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  • southbankmosaics 1:49 pm on March 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Women of the World at Jubilee Pleasure Gardens 

    The Parks for People application we were hoping to put in was not suitable for London’s most central garden. Although there are many layers of history on the site, the new garden currently being made is not a restoration of the original garden, so we are not eligible for a heritage award.

    Perhaps the new process for what could be a sceptered gem of a space could be to use our shared roots to nourish a canopy of branches that create a world class legacy. This could also mean a new approach to how we share responsibility for the public realm. This heritage of the future, our heritage, builds a bridge between the past and the future, consciously uniting the poorest individuals with the wealthiest, tapping into the energies and talents of local residents and linking them to the resources and expertise of the corporate interests that line the Southbank of the river Thames.

    How can Jubilee Pleasure Gardens move forward from its heritage of exclusivity (originally owned by an aristocrat in its first garden phase), antagonism (during its era as a Victorian slum), and destruction (bombed to bits in the Second World War), and instead become a synthesis of harmony. How can we find an effective way of ensuring that the local residents of the Southbank are able to claim cooperative ownership and not forced to endure the continuing negative history of being pushed around, trodden on or evicted from common land. How can we coax “brief” authority out of its skull cave and open the eyes of those with power to look around and notice individual human beings in their variable circumstances, to include the poor, instead of insisting on the prerogative of the cash rich. How can we nurture the skills and creativity of our youth instead of offering them unemployment and marginalization?

    Our theme must be universal – unifying and uplifting. We should ensure that the poorest in our community have a place at the table. We need to be sensitive to nature and allow her to flourish in a sustainable way. After many years of listening, discussing and collaborating, the artisans of Southbank Mosaics have some initial proposals.

    1) Our heritage theme should be celebrating Women of the World – with five portraits of women, one from each continent, decided on by an open competition.
    2) That we reach out to homeless people and work with them on maintaining Jubilee Pleasure Gardens, with opportunities for them to volunteer and learn new skills as well as to gain full time employment. The gardens can indulge in the wealth of our native flora and fauna, building on the work already achieved by volunteers from the streets in a handful of local parks and gardens.
    3) Our artistic expression can be realized in four water sensitive trickle fountains, one for each of the famous English Queens: Boudicca, Elizabeth I, Victoria, and the Queen whose Jubilee the gardens celebrate: Elizabeth II.

    If we can bring together these strands of our community then we will achieve a new settlement for how our public space is ordered and a new process for how an aesthetic of common land is sustained.

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  • southbankmosaics 4:11 pm on January 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Jubilee Pleasure Gardens 

    At last, a Parks for People application is being prepared, for Jubilee Gardens! Southbank Mosaics are putting in an application to the Heritage Lottery fund, with partners Putting Down Roots, St Mungo’s, to build in local ownership of this great site. One which will bring together the rich tapestry of interests that overlap this garden at the very heart of London.

    Incredible layers of heritage lie one on top of the other and the difficulty is to sift through all the possibilities and distil memories that are suitable for such a central London location, named to celebrate the soon-to-be longest ever reigning monarch of England.

    The area used to be called Cuper’s Garden from about the 1680’s, commonly known as “Cupid’s Garden”. It was one of the Southbank’s Pleasure Gardens. Even in those early days it was noted for fire work displays and open air orchestras. Then it was shut down in 1758, with loose morals given as the reason. When the series of central London bridges were built into North Lambeth, what was previously mostly fields and a garden, was rapidly swallowed up into the expanding metropolis of the largest city on earth. Cheap housing and light industries jostled for space together. The Beaufoy family set up their distillery and Eleanor Coade her Artificial Stone Manufactory among many others.

    At one time there were 80,000 inhabitants of Waterloo/Southbank, packed into mostly two-up, two-downs. Overcrowding was so serious that the Necropolis Railway was built out of Waterloo station, to take corpses to Surrey for burial. It was at the North East corner of Jubilee Gardens, where Hungerford Bridge stands, that Dr. John Snow researched and isolated (1848) the cholera bacteria, opposing the landowners and establishment, who falsely reassured residents of the Palace of Westminster, that it was miasma, and not water supply, causing the cholera outbreaks in North Lambeth and elsewhere in London. “The low-lying brackish river at Lambeth was the ideal breeding ground for Vibrio cholerae.”

