Tottenham News December 2018

Black Georgian Londoners: Portraits, People and Perceptions

Picture of black georgians

James Townsend owned Bruce Castle in the late 18th Century. He was also our first mixed race MP
and Lord Mayor of London.

“We’ve recently found out that Townsend’s heritage happened to be black, from the west coast of Africa,” said Deborah Hedgecock, Bruce Castle’s curator. “We don’t know whether Townsend knew about his ancestry or not, but that aspect was important for us to try and we’ve gone on to find out what London was like during that time and to see whether there were any other connections.”

The result is a fascinating new exhibition at the museum called Black Georgian Londoners: Portraits, People and Perceptions. Launched as part of Black History Month it runs until the end of March, 2019 and features a variety of material including rare and unusual portraits of black Georgians.

“The stereotypical impression of black Georgians is that they were all slaves or poor,” said historian Steve Martin, visiting Bruce Castle to talk about the subject.

“But the 1700s were the start of a multi-ethnic society and we have many black individuals who came to prominence in British society at that time.”

“We hope that lots of people come and visit this exhibition and we think schools will love it,” said Deborah. “The exhibition has been created with schools in mind and we’ve connected it to objects for the children to handle and have costumes which they can dress up in so they can really get into the shoes of what it might have been like to live in that time.”

Bruce Castle Museum, Lordship Lane, Tottenham, N17 8NU.

Admission is free and the exhibition runs until March 2019.

Back to top

New Step Free Station Footbridge Is Open

New Step Free footbridge at Northumberland Park Station

A new step free footbridge is now open at Northumberland Park railway station. The new footbridge, part of the £170m Lee Valley Rail Programme, has step free ramps and will soon have a lift making
Northumberland Park station step free to platform for wheelchair users, buggies and people with restricted mobility.

Northumberland Park Station is being fully refurbished and there will be a new third track installed to provide two additional trains per hour to central London. The upgraded station will open in spring 2019.

Back to top

Ale In A Day’s Work!

Andy Moffat, founder of Redemption Brewery with brewery assistant Stephen Kassay

Only 6 per cent of people with learning disabilities are in paid jobs.

It’s a statistic which people like Andy Moffat, founder of the Redemption Brewing Company based in Northumberland Park, are keen to change.

Andy was approached by Action for Kids, the charity supporting disabled young people who might find it difficult to find employment. A representative knocked on his door and asked if he could offer some work
experience placements.

“So I welcomed in a couple of them and it quickly became apparent that one of the young people, Stephen, was really good and he enjoyed it as well,” said Andy. “His work experience lasted about three months and then we decided to take him on part-time.

Three days a week Stephen Kassay, who lives in Tottenham Hale, works as a brewery assistant washing casks and helping with the bottling.

“I got an award from Action for Kids for the work placement I did at Redemption,” added Stephen, grinning. “And then I was offered a job here which was great. This place is nice and it’s a marvellous building. Andy is a good boss and I enjoy my tasks."

Redemption is a Tottenham success story. One of the first businesses to receive the Opportunity Investment Fund, it keeps going from strength-to-strength. Recently Andy and co enjoyed a great result with a crowdfunding campaign. The team had set a target of £300,000 for people to invest in the business
to help it expand. But, in just a few weeks, investors had smashed through the target and Redemption
ended up with £400,000.

“We were bowled over by the response, said Andy. ”It’s exciting times for Redemption!”

To find out more about the brewery and job opportunities visit: www.redemptionbrewing.co.uk (External link)

Redemption Brewery has signed up to the Tottenham Charter and has pledged to help to provide local
residents with skills and experiences that will enable them to make the most of their own opportunity and
ambition.

For more information on the Tottenham Charter visit www.tottenham.london/TC

The Opportunity Investment Fund (OIF) is a business loan fund. The OIF helps businesses to create or improve work space, purchase machinery or production equipment, generate new jobs and invest in training for existing staff in Tottenham.

For more information on the Fund visit www.tottenham.london/OIF

Back to top

Mayor For The Day

Young girl and boy smiling

Mirren and Gian, both aged ten, from St Francis de Sales School

Mirren: “There’s a recycling problem with people just throwing stuff away so, if I was mayor for the day, I would put money into cleaning up London and encouraging people to recycle – perhaps through a public event with speakers to educate residents.

London also has a problem with lots of homeless people so I would build a huge homeless shelter full of food. It’s getting colder so it’s even more of an issue.”

Gian: “I’m also concerned about too much rubbish in London so I would give dustbin men and women
and street cleaners a raise! I would also hire lots of people for that day to pick up litter which could then
be recycled. Air pollution is also an issue – especially for me because I have asthma – so I would encourage the planting of trees to make London greener. The city also has a problem with gangs so I would bring in more police and security which would remain there after my day as mayor. In the evening I would hold a party in which Ed Sheeran could perform.

I would invite a lot of people but the one person I wouldn’t invite would be Donald Trump! He’s doing nothing to make America great again. I would even phone him up and tell him, “Change what you think about other people – especially foreigners who you seem to despise.”

Mirren: “At our party I would also ask Sia to come along and perform with Ed Sheeran. I would have a
vegetarian section for those who don’t eat meat and roast dinners for those who do!”

