What better way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon than being outside, up to your armpits in dirt? Surprisingly quite a few people from South Norwood thought so and you can understand them feeling smug and virtuous at the end.
A brave team of voluneers turned up to our second Stanley Spruce-Up session on Saturday 10th May. Some were old hands, having done the back-breaking scrub of the gallery floor before Christmas, yet still they came back for more.
They really did make a huge difference. Thanks to them, Stanley Halls now has cleaner, usable Green rooms, significantly fresher toilets, a less dusty assembly room, masses of rubbish tidied and a lighting rig up and ready for use.
All the jobs were heavy going and many pretty foul. A particular shout out goes to the folks who cleaned toilets that looked as if they haven’t seen any bleach in 20 years and those who cleared the rubbish outside in torrential rain. Supreme star of the day goes to Judith who, in a nasty downpour, put her entire arm down a severely blocked external drain to try to stop a major overflow problem.
The works highlighted that the problem with the collapsed drains extends further than we had first anticipated, so, once more, we have to be creative in our facilities management for the forthcoming productions. We are getting to be dab hands at this and tend to find the public quite like a quick tour of bits of Stanley Halls they didn’t know existed to reach a useable WC. Saying that, we will be mightily relieved when Croydon Council does the planned works to rebuild the drains.
A comment that resounded around Stanley Halls all day was the disbelief that this building was ‘managed’ and had a cleaning contract until 18 months ago; Stanley obviously needs us!
For many of us, there was a real thrill of anticipation as the stage lighting rig was painstakingly raised and secured, the modernity of its steel structure seeming somehow at home on the ornately decorated Edwardian stage. It’s now real; after years of volunteers striving to get this together, Stanley Halls will once more see performances on its stage.
So thanks to Audrey, Reisha, Jackie, Renata, Joanna, Rita, Nathan, Kathie, Judith, Ken, Janet, Guy, Charlie, Carol, David and David. You have moved us significantly nearer to these Halls being ready for our community to come and enjoy them.
William Ford Stanley was a well travelled man, so it seems fitting that The Lives of Stanley Halls exhibition, following in the footsteps of that eminent Victorian gent, is just about to embark on its own grand tour……
If you were among the 50 or so that attended its grand unveiling on 4th December, you will know that the exhibition, The Lives of Stanley Halls: Theatricals, Community and Entertainment was anticipated with great excitement…and the excitement did not go unfulfilled! Curated by volunteer researchers and oral historians, the display offers a thoughtful and fascinating insight into the history and heritage of Stanley Halls and explores the various ways that it has been enjoyed by the community since its opening.
The exhibition comprises 8 panels which focus on diverse topics such as the building of the Halls, its opening and its various uses such as for educational, communal and theatrical purposes. Teeming with detail, it also includes a huge number of memories given by members of the South Norwood community. If you have yet to see it, over the forthcoming weeks there will be many opportunities to catch the exhibition starting with the Stanley Halls Open Day on Saturday 18th January (12.30pm – 6.30pm). And for those of you that just can’t wait that long, here are a few pictures to whet your appetite ……
After the Stanley Halls Open Day the exhibition will be visiting a number of venues including South Norwood Library from 20th January. A full exhibition schedule will be revealed in due course but, in the meantime, if you have any suggestions of venues which might like to host the exhibition, please let us know on email@example.com
The Lives of Stanley Halls Project Coordinator
As SPI celebrates its second birthday certain changes are needed to see us through to our third. SPI Chair, Carol Clapperton, introduces you to people guiding Stanley Halls’ future……
Happy birthday SPI, you’ve done a heck of a lot in your short life. From starting life as a group of interested local residents with a passion to take on Stanley Halls but no idea of what to do, to being on the verge of forming a charity which will open the Halls to the public later this year.
That takes a lot of commitment and hard slog. If nothing else, this project has shown the streak of bloody-mindedness in the people of South Norwood to get Stanley Halls open.
I want to thank all the 170 or so Friends of SPI supporting this project, and in particular the 20 of them who have sweated blood and tears to get it to this stage – the Steering Group.
It’s also a poignant time for us. With more than a few sobs we have just disbanded the Steering Group. Having 20 feisty folk making decisions on how to get Stanley Halls up and running is good at first, but for a business moving forward we now need a tighter board of 11. Fear not, we don’t lose all the skills of the former Steering Group; we have working parties galore and there’s too much talent there to let it slip through our fingers.
