Throughout April, Londoners have been celebrating Cityread London by reading 2017’s title ‘Prophesy’ by S.J. Parris, an historical thriller set in 1583 in the middle of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign. And every April there are some amazing events across the capital connected to the that year’s book.
Last month, some of the St John’s Wood Library customers were lucky enough to attend a special Cityread London event with the Wallace Collection at the Penfold Community Hub. Sarah, a community officer at the Wallace Collection, not only introduced us to their treasures but also brought along replicas and reproductions of the collection’s Elizabethan influences.
We admired a portrait of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who was Elizabeth I’s close friend and favourite – everyone even got a postcard to take away. We also looked closely at a painting by Paul Delaroche titled Hippolyte depicting Edward V and the Duke of York in the Tower. The group also got to try on some replica armour. It was widely agreed that armour is not as heavy as it looks and much more comfy to boot.
This snapshot into the wealth and richness of the Wallace Collection was truly inspiring. If you haven’t been before we encourage you to visit soon; it’s an outstanding local asset and free! For more information such as opening hours and you can also view their paintings online at the Wallace Collection website.
Westminster Libraries’ Bengali Service was approached by the Penfold Community Hub and the Victoria and Albert Museum to take part in a special project inspired by their current exhibition The Fabric of India (3 October 2015 – 10 January 2016).
A series of four workshops took place, with participants from both libraries and the Penfold Hub creating beautiful pieces of textile and block printed artwork. These workshops have brought out the artistic skills of some of the learners who had done this a long time ago, and others who were exploring these skills for the first time. More than forty people took part in the four workshops.
All the completed work was then displayed at the museum, and all the participants and their guests visited earlier this week. The trip started with a tour of the Fabric of India exhibition, where participants were mesmerised by tent of Tipu Sultan from 1799 which seems to be in its original condition. Having learnt and watched videos of different techniques and methods of weaving, so everyone enjoyed looking at the various textiles in the collection, some up to 4000 years old.
The tour was then followed with a reception and a thank you event hosted by the V & A Community Learning Team. It was a fantastic day out and has inspired many of our participants to become interested in further textile-related learning. In order to facilitate that, there is an ongoing discussion with one of our adult education partners to host a series of intermediate level textile based projects for Church Street Library. We hope to run these in the new year.
This Fabric of India project between Penfold Community Hub and the V & A has presented us with opportunities for more joint work in the future. So watch this space!
Posted in Arts & culture, Church Street Library
Tagged Bangladeshi, Bengali, Church Street, craft, fabric, India, Penfold Community Hub, prints, textiles, V & A, Victoria & Albert Museum, workshop
Every last Wednesday of the month, St John’s Wood Library, together with Penfold Community Hub, hosts events for those who are aged 50+. At these Monthly Meet Ups coffee, tea and croissants are served but the true treats are the social moments and food for thought created by interesting speakers. The feedback we receive is very positive, so in turn it is very gratifying to organise the programme.
Health topics are well received (dementia, fall prevention, Medication Passport, Healthwatch, etc) but the most popular events are those of general interest. Therefore, author Barbara Tennenbaum, who gave two presentations, talked about surviving adversity and never giving up – she and the group Golden Age Players performed a preview of her latest play. Blue Badge Guide for Westminster and the City of London, Richard Fenton, shared with us some fascinating facts he encountered while preparing for his Institute of Tourist Guiding exams. Artist Eszter Rajna talked about her painting process, while chemistry professor Laura Beal talked about inventions through the decades and even brought some ‘potions’ and created special effects. On 17 December 2014, for the special December event, our last speaker, David Turner, gave a talk on Victorian Railways that generated some comparisons from Victorian times onwards!
A very popular theme has been local history. A local resident but also a media star, Harvey Gould (West End Extra) talked about his father’s and his time as wire operators in the military service. Both fought in World War One and Two respectively. As it happened, there were members in the audience who had also participated, so a lively exchange of reminiscence took place.
Such treasure troves of memories can be difficult to preserve and find. So we invited Louise Brodie, Jeanne Strang and Jane Leaver to talk about the St John’s Wood Memories website. They described what the portal aims to do and invited everyone to bring in photos which we could scan at the library and post online, along with their stories, on both the portal and Westminster Archives website. We were honoured to have with us Peter Daniel from Westminster Archives and delighted that Elaine Marsh of the Home Library Service organised a trip for several library patrons who use the service.
The next Meet Up is on Wednesday 28 January – contact the library for more details.
Posted in St John's Wood Library
Tagged archives, community, health, HLS, Home Library Service, local, local history, older people, Penfold Community Hub, St John's Wood, St John's Wood Memories, Victorian, World War I, World War II, WW1, WW2, WWI, WWII