    The flood of 1850 alerted the authorities to how out-of-touch we had become to the ecological DNA of London’s largest open space – the river Thames. The Albert Embankment forming the north side of Jubilee Gardens, was partly built in response to this. When parliamentarians looked out of their window at the Southbank it was generally slums they saw. So St Thomas’ Hosital was built at its Lambeth site (1862) and then County Hall began (1911).

    The second world war saw devastation hit the whole Jubilee Gardens area. The entire district was so badly damaged that it was cleared to make way for the Festival of Britain – off-setting destruction with creativity. So many people died that there is no record of the exact numbers. Even one strike on St Thomas’ had at least 1500 casualties, but full figures were never finalised. Some people say the area has never recovered. The Festival of Britain briefly gave the whole nation a buzz. But the next in-coming government of 1951 decided to pull down the Festival buildings, apart from the Festival Hall and so the Jubilee Gardens area was filled with rubble and tarmaced over, to make a car park for an expanding County Hall.

    In 1972 Lambeth Council received its biggest ever petition to return the car park to green space, and this was granted with the name Jubilee being given in 1977 to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee that year. It was a humble plot of turf that has inspired local residents to hope, dream and campaign for something better, ever since. When the London Eye was built (2000) it became a point of shame, as Britain’s most visited spot, showed such a plain face to the world.

    Now it is getting a make-over ready for the new Diamond Jubilee and Olympics. It is the right moment to build-in local ownership for this reclaimed Pleasure Garden. We need to be in touch with the ecological DNA of the Thames valley and mend our relationship with water. We want to work with the street population, uniting the whole community, to transform this space into a beautiful heritage site, maintained by poor people who are proud of their neighbourhood. And we will make a global statement, at this global site, that the role of formidable women (like the Queen)) should no longer be taken for granted, but celebrated at the heart of London.

    So the heritage bid we are preparing, called Jubilee Pleasure Gardens, has three over-arching themes at the moment:
    1. Celebrating the Achievement of Women
    2. The Heritage of homeless people
    3. Mending our relationship with water

    Please come along to a meeting at Waterloo Action Centre on Wednesday 25th January, to have your say and let us listen to what you think about putting in a Parks for People bid. The meeting starts at 7pm at 14 Baylis Road, London SE1 7AA. It’s diagonally opposite the Old Vic and right beside Waterloo station. There will be drinks and light refreshments at 9pm. Get involved – tell us what you think.

     
  • southbankmosaics 11:22 am on December 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Power to the People 

    Please can we find a way of talking with each other that allows us to hold different views and remain in discussion? A discourse that steps back from insult and recrimination, allowing a strong and forceful argument, without the threat of excommunication.

    The primitive pratice of raising up and anointing a new leader, for the pack to gather around and start to shear and clip away, while some prepare kindling and others gather flints to either chuck or spark. And all for a short-lived reputation that within a few decades is at most an occasional sentence in a student’s essay.

    The poor need the expertise of corporations and institutions, business needs customers for trade, the powerful have a responsibility to set the standards and all of us need to take care of our planet. Change is inevitable, so discussion and narrative help us to understand the immense complexities that swirl around. Only a tyrant can rule a family, so a logical conclusion is that NO ONE can rule a village, let alone a town, city or nation. If we are to move away from tyranny, then we will learn to listen and talk with each other.

    The European project currently seems to be so septic that the debate is overwhelmed by self-harmers and traditional pugilists. Meanwhile the big beasts stagger from crisis to crisis. The old line: our system is rotten, but tell me a better way to run things, is being worn thin. It is time for the mathematicians and economists to find a way for each individual to make a contribution, allowing the sum to be greater than the total of each part. The entitlement to eat (benefits) must be in respect to what we bring to the feast (responsibilities).

    Here is how power can be realised by the people:
    1) Turning every home and building into an energy producing business;
    2) Healing our relationship with water.

    The sun shines on every inch of our earth and the wind blows over every wave and tree. Beneath every foot there is a furnace and water cycles around our planet with unstinting power. We need to move full-scale, paradigm shifting, towards using the endless sources of free energy that we currently let slip through our hands. Our politicians are so immersed in the cut and thrust of historical feuds that they miss the safe havens before their eyes.

    If every home was a power plant and every business building produced energy, then power and income would be literally shared among the people. Oil and gas will be nurtured as a precious commodity for future generations to use. We would no longer be dependent on hot spots of tyranny and would all have a stake in unlimited free sources of energy. Give the bullies, bankers and experts therapy, if they lack faith in our young scientists to tap these simple sources of infinite power. Expertise can be used for the people. Unemployment will be a choice instead of part of our economic structure. Science will be freed from the greed of the few and used to improve our quality of life.

