Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Pictures Of You Available

Many readers will remember the Pictures Of You exhibition held at the Meanwhile Space ‘You Are Here’ pop-up shop space on London Road, North Cheam, between February and April this year. Well all those pictures have been put together into an Ebook which you can look at online or download for free.

It's 200 pages are full of interesting photos revealing life and the history of North Cheam over time (and a bit of Worcester Park) ranging from rural scenes from the early 20th century, to protests outside a nuclear bunker in the area. They were sourced from contributions by the local community and research undertaken at Sutton Archive and include images from the collection of local historian (and occasional blog contributor), David Rymill.

The images collected in the ebook tell a story of North Cheam’s life and history, and of wider social and geographical changes. Photos of the Lower Cheam Farm showing the areas former agricultural life, contrast with Charles E Brown’s aerial photos from the 1930’s depicting the rapid development of housing in the area.  Whilst images of Brock’s Fireworks Factory and St Anthony’s Hospital give insight into working life and the evolving health care system, from open-air wards to the building of St Raphael’s Hospice. And a wide variety of other material, including: 50 years of St Oswald’s Church, VE day parties, the 1987 hurricane, Cheam High School sports day, the 93 bus, St George’s day parties, and the North Cheam nuclear bunker are chronicled.

A particular focus of the book is London Road and the changing nature of the high street and Victoria House. Tim Bridle donated images he took from Victoria House’s elevated car park in 1986, and images from Sutton Archive show the three former pubs on the site, whilst a CGI image from Stonegate Homes shows its projected future incarnation. These are shown alongside alternate designs for a Victoria House of the future, by year 5 students from Cheam Park Farm School, produced as part of the project. 

It also includes feedback from a questionnaire on North Cheam undertaken by Cheam Park Farm School students with friends and family, interviews with residents, excerpts from local history books and project notes by the artists. 

The project was commissioned by Sutton Council and Meanwhile Space, supported by the Mayor for London’s Outer London Fund, and run by artists Charles Holden and Sam Skinner. The original exhibition space functioned as an open-access archive where photos were scanned, interviews were recorded, and local history books and other material were available to study. Together, it is hoped the book serves as a document of enquiry into North Cheam and the place of photography within it, asserting the rich and varied histories of a place, and functioning as a resource for engagement with its diverse identities and possible futures.

For more information see their website: http://www.picturesofyou.org.uk/

You can see and download the ebook directly here: http://issuu.com/picturesofyou/docs/pictures_of_you_north_cheam_ebook

21 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Clearly paying too much tax said...

A copy of David Rymill's "Worcester Park, Old Morden & North Cheam: History at our feet" costs £10 - you can buy or borrow a copy from the library. It contains 100s of pages of text and 150 odd photos. Not only is it an outstanding voyage through local history and worth every penny of the cover price, but best of all, it cost London's public purse absolutely nothing!!!

So, by way of extreme contrast, how much more than £10 did hanging residents' photos in an empty shop and uploading the same photos to the internet cost? (Fully appreciating that they weren't just hung or uploaded by an opportunist with a PC and scanner, but by an 'artist').

Or does this "Mayor For London's Outer London Fund" grow on a tree?

David K said...

I have David Rymill’s book that you mentioned, Clearly Paying Too Much Tax, and I agree that it is excellent. What I liked about the Pictures of You site though was that is was more personal and included lots of really interesting photos that would never have seen the light of day in this way otherwise. I have no idea how much it cost, or whether the artists got paid, but often a relatively small sum of public money can leverage a lot of voluntary input from individuals who otherwise would not have a project to get together on. And hey,
there were school kids involved too, so it seems to me to be a really good community project. It’s very easy to knock things because some public money was involved and it isn’t an absolute necessity, but if we extend that argument to it’s logical conclusion we would do away with public parks, fireworks displays for New Year’s Eve, and all sorts of other
things that make this one of the nicer countries to live in. Putting the cost to one side, did you like the website and ebook?

guest said...

I agree with you. As regards the cost, you have to remember (CPtmt) that your £10 book will have cost a lot more to produce, but that cost was spread over all the purchasers.

In the same way the cost of this site is spread over all the viewers now and possibly many years into the future.

Another viewpoint is that it may well encourage others to send in their photos and if added to year by year, would make a very interesting historical resource. For example photos of Gander Green lane now, to contrast with those rural ones in the set. Photos of the 'Queen Victoria' now and after it's next redevelopment.

Parkerilla said...

Is this a new book by David Rymill? I've got his book "Worcester Park and Cuddington: A Walk Through The Centuries" which any Worcester Parker who cares about Worcester park should own a copy of.

Clearly Paying Too Much Tax said...

