Surrey Opera seeks black singers/actors for ‘A Life to Come’

Surrey Opera is  looking for some black singers/actors for its  production of The Life to Come by Louis Mander and Stephen Fry – based on the short story by E. M. Forster.

Performances will be in September and October, and rehearsals in September.

The music is straightforward and tuneful, so basically easy to learn.

So wants to recruit about 12-ish ‘adult looking’ male and female singers/actors to make up a small chorus.  There may be some expenses available.

Surrey Opera hopes the production will get a lot of media attention.

Jonathan Butcher, Surrey Opera’s Director says:

‘Do you know anyone who would be suitable? This now quite an urgent matter!

It should be an amazing experience do anyone who joins us!’

Jonathan can be contacted at 020 8654 9306 or 07762 560537.

Jonathan was the Director the year long Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Festival in Croydon in 2012, backed by Surrey Opera, which performed the composer’s previously unperformed opera Thelma.

For more about Surrey Opera see:

You can listen to a recording of the A Life to Come opera’s Act 2 at

For a discussion of Forster’s A Life to Come see

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Croydon events & news at 28 May

Events Listing

Wednesday 31 May. 6-9pm. Shaking Hands – The Icebreaker Social

Sussex Innovation Centre, No.1 Croydon, 12-16 Addiscombe Road, Croydon, CR0 0XT

To sign up go to

Can you spot me at the back in the photo of a previous event?

Sunday 4 June. 11am-4pm. Croydon Airport Visitor Centre Open Day

Airport House, Purley Way

Sunday 4 June. 1-5pm. Shirley Windmill Open Day

Postmill Close

Tuesday 6 June. 7.30pm. Harmonium

2016 Japanese film at David Lean Cinema.

Tuesday 13 June. 11am. Beauty and the Beast

David Lean Cinema

Sunday 18 June. 3pm. Cello Recital by Nigel Blomily

Sanderstead United Reformed Church, Sanderstead Hill

Saturday 24 June. Croydon Assembly

For up-to-date information and the People’s Plan go to

Flooding Risk Alert

Council gets rough ride at Local Plan Public Hearing

Its been a busy two weeks with the Croydon Local Plan Public Hearing Sessions which are now entering their final days this coming week.  As someone who has attended and had to prepare for all but one the Sessions so far there has been no time to report what has been happening.

Tory Leader Tim Pollard has been able to write about Tuesday’s intensification zones and Thursday’s Gypsy and Traveller Sessions.

I took part in the intensification zone session and pointed out:

  • that part of the John Ruskin School fields were in the zone, which suggests the Council officers are contemplating building on school playing fields.
  • That such zones which had a weak evidence base and look like they would be damaging the character of the areas were not needed because intensification will happen anyway, as is being seen in Norbury which is not proposed for zoning.

I observed the last part of the Gypsy/Traveller Session and it was clear to me that the Purley Oaks site was totally inappropriate, but the Council had failed to show how it would meet one of its key criteria – how to ensure harmonious relations with local residents.

‘The council look after the big boys and not the small shops these days’

So says the owner of an ironmonger’s business in South Norwood which is closing.

Elsewhere Yorkshire Building Society is closing its branches in Coulsdon and Selsdon.

Why is Croydon Labour upsetting residents on Council estates?

Croydon’s Labour Councillors on the Planning Committee have approved three controversial Brick by Brick schemes on Council estates, upsetting the residents by approving building on their green spaces. This obsession is meeting the new housing targets required by central Government and the London Mayor are damaging the quality of life and amenity of these residents.

On one scheme Planning Chair Paul Scott refused Steve Reed, the former MP for Croydon North, the opportunity to speak on the ground  he might be seen as electioneering. While technically he may have been correct the Conservative Councillors had no objection. Scott’s attitude contrasts with Gavin Barwell and Chris Philp being able to speak at the Croydon Local Plan hearing, both of whom very carefully avoided electioneering and making party political points.

There is not mention of Brick by Brick activities in the latest Open House newsletter for Council estate residents.

You can make your own mind up by watching the webcast of the meeting at:

and on the one of 18 May at:

Cuts continue to damage people in Croydon

Too Hot for Southern

Council supports quitting smoking

This contrasts with its continuing lack of action to prosecute shishas cafes for allowing illegal smoking in their premises. It really is time that pub, restaurant and café owners collectively objected since they all comply with the law.

AHMM to work on detailed designs for Taberner House site

For details about AHMM see

Hammerson Sells Two More Retail Parks

Another £91.7m into Hammerson’s bank account comes from selling two retail parks into Kent to BMO Real Estate Partners

Hammerson’s Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement

The Other Croydon

  • Murder and Rape

  • Other Crime

  • Litter & Fly-tipping

  • Car Crime, Recklessness and Stupidity

  • Lack of Food Hygiene

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How will Labour’s Manifesto Help Croydon?