    Nothing illustrates our primitive processes so clearly as our abusive relationship to water – the key requirement that all space explorers search out, when looking for signs of life on other planets. We need to harvest our water, keep it pure and clean and re-cycle it in tune with nature. Each one of us should learn and have the means to collect the rain that falls on our home, keep it clean and use it respectfully.

    How can anybody be unemployed when there is so much to do? Please put no more billions into the banks, but get it to the experts and workers who together can make our quality of life better.

     
  • southbankmosaics 12:39 pm on November 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Economic Evolution 

    There is so much work to do, it’s unbelievable how anyone can be unemployed. The only wealth is labour, as Adam Smith noted in Wealth of Nations*; unless people are making things and doing things for others, then no value can be added.

    To put money into banks is fair enough if you need to save up for something, but to pump money in to the tune of £75 billion is incredible. These bank guys manage debt, they are dour front-row forward types. To make business out of debt is poor vision and will lead to financial collapse.

    Economic experts have a herd mentality and they move in groups like a great mass of wildebeests. If you look at them carefully now you will see the whites of their eyes. They do not know what they are doing. They cannot see the wood for the trees. We should not punish them, but encourage them to think broader about the triple bottom line: profits, people and planet. They should be patted on the back if they remember to factor in sustainability and move away from their traditional grab and chuck away primate economics. They need to replace the “growth” syndrome, with a quality standard; and always of course to look at well-being, how our friends, family and neighbours can enjoy themselves and leave our world a better place for future generations.

    Put the money into building houses.and those homes should produce more energy that they consume, they should be eco-friendly. Then we will solve our financial crisis, our employment crisis and be well on the way to soloving our energy crisis. If instead you pump the money into banks, they will cut so much for themselves that there will be none left for anyone else.

    When you build energy efficient homes that produce electricity, you
    *Employ brickies, leckies, plasterers, plumbers etc;
    *They in turn buy supplies from merchants, manufacturers, producers and retailers;
    *Homes that produce electricity using solar, wind and geo-thermal technologies stimulate the whole renewable energy industry (i.e. we tap into limitless sources of free energy)
    *Owners of homes that produce electricity have an income, in place of a debt
    *When you build a home, you can sell it, so you get your money back!!!

    We need to make money work for us, instead of giving it to lenders and borrowers. We need to invest in people who do things, make things and produce things. Life itself is enough of a speculation, without us wagering our future on speculators.

    Let’s move towards a creative economy, where our imaginations are set free and we all have an income and an entrepreneurial future.

    *Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, Book1 Ch 5 .“Labour….is the only universal, as well as the only accurate measure of value”.

     
  • southbankmosaics 6:51 am on October 30, 2011 Permalink  

    End this Quantitative Teasing 

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  • southbankmosaics 12:46 pm on October 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    The Eden Project and Southbank Mosaics 

    We come from the Garden of Eden: that is a widely accepted narrative about our origins. I’ve met Jane Knight, Howard Jones and Nikki Kelly over the past few months, humble and thoughtful leaders from the Eden Project, and I hope that they are our future.

    Our natural world is breathtakingly beautiful. Then for us the most interesting sight, touch and sound is another human being. Isn’t this one reason why we are drawn to cities, to feed our fascination for and attraction to others? The cities of the future will reflect this desire with interpretations of beauty that surpass those exquisite districts of Florence, Istanbul and Paris. Surpass the Alhambra, built 600 and more years ago, because we have their example and more capacity.

    Somehow in the grinding logic of endless economic growth, we have lost sight of the importance of quality: standards, meaning and beauty in our lives.

    Do we need more and more petrol, more acres of concrete, increasing numbers of cars – or does that lead to gridlock on main street? And when you look out of your jammed car over the pavement, blighted by roadworks, and see the brick wall ahead, do you ever wonder if this is the best place to be? The sum of our achievement?

    There are many other ways, (a bit more walking for a start) and the Eden Project looks to nature, lifts up people at the margins and seeks a sustainable future. One where balance and quality are intrinsic, rather than endless generation of waste.

    We’ve been working with the Eden Project at the Southbank Centre, bringing with us a creative economy, that draws on our energy and imagination. Have you seen the Roof Garden on Queen Elizabeth Hall? – go there and have a coffee and look over mother Thames, with her “bars of gold”. Check out the paving stones we’ve given as well. Two on the roof garden leaning against the cafe and ten mosaic portraits at ground level, outside the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

    How can we make our voluntary work sustainable? How can we achieve investment in our efforts to include people and improve the quality of Londoner’s lives?

