‘Community Lissenden’ Centenary 1906-2006 – Celebrating 100 years of community history in Lissenden Gardens London NW5

Edwardian mansion flats – an important part of the development of urban living in London, and of housing in Camden.

100 years after their completion, the red brick mansion blocks of the Lissenden Gardens Estate stand witness to their adaptability and enduring popularity with Londoners today.

Something worth celebrating!

How did the Lissenden Gardens Centenary project get started?

• Neighbours coming together to pool ideas, talents and enthusiasm.
• Meeting and planning to build the Centenary project team
• Fund raising and enthusiasm building events

What did we want to do?

• Research the history of our community and become more aware of our own place in it.
• Share our discoveries with our neighbours and the next generation in local schools.
• Celebrate the good things – the people, the buildings, the green spaces.
• Commemorate our local 20th century heroes.
• Involve ALL Lissenden residents in celebrating our unique & diverse community.

The ‘Community Lissenden’ Centenary Project: What did we do?

• A new history of the Lissenden Estate ‘To Paradise by way of Gospel Oak’.
• A short architectural guide for self-led tours for of the Lissenden Gardens estate.
• A live history and story telling group: ‘Lissenden Lives 1906-46’.
• A Centenary Photographic Exhibition: ‘My Lissenden.’
• A new centenary section of LGTA website – work still in progress.
• A 20 minute DVD film by local film maker and young Lissenden residents: ‘Lissenden Life’
• Centenary commemorative plaques to celebrate three 20th century ‘Lissenden Heroes’.

How did we pay for it?

• Our own fund raising – “Eat Lissenden!” dinners, teas and weekend lunches.
• Local sponsors – small businesses, local estate agents.
• An application to the Heritage Lottery Fund: lots of form filling, and our own HLF adviser who helped us to clarify our ideas, and encouraged our ambition and thinking BIG.
• A one day Heritage Festival grows into a three year Centenary Project – to leave a lasting legacy and mark our own place in the history of Lissenden Gardens.
• ‘Community Lissenden’ is awarded £24K Heritage Lottery cash – now we have to do it!

Centenary Events Programme 2006- 2009:

July 2006: One Day Centenary Heritage Festival for the whole of the estate.
June & December 2006: Community sports and Centenary family party.
2006/7 ‘My Lissenden’ Photographic Exhibition tours local libraries and schools.
May 2007: Unveiling Centenary Plaques & ‘heroes and history’ event.
Autumn 2007: Talks to local groups: Hampstead Museum; Friends of Highgate Library.
Spring 2008: ‘Celebrating Green Space on our Doorstep’ Hampstead Heath walk, in collaboration with the City of London Heath Education Centre.
June 2009: Lissenden Pool Party – celebrating the renewed historic Parliament Hill Lido.
September 2009: ‘To Paradise by way of Gospel Oak’: publication and launch of Ros Bayley’s new history of the Lissenden Gardens Estate.
September 2009: the Lissenden Estate featured in the ‘London Open House Weekend’.

‘Lissenden Lives 1906-1946’ – a centenary live history and story telling group

• Live history storytelling! Bringing the past to life and giving history a human face.
• Researching and developing fictional historical characters to speak for their time.
• Stepping into their clothes at the Centenary Heritage Festival.
• Holding their memories in the narratives we weave for website publication.

‘My Lissenden’ Centenary Photographic Exhibition

• Going out with cameras, to capture what we value about living in Lissenden Gardens.
• Teenagers and children given single use cameras to record what’s special for them.
• Sharing this through a travelling exhibition for local schools and libraries: ‘Bull & Last’ pub, Highgate Library, La Sainte Union School and Camden Local Studies Centre.

Celebrating 20th century ‘Lissenden Heroes’ – 8th May 2008

• Commemorative plaques – designed, made and erected by F & S Ashworth – to celebrate three past Lissenden residents who made major contributions to 20c life & culture:
Alice Zimmern (1855-1939) – champion of women’s independence, education & suffrage.
Haydn Wood (1882-1959) – a founding father of British Light Music and popular song.
James Hanley (1897–1985) – avante garde novelist and radio and television playwright.
• Tributes from Girton College Archivist, British Light Music Association, and the artist Liam Hanley.
• Hayden Wood ballads sung by the Lissenden Centenary Singers.
• ‘Cake History!’ enjoyed at tea party held at the nearby La Sainte Union School – baked by Lissenden residents to recipes from the Edwardian era, World War II and the 1950s and 60s.

“To Paradise by way of Gospel Oak” – book launch tea party – 19th September 2009

• A new social history of the Lissenden Gardens estate, by Lissenden author Rosalind Bayley, published by Camden History Society, with support from Heritage Lottery Fund.
• Launched at a community party on the estate’s communal tennis court.
• Speeches, local history quiz, 1911 census printouts, and Lissenden singers and musicians.

Lissenden Estate included in 20th September 2009 ‘London Open House Weekend’

• Two flats open to the public.
• Lissenden residents organizing and taking part as London Open House guides and stewards.
• Centenary information and A4 architectural guide to a self led tour of the estate issued.
• Centenary exhibition and book sales of ‘To Paradise by Way of Gospel Oak’.

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