Chance to view in London N1

NEWSFLASH! We’ve managed to arrange public ‘out of hours’ access to the Blackfriars SE1 in the 1970s – Community Action in a London Neighbourhood exhibition while it is on display to students of The London School of Architecture, until Thursday 3rd November.

Open to the public by appointment only – book the day before your visit.

Weekdays: 6 pm to 8:30 pm; Weekends: Saturday 11 am to 5:30 pm, Sunday Closed. At 6 Orsman Road, London, N1 5RA.

Text Fabrice: 07770 591804 to book.

Quiz the team

Informal seminar at LSA on Tuesday evening, November 1st – 6pm for 6:30pm, 7.30 finish.

In the London School of Architecture space, first floor, 6 Orsman Road, London, N1 5RA.

LSA architecture students will quiz representatives from the SE1 Stories group about community action and community photography initiatives in North Southwark and Waterloo in the 1970s, and discuss how relevant the issues they addressed and the methods they used are today.


Members of the public can attend by booking at least one day in advance – text Fabrice 07770 591804.

Exhibition widens its reach

The ‘Blackfriars SE1 in the 1970s’ exhibition is back on display for the autumn.

Currently making a return visit to Blackfriars Settlement until 3rd October, this will be followed by its first showing away from the Southwark borough area (see note), but still within SE1. Following renovation of St Johns Church in Waterloo, SE1 Stories is proud to be part of their ‘First 100 Days‘ programme of events, from 4th to 24th October.

Plans are also being finalised for a journey across the river to the London School of Architecture, in N1. The level of public access will depend on the precise location. Update: this is now confirmed as a special showing for students and invited guests only, due to the limitations of the space.

Peckham Library 2022
Peckham Library Apr/May 2022

Further Southwark venues for later in 2022 or early 2023 are also currently being explored. Check the main exhibition page for current details and future updates.

Note: Last November’s venue Morley College is technically in Lambeth but its premises are split over the borough boundary, close enough to count!

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 and upcoming locations. Or see the exhibition online.

More venues and your comments

The SE1 Stories group is currently sorting out the details for a late spring/early summer run of the ‘Blackfriars SE1 in the 1970s’ exhibition in a number of Southwark venues. First up: Peckham Library 23rd April to 12th May, then Canada Water Library 14th May to 2nd June. Keep an eye out for further dates and places.

Meanwhile, we have had the chance to review what has been entered into the Visitors’ Book so far. Over 150 positive and interesting comments, thank you very much! A small selection is gradually being added to the ‘Your Thoughts’ web page. These are being posted without naming the contributors, but just let us know if you recognise your words and would like your name added. We can also take items down, if necessary, but we’d much rather have further feedback from our online visitors. Please do use the little box under ‘Your thoughts are welcome’ at the very bottom of that page.

Going virtual into 2022

The SE1 Map panel
Thumbnail of a downloadable panel

As the physical exhibition takes a seasonal break, SE1 Stories is pleased to reveal a small Christmas gift for site browsers – the opportunity to visit the exhibition virtually. Digital versions of the full text and images for each individual panel can be downloaded from our Online Exhibition page.

More venues are being arranged for 2002. So far this year it has appeared: gallery@oxo Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London, SE1 9PH, 5th to 16th January. Then at Coin Street neighbourhood centre, 108 Stamford Street, SE1 9NH, 18th to 27th January.

Sharing the lessons from the 1970s

Creating the exhibition wasn’t just about trying to produce something which was visually interesting and worth reading. SE1 Stories hoped that it would also illustrate that community action issues from the 1970s and 1980s are relevant today, and inform debate. Members of the group were therefore very happy to accept in invite to speak at Southwark’s Community Action Network meeting in Peckham (6th December). Read about how it went down in this article from Southwark News.

One of the most fascinating parts of the evening came from SE1 Stories, a group of social activists from the 1970s who came together to share how people in SE1 campaigned for better housing social conditions.

Southwark News, 9 Dec 2021

Do please contact SE1 Stories if you have any suggestions for where the exhibition could be hosted in future, or how it could inform current debates.