    At Southbank Mosaics we’ve written a book, called Mosaic Artisans, which will be published shortly. From this we will offer a franchise to developers or local authorities – if they think their block, neighbourhood or town has a history worth recording and a future worth investing in. We will bring character and detail to our public realm, potentially creating 20,000 purposeful jobs – to make our town beautiful, around the country. It’s a small step towards a new creative and sustainable economy.

    (More …)

     
  • southbankmosaics 7:31 am on June 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Job Description: Mosaic Artisan 

    Urgently required: A new type of Street Artisan. Someone who forgoes the endless hours, days, weeks and months toiling at thankless tasks, and instead rolls their sleeves up and makes their neighbourhood beautiful. A Jill or Jack of many skills. With a knowledge of horticulture, bio-diversity, laying foundations, building seats and planters, rendering and creating sculptures, murals, paving and signs.

    Someone who is able to attend meetings and instead of arguing the finer points of a schism, can bring people together – schools, estates, authorities and residents. Someone who can research the history and reflect the culture of a place. Every street has a calling, let’s find out who or why it has that name?

    Our Mosaic Artisan will tap into a wealth of tradition, the knowledge of simple, careful artisan skills, the concern for making something that will last a long time and free future generations from repetition. Yes, if we have made something of quality, future generations will want to maintain our work, but after they have checked over and fixed what was bequeathed them, they will have the foundation of inspiration from which to allow their imaginations to soar.

    Every village, or town or district of a city that feels it has a history worth recording, with a mind to enhance its future, and a will to remind the children of a new age about their roots, should consider a new and practical job: Mosaic Artisan.

    PS Apologies to those who thought this was an advertisement for a job. We wish it was – but not yet! At this stage it’s a suggestion only, for a new type of worker.

    Making our town beautiful

     
  • southbankmosaics 8:37 pm on June 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Mosaic Artisans 

    The Arts & Crafts movement of the Victorian era sought to bring traditional craft and design to everyone’s home. They were concerned with improving the quality of our lives, reacting against  industrialisation and the mass market. Through the “diligent study of nature” and the historical ages of art, William Morris and his colleagues aimed to tackle the squalor of British interiors.

    Today their influence has extended around the world and ironically, their designs are mass produced in factories in every continent. Home makers have many reasonably priced choices to decorate their rooms and interiors.

    The challenge today is to turn our attention towards public space – our shared space, the place where we pass others by, or meet them: our streets, squares, schools, parks and housing estates. In Britain the modern grass and concrete solution is nearing its sell-by date, as the social consequences of this paucity, such as unemployment and mental health impairment, rear their head. We need to take an inclusive approach and work at several levels to tackle exterior squalor:

    *Making our urban spaces beautiful through art, design and planting

    *Creating meaningful jobs of practical purpose

    *Providing an alternative to seeking for a job i.e. a place where you can work as a volunteer, or active citizen, or professional artisan

    *Taking the task of designing out road works seriously, and then getting on with the job

    *Designing in access to public space for people with physical and mental impairment, both through mobility and access to jobs.

    Mosaic Artisan is taken in the broadest sense – using a range of artisan crafts to improve public space: Wresting control away from the bureaucratic minimalists and corporate teams who give us gray dig-up and gray slab-over, with mow the grass to infinity and beyond.

    Instead of our street having just a street sweeper, we also need an artisan horticulturalist, a new type of craft worlker who makes our towns beautiful, designing and maintaining seating, bins, sculptures and murals, filling planters and borders with colourful flowers, taking care of the birds and bees.

    Every street has a name and every town a history. These simple truths are a starting point. There is potential to bring character and detail, to design interst and create purposeful employment for the dispossessed.

    The mechanism that holds back our development is the looming fixer who will, under act of parliament, use “emergency” to dig up whatever beaufitul artwork has been laid out. “The water mains are leaking, I have to dig up the road, otherwise households will flood.” It’s a powerful point.

    So now we need to get the engineers together to sort out how we design an underground trench that separates, but allows access to, the utlities. The financial teams will be brought in to design a “holding mechanisam” that pays for immediate unlocking and access to each trench. And over the trench, a mosaic lid, make in prisons, that defines the edge of a pavement, in a beautiful way, allowing people with disabilities to know a) there is a hazard to be careful of, and b) they have been part of the solution to making our towns and cities look much better.

