The Brixton Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) was a Heritage Lottery (HLF) and Lambeth Council funded regeneration project, carried out from 2016-2021 with the aim of preserving and enhancing the unique architecture and historic character of Electric Avenue, whilst stimulating economic regeneration and raising knowledge, awareness of and participation in local heritage.
The Brixton Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) was a Heritage Lottery (HLF) and Lambeth Council funded regeneration project, carried out from 2016-2021 with the aim of preserving and enhancing the unique architecture and historic character of Electric Avenue, whilst stimulating economic regeneration and raising knowledge, awareness of and participation in local heritage. As well as providing grants to building owners for repair and restoration, the scheme included a programme of complementary community initiatives to address the aims of increasing knowledge of and participation in heritage. As part of this community remit Our Hut designed and delivered a programme of creative heritage workshops in local schools which took place in two phases in Summer 2016, before the regeneration and Summer 2018, post-regeneration with an additional final legacy phase in 2020.
Phase 1 workshops took place over 6 weeks with Year 5 at Hill Mead Primary and Year 7 at Evelyn Grace Academy. They were designed to engage the students with all aspects of the Brixton townscape heritage area so that, as ‘local experts’, they would be in a good position to evaluate the area and think about what improvements should be made. In particular, the project focused on helping the children to learn about and connect with their local area, especially the market and heritage of Electric Avenue. For their final pieces the students in Hill Mead worked in teams to create themed ‘Brixton Information Boxes’. At Evelyn Grace Academy the students created a free-standing ‘street’ in which all the buildings also related to a Brixton theme.
In the second phase we took inspiration from the fact that Electric Avenue was one of the first streets in the UK to have electric street lighting. Year 7 students from Evelyn Grace Academy created a series of translucent lit up buildings of Brixton that formed a temporary window installation as part of the Brixton Design Trail which was one of the routes of the London Design Festival in 2018. Students from Corpus Christi used diodes and playdoh to create buildings and streets.
Working with Brixton Project, the secondary school’s programme final legacy phase was adapted for online delivery: a group of secondary school students learnt about Brixton heritage from us and then they went on to create a short film and podcasts about Brixton. For the primary initiative Our Hut delivered an exemplar pilot of 3 workshops at Hillmead school in order for schools to be able to create a local map showing landmarks and people associated with Brixton.