"I have no idea how much it cost, or whether the artists got paid". A most revealing statement. Of course they got paid - handsomely, no doubt! The clue is in the comment "supported by the Mayor for London’s Outer London FUND".

It's patently a project that could easily have been done not just with local school kids involved, but entirely BY local school kids. There's no great art to uploading photos to the internet, as any kid with a Facebook account will know - and that's the only part that the paid 'artist' contributed - all the rest was supplied by the local community.

Surely you aren't suggesting Sutton's school kids lack the skill to source photos from the local community and upload them? Wouldn't that have been a great community project? By the community, for the community ... but without costing the community?

However, it's now too late to stop the money being needlessly wasted. So perhaps this paid for project's greatest value is to teach Sutton's children how thoughtlessly money is being flushed away in their Borough - regrettably, enthusiastically supported by those who have little idea either who is getting paid or how much.

David K said...

Do you know how much it cost taxpayers and how much the artists got paid? If so I would genuinely be interested to know.

I never said the project was good value, as I have no way of judging that without know how much it cost. I merely made the comment that relatively modest amounts of public money can often leverage a lot of community input. I would imagine that most 9 and 10 year olds would need support coordinating a project like this, especially as it included the pop up shop. This project is clearly more than just loading some photos onto the internet.

You seem upset that people support this project without knowing how much it cost, but seem quite happy to be very negative about it without knowing how much it cost.

What I have seen I really like. I have no problem with it being supported by some public money, but I would hope that it was spent wisely and was not excessive. You didn’t say whether you like the website and ebook or

Clearly Paying Too Much Tax said...

According to Sutton Council, Meanwhile Space are being paid "a six figure sum". That's as specific as Sutton Council will be. [A Freedom of Information request would seem necessary to answer this question]. In the meantime, wherever it is between £100,000 and £900,000 , it is certainly excessive, for what they have done:

Pop Up Shop (Worcester Park): Though Meanwhile Space like to claim the Pop-Up shop you mention was "their" project, the shop had already been completely renovated and reopened by public funds (that's us paying for it). It had been up and running, used by the community before the Meanwhile Space snout got embedded in Sutton's Outer London Fund trough.

Pop-Up Shop (North Cheam): On the basis that renovating the WP Pop-Up cost "low single thousands", nobody should expect the larger, North Cheam one to have cost a great deal to renovate either, but the cost is a mystery, known only to Meanwhile Space.

Victoria House: This was covered in graphics, which only days later, started to peel off. Within weeks, it was falling off in chunks. They had another go in the Spring and (guess what?) the same thing happened all over again! Now the 'artist' seems to have given it up as a bad job, moved on, and has rebranded himself as an 'archivist'... just in time for money to appear for an archive.

Archive: All the photos were sourced from the community or by Sutton archives. The former artist, now archivist simply uploaded them and inserted some hard copies in second-hand frames in the North Cheam Pop-up shop - their contribution was nothing beyond that which a 9 or 10 year-old could have done.

e-Book: If you look at the web address, the Gucci e-book design is actually by issuu [dot] com. The archivist has simply uploaded community photos to a third party's existing template. Again, it's something a 9 or 10 year-old could do and many routinely do on Facebook.

I have a real problem with an unknown "a six figure sum" being flushed into the hands of Meanwhile Space, with so very, very little to show for it. 'The Emperor's New Clothes' certainly comes to mind.

On a positive note: Thankfully all this money was spent at a time of plenty, when the local economy and National economy were doing well...

Stewart Nonsuch Mackay said...

The book looks like it is interesting, however, Sutton Council under the Lib Dems, has an appealing record of wasting other peoples money!! From the concrete mess of the Sutton town centre to £500,000 bus stops and the year on year money pit that is the life centre,,,

Dave said...

A nice Freudian slip there - "appealing".

The "concrete mess" originated in the late 60s/early 70s when a Tory council decided it would be a good idea to build the East and West Parallel Roads.

As to "£500,000 bus stops" - Perhaps you meant "bus stop", and surely bus stops are the responsibility of TfL?

Quick question said...

We've had a new bus stop forced upon us in Central Road - not by TfL, but apparently the result of a Eureka moment by our illustrious local Lib Dem Councillors, who were looking to lose big money on something visual.

The results are:

1. A further reduction in available parking.
2. A further reduction in the flow of traffic.
3. A further reduction in the flow of buses.
4. There never was any real demand: the bus stops for perhaps 1 person at a time.
5. Even the building of the bus shelter was botched - the initial site was chosen without bothering to check for the cable TV junction directly below!