    Behold: a rational street, that allows for the creativity of our imaginations. Then the street will become a new gallery and our neighbourhoods somewhere we are proud of.

     
  • southbankmosaics 1:17 pm on May 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    The Aristocracy of Merit

    London depends on key workers: cleaners, drivers, bar staff, attendants, doctors, teachers, fire-police-ambulance workers, accountants, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, builders, fixers, diggers, nurses, coaches, musicians, clerks, roofers, artists, security guys, pilots, actors, plasterers, waiters, surveyors, insurers, bankers, tailors, cobblers, assembly line workers, …the list goes on.

    Each person has an integral role to play. If the bakers stop making their bread then the food of millions will be depleted. If the truck drivers stop delivering their supplies then transport and retail will grind to a halt. If the refuse collectors don’t empty bins, the city will soon turn into a tip.

    How long must we suffer the hectoring exhortations of the political class, who big up the concept of meritocracy. It’s a false notion that insults the intelligence and hard work of all those who make our culture rich. In reality meritocracy is another name for cleptocracy, a western parallel to  Arabian sheikhs.

    Meritocracy condems 99.99% of all people to also-ran status; it is unimaginatively wasteful. It is symbolised in our time by the propaganda of celebrity, competitive tendering and game shows. And yet, even in these displays, they completely depend on bums-on-seats, other competitors and the unemployed observer. It is a game, a bit of fun, entertainment – so let’s not get rid of it completely, but please don’t run our system that way! We have a system fault which seeks to hide truth under the garment of glamour.

    Meritocracy is the mantra of the lucky few, who by being there at the right time and place, have risen or been blown to the surface, like flotsam on water.

    Meritocracy and Aristocracy are the crests of inequality and war.

    The way forward is more clear: it is based on principles of fairness, hard work (and play) and freedom. We will value each person for the contribution they make. We will nurture the potential in each child.  We will give everyone a chance to play their part. For example, disability will not be a weakness to be pushed around or looked after, but will be integral to our quality of life: the key consultants of society and culture, who from their unique vantage can make life better for all. We will do to others as we’d like them to do to us – not just when our luck is down, but especially when we’re in the money. Then we will have new Florences and Venices, a new Istanbul, but this time without the paranoid princes and slippery sultans.

    “And finally, thanks to all the agricultural laborers, banana-growers, carpenters, dentists, engineers, flower-sellers, grocers, handbag-makers, inspectors, jewellers, knife-grinders, lathe-operators, midwives, night-watchmen, organists, potters, quantity surveyors, reed-makers, seamstresses, tattooists, undertakers, vets, window-cleaners, xylophonists, yogurt-makers and zoologists (to name but a few)”.  From The Company of Strangers by Paul Seabright

     
  • southbankmosaics 7:01 am on May 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Making our town beautiful 

    Our public realm in Britain is alive and thriving; except for where we spend the money – there it is virtually redundant.

    The money is spent on digging up the roads and paving; and then repeating it again and again. A hell of a lot of money is spent on this kind of thing – I’ve heard the sum of £9billion a year, sprinkled like confetti. Surely, not all of this is purely redundant? At least a few people have a job, many of them our East European brothers; they need the work. But couldn’t we be helping them, as well as ourselves and doing something better.

    The public realm is beautiful in Britain in the mountains, by the river, along the dales and in the woods. Sometimes we catch a glimpse of beauty in the cities as well, I’m thinking of the faces of cheerful people walking confidently by, with elegant clothes, laughing and absorbed in playful banter. We can see beauty in trees and flowers and the odd sculpture like the dolphins near St Catherines Dock, or the ballerina in Bow Street. It’s there in architecture too – the view along Princes Street to Edinburgh castle, St Michael’s Mount off Penzance, the skyline of the Pier Head.

    But so much of architecture and human artifice is miserable, and speaks more of short change and quick bucks, rather than cultivating a sense of order, an alliance with nature and inclusion of the dispossesed. All the answers are around us as we sit and read, or think or do. Why then do we have “management” that speaks endlessly of problems? Why are our politics eternally and aggressively antagonistic? Why do the rich so methodically steal from the poor, and then get upset when the poor bite back?

