can draw from past experiences of participatory planning and the importance of not letting these histories get hidden.

      Author Sue Brownhill spoke to a couple of group members “to find out more about how and why they brought it together and what tips they would pass on to others thinking of doing a similar project”.

      This was written as part of the ‘Spaces of Hope’ project, which is exploring the often-overlooked ways in which local people and organisations have come together to improve their physical and social environments. It has also been reproduced in the March/April 2022 issue of ‘Town and Country Planning‘, the members journal of Town and Country Planning Association.

      See it for yourself

      Check the sidebar or the main exhibition page for current location – autumn 2022 venues are pencilled in too. Here’s the latest press release (pdf, 1MB), or you can see the online version here.

SE1 Stories – a record of community struggles

Telling the story of an extraordinary period of community action in the 1970s and 1980s in Blackfriars, Waterloo and North Southwark, along London’s south bank.

For many it was a fight for survival as businesses moved out and developers eyed up land for office development, leaving isolated communities struggling to maintain their way of life, coping with run-down housing and threats to facilities such as chemists and laundrettes. Very much the same pressures are re-emerging now – and there is the same need for community action.


Intrepid photographers captured a lot of the activity, which was then published in SE1’s own community newspaper. Many of the photographs are now held in private and public collections, particularly council local history archives, perhaps you know of others hidden elsewhere.

The first project based on this material is the exhibition Blackfriars SE1 in the 1970s.

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