The Big Launch Success

What an amazing turn-out on Saturday!  Its seemed as if the entire community was out in support of the SEE3 Big Launch.  Each of our Pop Up Shops, Jill and the Vintage and Retro Craft Market were overrun with well wishers and local enthusiasts.  And all of the local shops we have spoken to so far reported an increase in sales on Saturday which we are completely chuffed with.

Unfortunately the fabulous Pen who had helped us get Jill, the community hub, on its feet wasn’t there to witness its official opening by Lewisham Mayor, Sir Steve Bullock.  She worked right up until the final few minutes as 2nd mate to Eddie Saul who was putting in a temporary ceiling for us, and holding the ladder for Paul Rushworth who put up the Jill sign.  After which, just as the lovely Lisa Comfort arrived for the kiddy craft workshop, Pen hobbled off into the mid-morning frost to nurse her week-long trapped nerve (but don’t worry folks she’s fine – we debriefed over coffee at Canvas & Cream on Sunday… cocktails to follow!).
SEE3 Hub Launch Party from Paul Treacy on Vimeo.

Stop-frame video by Sean Cameron

So Sir Steve Bullock cut the ribbon to our new community hub, Jill, at 1pm on Saturday and had all the requisite photos taken including those with Grant and Eric from our volunteer team the Young Lewisham Project.  Sir Steve said a few words about our fabulous achievement *if we do say so ourselves* and handed the stage over to Mark Brearley of Design for London on behalf of the GLA who spoke about the London Mayor’s commitment to high street revitalisation in London.  And we had our own Councillor Chris Best say a few words too.

Jill, the community hub, looked fantastic with a collection by the Sydenham Visual Arts Trail lead by Bruce Harrison.  They will be manning the space and showing their work over the coming weeks until the new Hubs Coordinator and Artist in Residence start and coordinate activities for the next phase which will see community engagement, a series of exhibitions and business workshops.

So onto the Pop Up Shops who all did a brilliant job at turning their empty shells of shops into wonderfully engaging spaces.  Conquer’s Wardrobe at Station Approach in Sydenham has a series of wardrobes (sourced at local shops Dapper on Dartmouth Road, and Aladdin’s Cave in Lewisham) displaying their artist designed clothing and an array of other collections and accessories.

The Pen & Gravy vs Modernish Pop Up Shop at 161 Kirkdale turned their place into something akin to a cool bar for the day with decks in the corner (leant by local Gareth Harries, known to many from Sydenham Radio) playing some retro beats.  Great prints on display with a local flavour alongside son of Dan Thompson’s (of Modernish) mid-century modern prints and Jamie’s (of Pen & Gravy) hand designed lampshade and ceramics. All the local kids and creatives added their self portraits to the live art wall which I LOVE! Incidentally we have discovered that Dan and Jamie are brothers-in-law! Nothing of consequence… just thought we’d share that 😮

And The Butchery made were a roaring success on London Road in Forest Hill, with customers queueing around the block.  Franklins of East Dulwich have provided farm shop produce at the shop to complement Ruth and Nathan’s locally sourced, free range meat.  And there have been no end of complements for the new sign for The Butchery that appears in the window, designed and made by architects Beep Studio with help from the Paul Ravn School of Jewellery.

Finally the Kirkdale Retro and Vintage Craft Market made a splash with entertainment by Alex & Serge singing hits from the 50s and 60s, a crafting workshop by Lisa Comfort and not forgetting a great range of stalls including Man Made Foods, South London Prints and many others.

A big thanks to all those who turned out, and don’t forget that this is only the beginning! Jill will be evolving over the coming weeks and months and we hope there will be lots going on that will tempt you in, and Jack, the Forest Hill Community Hub will be opening at the beginning of 2013; our Christmas Pop Up Shops will be open until December 24th with another seven to nine Pop Ups planned in 2013; and we have the Forest Hill Festive Fair planned for the 15th December outside Forest Hill Pools, followed by the Sydenham Festive Food Market on Sunday 16th December at Station Approach, with further markets planned in the New Year.

Love Your High Street


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