    Jubilee Gardens is a wonderful example of what is right and wrong about British culture. Here lies a miserable bit of grass, pocked with mud puddles and scattered with litter. Surrounded by monumental businesses with bulging coffers, at the very heart of London. Belatedly and at the last moment, in true panic management style, with a litany of problems to explain away its culpability, a firm from across the channel will be brought in, to patch up Jubilee Gardens with tulips, concrete and a few elms. It will look slick no doubt, our continental friends will do us proud. And when the eyes of the world look at London in 2012, it will seem incredibly pleasant on the small screen. The management of litter collection will be impeccable on the day. The Brits do that so well! It is their forte. The panorama will be picture post card, Big Ben spied through London Eye, with some red flowers and green grass in the foreground.

    When the Waterloo sunset has faded and you move away from the guided desire lines, the yawning redundancy of the off-beat will still be there ( our homeless people, drug addicts, unemployed and puzzled youth). How are we going to include people and make our world a better place?

    First of all we require vision. We need to step up from the efficient mangement of litter collection. Of course we don’t want our streets and parks cluttered with mess, so let’s design out the “problems” which create litter in the first place. Give the homeless guys a job. It’s their space, they sleep there when your TV crews have melted away.

    The current “management” of Jubilee Gardens is angling for the “royal parks” look, taking advice from the “royal parks department”, infering, leave us alone, we don’t want to include anyone, except royal park people. As if Jubilee Gardens will become a royal wedding-type place, stuffed full of people and then madly cleaned up afterwards (every day). Me thinks you pule too much sirrah!

    The last thing we need is another royal park at Jubilee Gardens, the reality is they are not good enough, they are not fit for purpose. They will be too prim and proper for such a small space. Royal Parks are big parks run on regimental line; in the same way as royal rooms are large rooms with lots of cleaners. We’ll end up with the nightmare of litter picking madness, surrounded by prim little flower beds. The whole place will scream: chuck us your litter (and then we’ll clean it up for you). In other words a vision of – litter management of passive muck.

    What we need is for Jubilee Gardens to be made so brilliant, so beautiful that people feel ashamed to thrown down any litter at all. It needs to be an interesting space, full of character and detail, a special place that people remember. A place of which local people and visitors feel proud, and if you did inadvertently drop litter, someone would point out your error and ask you to pick it up. Of course we will need a litter-management strategy, but I suggest this is run on the lines of bespoke sculptural litter bins, which are empltied every 30 minutes by currently unemployed homeless people, who encourage use of the bins rather than just picking up litter.

    The vision Southbank Mosaics advocates is making Jubilee Gardens into a Celebration of the Achievement of Women. This gives a theme to what is otherwise a Jubilee Garden – for what? Very few people know that the garden has already celebrated the Queen’s 25th Jubilee in 1977 – there is no mention of her anywhere. This lack of attention to detail, is being made up for by the active ctizens at Southbank Mosaics who will record Jubilee Gardens as part of the Queen’s Jubilee with images and text that give the place meaning.

    This is where the Jubilee Gardens transformation can dig deep into the well of what is alive and thriving in our public realm culture, where local residents who care more about the place than anyone bring their energy, enthusiasm and commitment, to create a unique and sacred place.

    We want to build on the long tradition of concern for the welfare of women that is a proud legacy of the Southbank area.* We want to join Southbank Centre’s Celebration of Women of the World and record in portraits, with texts, up to 200 women from around the world. We want to compliment Parliament Square and its statues of men, taking advantage of the female symbol of the London Eye.

    The local community is of course the people who meet on a committee privately, but it also includes residents who are active citizens ready to consider with their imagination and build with their hands, a Jubilee Gardens that will become a significant garden, that nudges the world to move on.

    Women in our day do two thirds of the world’s work, are paid 10% of the world’s wages and own 1% of the world’s land. We note this basic unfairness, and respond with a signficant memorial, that for the first time anywhere in the public realm, permanently celebrates the vital contribution that women have made. Let’s do it for the Queen, and half the world.

    *In 1758 the Asylum for Female Orphans was established just off Westminster Bridge Road, beginning this feminine Southbank tradition.  They had an agenda of seeking to prevent young orphan girls from sinking into sex work, by training them to work as servants. In 1767 The General Lying-in Hospital was completed, one of the earliest maternity refuges for single mothers. In 1769 the Magdalen Hospital relocated to premises in North Lambeth, to support the reform of young women drawn into the sex industry. It was a religious and tough regime of publicly displayed penitence – harsh grey uniforms and training in housework – to get women selling sex off the streets. Then the Royal Hospital for Children and Women was opened in 1828.  The Women’s University Settlement was started in 1887 and this still continues as the Blackfriars Settlement.

     
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