Who should we hold responsible for this gold plated chocolate teapot by our Lib Dem Councillors?
1. TfL
2. Tory Councillors of the 60s and 70s?
3. Sigmund Freud?

Dave said...

1. The recent improvements have increased the amount of parking on Central Road.

2. Buses using the Brabham Court stop are sufficiently off the traffic flow to allow other vehicles to pass - so the flow is, slightly, improved. I have yet to see a bus cause any congestion there - badly driven cars are another matter.

4. One benefit of a bus stop there is to allow people to get off and walk to the shops or station. You sit and stew in your car, I get off the bus and walk.

Based on numbers of people using them, probably half of all local bus stops shouldn't exist, by your logic.

5. You blame the Lib Dems for the minor problem of installing a bus shelter? By that kind of reasoning you might as well blame all the single-occupant cars for the traffic congestion .. actually, that is a significant part of the problem.

Do you have evidence that LBS paid for the bus stop and shelter?

Silly quips like "gold plated chocolate teapot" only serve to highlight the weakness of your arguments.

I am no supporter of the Lib Dems, but sniping, as per Mr. 'Nonsuch', just turns people off.

Quick Answer said...

To argue that an additional, poorly utilised bus stop represents and contributes to increased parking availability is utter nonsense. The same goes for the claim that additional bus stops and associated bus stopping and starting assists bus and wider traffic flow.

Do you honestly believe a contractor should ever be instructed to dig a large hole in Central Road and have no information whatsoever about what lies beneath the surface? So hitting something important is purely down to chance? And if the worst happens, it's only "a minor problem"?

It was TV cables for goodness sake, it wasn't exactly an unmarked obstacle, or from long before living memory. It was thoughtless expense in a thoughtless location - how is it not the responsibility of those who thoughtlessly pressed for it?

The 'Outer London Fund' provided the cash, which only a few believe is free money. Next time you are stuck in traffic, frustrated by the bus stopping and starting:- Take a look at the businesses and residents around you in Central Road. Think about the cost of living, working and travelling in and to and from LBS.

Think about where your bus fare goes and consider why train fares outstrip inflation and their impact on the many LBS residents facing inflation on frozen incomes. So where did that Outer London Fund come from? Just maybe you too might have a 'Eureka!' moment... no, not a gold plated, chocolate runway in Cuddington Rec!

guest said...

To argue that an additional, poorly utilised bus stop represents and contributes to increased parking availability ...

Dave mentioned nothing about parking but that it had no effect of traffic flow

Do you honestly believe a contractor should ever be instructed to dig a
large hole in Central Road and have no information whatsoever about what
lies beneath the surface ...

Of course they have information, but that is usually inaccurate and unless they use ground penetrating radar (an additional expense) it always will be. The workmen laying the TV cables probably laid them in a different location to their plans, and never informed LBS planning department.

The 'Outer London Fund' provided the cash, which only a few believe is free money...

Most people believe that is Boris' reelection fund, not free money, just can't do anything about contributing to it.

Dave said...

Thank you, guest, for saving me the trouble of replying to Quick Answer's latest illogical diatribe. Sounds remarkably like Mr. 'Nonsuch', to me.

Harry said...

"Dave" and "Guest" sound like the same person to me ...funny.

Stewart Consv Mackay said...

Yes Dave, you are correct my phone auto corrected for that I apologize it is meant to say "APPALLING RECORD" I would like to add trying to pin the current state of Sutton High Street on conservatives in the 60's and 70's is clutching at straws ...only last year further funding was snubbed by the Mayor after the debacle over the previous improvement scheme because of a lack in confidence in the council , I quote

"The recent Sutton High Street redevelopment was dogged by a litany of errors, oversights and mismanagement, resulting in an additional £300,000 bill for taxpayers.

An internal report exposed how Sutton Council failed to oversee the project, lost records including £202,000-worth of consultancy work and ignored access concerns from disability groups."

... oh...and that BUS STOP another £500,000 of our money ..

guest said...

I can assure we are not, I just hate to see Non Sequitor arguments used.

And to prove the point, though Dave MAY have a point that the root cause of Sutton's town centre issues were poor planning at a time when all councils were making thier town centres car friendly. It in now way excuses the mismangement of the town centre project by the current council that Stewart has pointed out.

However, the £500,000 bus stop sounds like an urban myth and I can't find any reference to it in web searches.

Worcester Park Blogger said...

Here's a reference: http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/topstories/490187.the_600k_bus_stop/

Mick said...

It is both a shelter and a stop

Stewart Consv Mackay said...

That is £780,120.00 (in today's Money) for one bus shelter.

Parkerilla said...

thanks for the info, but when you say Old Morden that doesn't make sense, do you mean Old Malden?



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