2023 is our first full year as a museum, and … community hub, a site of memory and preservation, recording change in an urban area at a point of huge change.
Preserving working class heritage
We preserve and record working class heritage, and we finally displayed the two Gilbert Bayes’ finials bought at auction from the USA in 2022, and return a growing collection to the place and people they were intended for. Support this quest to ‘save our art’!
From young people’s creative writing classes to Open mic nights; a talk about Euston fire station; a book launch about 1980’s youth activism: ‘Badgeland‘ & a new collection of badges; communist Unity Theatre reminiscences, and a discussion about the role of women in social housing with a panel from the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain as part of Open House.
Public realm projects
Work began on a new Art in Everyday Life public realm trail, GLA funded, collaborating on the creation of new finials with architects editcollective & with CSM on AR aspects. This makes an impact on the public realm of Somers Town, preventing its character from being erased, and raising awareness of the unique Bayes ‘lost art’. It’s a collaboration including community in this – via workshops, walks and talks, collaborating with schools and CSM curation students. An aspect is Bangladeshi / Sylheti cultural sharing of folk tales, which resulted in a mural and a book – to be published next year. UCL Ethnographic filmmaker Han Xiang made a sensitive reflection on the loss of the art in his film Statues also forget.
Poetry in the street
An poetry project with artist Robert Montgomery (our poet patron) will create light installations in Chalton Street.
What next for 2024?
2024 is the 100th year anniversary of the formation of the St Pancras Housing Improvement Society. We plan a series of events to commeorate its legacy in the area, from talks to a community mural, but the highlight of which will be the launch of the ‘art in everyday life’ heritage trail.
And hot off the press! – the housing association’s ‘landlady’, Irene Barclay, the UK’s First female surveyor, is to be remembered by a English Heritage Plaque. Watch this space for that event.
We plan in 2024 to focus on what we do best: focusing on content and developing our collection of recording the area, through a unique archive of films – in the museum and online.
Thank you to everyone who has brought their energy, time, support, ideas, memories, commitment and funding in 2023.
We’re really proud of everything we’ve accomplished together.
Happy New Year!