So, on one of the first extremely hot days of this Summer we invited the Friends of SPI to vote for 10 of the places on a new Board. In a few weeks time this Board will become the first trustees in our new Charitable Incorporated Organisation which will run the Halls. We had a fantastic 20 candidates, some new, some old hands. Let me introduce you to your new SPI board as elected by the Friends group:
Orlene AllenI am an Accountant who has lived in South Norwood over 20 years. I am currently Deputy Chair of TEPERA (230 households) in addition to being its Social Secretary and Environmental Officer for the last 10 years. I am also on the Steering Committee. I have a passion for the Arts and bringing people together. Stanley Halls represent the heart of a diverse Community which I passionately believe it can continue in an increasing capacity.
Judith Burden (Secretary and Cafe/Social Hub Leader)Moving to South Norwood in 1970, I remember the Halls as a thriving venue. I have been secretary of SPI since its beginning, done research into some of Stanley’s paintings and I am working to bring the Gallery alive with Café,Bar, art exhibitions and lunchtime concerts. Before retirement, I taught music, lectured in Music Education, and was school governor for 10 years. I have been secretary of TEPERA for 20 years and established an No Cold Calling Zone for members.
Debbie Challis (Fund Raising Officer)When I moved to South Norwood two years ago, I was immediately attracted to Stanley Halls and the potential that it has to be the heart of this community. I am a museum professional and academic (specializing in visual culture during the 19thC) and feel I have many skills to offer SPI. Since January 2013 I have been fundraising officer bidding for small grants and working hard towards getting substantial money from major funders.
Carol Clapperton (Chair and Enterprise Hub Leader)I have chaired SPI from its beginnings as a keen interest group to where it is forming a charitable business and bidding for millions. I have lived in SE25 for over 20 years, for a couple of which I worked developing local business. So I want to see new enterprises in the Halls bringing money to the area. I’m experienced in project management, staff management, community engagement and developing community-led businesses.
Joanna CorbinI have volunteered in South Norwood for sometime, which has given me insight into the aspiration of our community. I will work hard to engage and support the development of the Charity. I have been an avid volunteer with SPI. I have practical experience as a Trustee of Waterloo Action Centre and Holy Innocents Church. I hope to add to the diverse melting pot of the Board as I am a Charity Solicitor.
John Coventon (Performance Hub Leader)I have lived in SE25 for twenty years, after ten years in SE19. I am a drama teacher, with thirty years in Croydon schools. I worked for eight years at the ILEA Cockpit Theatre & Arts Workshop in NW8. I’m a former chairman of London Drama, director of No Kidding (an integrated performance company) and author of Drama to Inspire. I believe Stanley Halls should be SE25’s community focal point.
Andrew NelsonI am an accountant with considerable experience working for major financial institutions, mainly in the City of London. I am also heavily involved in performing arts, film, animation and community work both in the UK and Jamaica. I am an enthusiastic supporter of the Stanley Halls project. I believe the many benefits it will offer, such as a place for development of local arts and young people, is urgently needed. Since becoming part of the Steering Group in 2011, I have written or contributed to various policy documents. I have also functioned as the central person compiling budgets and forecasts.
Deborah RussellI’ve lived in South Norwood for many years. I’m passionate about preserving history but want this to dovetail with much needed regeneration for the area – Stanley Halls is definitely part of that vision. I bring commitment, together with business development and programme management skills, as well as experience working for an international charity. I now work for the NHS, where I have lead on a number of projects and programmes aimed at improving services.
Paul Scott (Vice Chair and lead for the Building and Heritage Hub)As the chair of People for Portland Road I made the initial application to the Council calling for Stanley Halls to be returned to our local community. I’ve been involved ever since as SPI’s vice-chair, using my experience as an architect to design our development proposals and using my position as a local Councillor to secure our permission to go ahead.
David Somner (Marketing Group member)I joined SPI in February 2012, I have been involved in the performance and marketing hubs; contacting performers that would like to come to the Halls, helping to formulate marketing strategy and helping selecting the box office system. I studied theatre at Rose Bruford College, I used to hire out theatre equipment to the local community, which is how I came to know the Halls. I worked at a similar community centre venue in the past.
Also, we have one board place for a local Councillor standing in that capacity. We asked the 9 Councillors in the SE25 wards (South Norwood, Woodside and Selhurst) to nominate one of their members and Councillor Kathy Bee makes our final board member. Kathy is also SPI’s Treasurer and Leads the Community Hub.
You can email any of the above board members by using this link. We’d like to hear how you would like to use Stanley Halls.