This summer, the South Bank Centre is holding a Festival of Neighbourhood. As well as asking visitors general questions about what makes a neighbourhood, it devotes several weekends to specific London areas. This weekend, the attention is on Deptford.
The foyer of the Royal Festival Hall has photos, a 'market' of local organisations, and artwork. Among my favourites were tins representing High Street shops; open them, and you can hear noises recorded in their real-life counterparts.
Many Deptford residents and visitors will also recognise the replica anchor: it's a cardboard representation of the real anchor which used to be at the end of the High Street. This symbol of the town and its fascinating, complex past was taken away by Lewisham Council as an 'improvement' and whose return is uncertain. The post-it notes on its cardboard facsimile bore visitors' thoughts; overwhelmingly, they amounted to 'put it back!'.
There are performances by Deptford artistes and groups throughout the weekend, also in the Royal Festival Hall foyer. For locals, it's fascinating to see how our neighbourhood is represented in this national venue; for those who haven't yet ventured into SE8, it's a sample of what you are missing!