Back to top

All The People. So Many People

Woman getting a seated massage

Hundreds of residents attended the first People’s Day to be held in Tottenham Green Leisure Centre.
The event which took place in October, was a colourful celebration of the local community and gave dozens of groups and individuals the chance to showcase their services. There were also areas for tea and coffee, cake stands, a tombola and even the chance for free massages.

“I feel part of the community at events like this and it’s a good opportunity to get to know your neighbours,” said Tottenham resident Irene Scanlon, there with her friend Bridget. “It’s been a very interesting day and I’ve been finding out lots about stroke prevention through exercise. It’s the first time I’ve attended one of these and I’ve already learnt a lot.”

“It’s a really good opportunity to meet people and say ‘Hello’,” said police constable Ellie Ward, there with the local Safer Neighbourhood Team.

“We’ve been offering locals some crime prevention advice and giving them some tools and tips to make their houses safer.”

A good number of those attending were members of the Haringey Pensioners Action Group – Tottenham & Wood Green Branch. Its chair, Councillor Sheila Peacock, was the driving force behind this year’s People’s Day.

“It has been a great success,” she said. “The People’s Day is all about showing the community what’s actually for them in the borough because lots of people don’t know what is actually available to them.”

If you would like to join the Tottenham & Wood Green Pensioners group they meet every second Tuesday of the month at Tottenham Green Leisure Centre.

For more information contact Councillor Sheila Peacock on 07991 018106.

Back to top

Hannah Azieb Pool Joins Bernie Grant Arts Centre

Hannah Azieb Pool joins Bernie Grant Arts Centre as Artistic Director

Curator, author and journalist Hannah Azieb Pool is joining the Bernie Grant Arts Centre as its new
Artistic Director, effective February 2019.

Hannah most recently served as Senior Programmer for Contemporary Culture at the Southbank Centre,
where she curated Africa Utopia, the annual festival celebrating arts and ideas from across Africa and the
diaspora, and was a key programmer of the WOW Women of the World festival.

Well known for her Guardian column ‘The New Black’, the first black-beauty focused column in a national
British newspaper, and her books: Fashion Cities Africa and My Fathers’ Daughter. Hannah has written for many international publications including The Times, Stylist and Vogue Magazine UK, while previous roles include co-curator of Fashion Cities Africa exhibition at the Brighton Pavilion Museum, Associate Editor of Arise Magazine, and Chair of UKFeminista. Hannah is a trustee of LIFT (the London International Festival of Theatre) and is a patron of the SI Leeds Prize, the biannual award for unpublished fiction by UK Black and Asian women.

Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Town Hall Approach Road, N15 4RX

www.berniegrantcentre.co.uk (External link)

Back to top

Looks Like Selma Is Leading The Way

Selma holding her award

A Tottenham woman has won a prestigious award for the work she has done raising the profile of underrepresented groups through her talent and casting agency.

Selma Nicholls is the founder of Looks Like Me and in October she won the Black British Business Award
for Arts and Media Leader of the Year at a glitzy event in central London.

“They allowed my daughter to come to the awards and we sat at a table together and the moment my name was read out she looked at me with the biggest smile,” she said. “It felt like I had won the lottery and getting this award was recognition and validation that what I’m doing is needed. I believe I am making a difference to people’s lives and I guess I’m an example that anything is possible.”

The fact her daughter, Riley-Ann, was there was important for Selma because the seven-year-old inspired Selma to start her agency in the first place.

“In the summer of 2015 my daughter started questioning her identity and talked about her hair, wanting
it to be straight rather than curly,” she explained. “Then a month later she said, ‘I don’t want to be brown
anymore!’ I just didn’t understand where this was coming from.”

Selma showed Riley-Ann a DVD of a recent film version of Annie, starring a black actress in the title role, and her response was, “Oh, mummy. She is so beautiful. And she looks like me!”

“And that was the moment I thought, ‘Looks like Me’!’” said Selma. “So the actress resonated with my little girl because she was on the big screen but that had actually been the first time there’s been a film like this with a little girl like her. And then I started to look at visual imagery around me – on the train, billboards and coffee shops and I realised that the little black girl was invisible. So I wanted to create something that does look like her.”

Three years of intensive work followed as Selma gave up her job, took out a loan, and committed herself to starting her Tottenham agency featuring a diverse range of black and minority ethnic children.

Her young talent has gone onto front adverts and campaigns by such high street brands as Tesco, Next and Sainsbury’s but her most satisfying creative moment has to be the stunning images she arranged
for the British Film Institute’s (BFI) preview of the smash hit superhero film, Black Panther.

“I had six children come in for the shoot on a Friday afternoon and I used a completely black team of
photographer, stylists, everything! We dressed the children to match characters and I called the shoot
Hero in Us All as I tried to pull out the superhero in every one of them and they did grow ten feet tall.
And everyone was posing with the banners we made for the event at the BFI and our images went viral
with actors and rappers tweeting them! I even got to meet the Black Panther director, Ry Coogler, who
personally thanked me and said, ‘What you have done is amazing!’”

Selma’s next goal is to celebrate people with visible and invisible disabilities because, in her words, “All stories should be told.”

To find out more visit: www.lookslikeme.co.uk (External link)

Back to top