Covent Garden Project 2013

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Copyright: Covent Garden Community Association

Between May and July 2013 the Centre for Life-Writing Research collaborated with Westminster Archives and the Covent Garden Community Association on a Lottery Heritage Fund project, ‘Gentlemen We’ve Had Enough: the Story of the Battle to Save Covent Garden.’

The project aimed to tell the stories of Covent Garden residents who campaigned to prevent GLC plans to demolish and rebuild the area. It recorded key losses (the Old Covent Garden market in 1974 for instance), but also sites – houses and community gardens – that have endured.

As part of the project Hope Wolf delivered reminiscence sessions with MA students at the Seven Dials Club in Covent Garden on the 10th May. Using equipment for capturing life stories purchased with the support of the Edward Harvist Trust, the students recorded stories from local people who were involved in the campaign.

After a set of workshops following the event on 10th May the students added their stories to the Covent Garden Memories website.  The stories can be read on the ‘People of Covent Garden’ section of the website.

Click on the headings to read the following stories:

 ‘It was a lovely place to live’: growing up in Covent Garden (Joan and Margaret Andrews interviewed by Barbara Gallego Larrarte)

A life lived in Covent Garden’ (Lyn Baker interviewed by Patrick Preston)

‘Making “something else” happen in Covent Garden’ (David Bieda interviewed by Francesca Alfrey)

‘Covent Garden: a place where people live’ (Tom Cook interviewed by Anne Chapman)

‘People travel to come here’: Mena remembers growing up in Covent Garden (Trofimena Ruocco Deufemia interviewed by Oline Eaton)

‘Three generations of Covent Garden market trading’ (Harry interviewed by Patrick Preston)

‘A community worth fighting for’ (Jenny Healey interviewed by Jennifer Grote)

‘Covent Garden: a place to live in’ (Kate Kennedy interviewed by Barbara Gallego Larrarte)

The place was full of characters years ago’ (John Kent interviewed by Nanette O’Brien)

‘Revolution was in the air’ (Jim Monahan interviewed by Rebecca Sloane)

‘Really lovely days’ (Bernard O’Connor interviewed by Anne Chapman)

‘On the importance of resident consultation’ (Geraldine Petterson interviewed by Audrey Chan)

‘The Heart of Covent Garden’ (Kathy Pimlott interviewed by Hope Wolf)

‘We were Spoilt’: Memories from Robert Pimlott, the Community Gardener (Robert Pimlott interviewed by Rebecca Wearmouth) 

‘Campaigning, gardening, and scooting off to the theatre’ (Jessica Skippon interviewed by Francesca Allfrey)

 ‘A walk in Covent Garden: remembering the neighbourhood’ (Fiona White interviewed by Nanette O’Brien)

‘It’s not what I live in, it’s where I live: the memories of a 5th generation Covent Garden resident’ (conducted by Audrey Chan)

The students’ interview transcripts supported the making of a documentary film made by the children of St Clement Danes Primary School and the company Digital Works. The transcripts helped the children to choose interviewees from the Covent Garden community, and to formulate their questions. The film will be shown in September at the Seven Dials Club (time to be confirmed).

Thank you very much to Westminster Archives and the Covent Garden Community Association for all your support for this project; especially to Camilla Bergman, Peter Daniel, and Jo Weir. Thank you to the Edward Harvist Trust and to the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thank you to all interviewers and interviewees for being so generous with your time and stories.

Hope Wolf

Hope Wolf

Hope Wolf

Dr Wolf was the Lead Researcher for Strandlines between 2011-2013 while working as a Teaching Fellow in Life Writing at King’s College London.

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