Election Hustings

  • Croydon North: Wednesday 31 May. 7.30pm-9pm, St John’s Church, Sylvan Road, Upper Norwood. Hosted by Crystal Palace Chamber of Commerce.
  • Croydon Central: Thursday 1 June. 6pm-8pm, TMRW Tech Hub, 75-77 High Street, Croydon. Hosted by Croydon BID and the Croydon Advertiser.(Tickets are free but booking is required.)
  • Croydon South: Thursday 1 June. 8pm-9.30pm. Christ Church Purley, 861-863 Brighton Road, Purley. Hosted by South Croydon churches. Doors open at 7.30pm

What will the Brexit effect be in Croydon on the Election results?

Conservative supporter Robert ward discusses the issues at

Did the Tories score an own goal in attacking Corbyn?

How Does Labour’s Manifesto address some of the problems in Croydon?

I have picked out a few elements of Labour’s Manifesto that have a bearing on the issues and concerns in Croydon.

  • Give local people more say in planning

‘It is through the planning system that communities can shape the kinds of high streets, homes and amenities that they want.’

Proper resourcing and bolstering of planning authorities ‘with fuller powers to put people and communities at the heart of planning.’

‘We will prioritise brownfield sites and protect the green belt.’

‘We will reintroduce funding for the preparation of judicial review cases.’

Comment: The effect should be to require the Council to make changes to the Local Plan and the decision making process which boost Croydon communities role against developers parachuting in with schemes designed to maximise profit not meet local needs. Hopefully the measures will include a community right of appeal against decisions, especially on local authority own land schemes. In the light of the Beddington incinerator judicial review case costs, and the cost risks of changing the sale of the Riesco collection easier judicial review will make it easier for communities to challenge decisions they oppose.

  • Better and affordable new homes

New rules on minimum space standards to prevent ‘rabbit hutch’ properties

New homes which are ‘genuinely affordable rent or sale’

Local plans to address the need for older people’s housing.

Comment. The Council has an Article 4 in the Opportunity Area to prevent the rabbit hutch conversion of former officers to homes. But that leases a threat to that elsewhere in the Borough e.g. Ambassador House in Thornton Heath.

  • Protection for leaseholders and private tenants

Protect leaseholders from rises in ‘ground rent’ from developers or management companies.

New three-year tenancies.

Inflation cap on rent rises

Ban on letting agency fees for tenants.

New consumer rights for renters.

New legal minimum standards to ensure properties are fit for human habitation.

Comment. With thousands of new homes sold on leasehold the new residents of Croydon will become victims of unfair ‘ground rent’ charges. Alongside there will need to ne tighter controls over service charges. The greater protection of private tenants will help to reduce their exploitation in houses in multiple-occupation and help reduce the high turnover of population which weakens communities.

  • Ending the threat to local NHS Closures and treatment cuts

Halt ‘and review the NHS ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’, which are looking at closing health services across England.’

Ask ‘local people to participate in the redrawing of plans with a focus on patient need rather than available finances.’

Reinstate the powers of the Secretary of State for Health to have overall responsibility for the NHS.

Ring-fence ‘mental health budgets and ensure funding reaches the frontline.’

Comment Hopefully this will quickly prevent the threat to local hospitals in the South West area, such as Croydon University, and allow us to achieve a proper spread of services rather than them being every sucked into St George’s.

  • Tackling air pollution and waste

A new Clean Air Act.

Targets ‘for plastic bottle deposit schemes, working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste.’

Comment. These two measures will certainly help the problems we face with poor air quality in parts of Croydon, and with some of the waste problems.

  • Improving biodiversity and tackling climate change

Protect ‘bees by prohibiting neonicotinoids’.

Plant ‘a million trees of native species to promote biodiversity and better flood management.’

Reclaim ‘Britain’s leading role in tackling climate change, working hard to preserve the Paris Agreement and deliver on international commitments to reduce emissions while mitigating the impacts of climate change on developing countries.’

Comment. This is just part of a package of environmental measures across different topic sections of the Manifesto. The flood action measure will sit alongside improved co-ordination for flood defence. This should help areas like Purley.

  • Boosting culture and libraries

End cuts to local authority budgets to support the provision of libraries, museums and galleries.

Introduce a £160m ‘arts pupil premium to every primary school in England’ ‘to invest in projects that will support cultural activities for schools over the longer term.’

Put ‘creativity back at the heart of the curriculum review’

Extend ‘the £1,000 pub relief business rates scheme to small music venues.’

Comment. These promises could ensure that the Council had more money to re-build an improve library service, and avoid any closures. The curriculum promises are just what is needed to ensure that learning in primary schools is enjoyable and cross curricular. It sites alongside and end to baseline assessments and setting up a commission ‘to look into curriculum and assessment, starting by reviewing Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs.’ There are also measures to deal with child health issues.

  • Strengthening democracy and accountability

Extend the Freedom of Information Act to private companies that run public services.

Comment. Hopefully this will improve accountability of companies like Veolia, and the library contractor, but there will also need to be a reduction in the ‘commercial confidentiality’ secrecy that exists over the ward of contracts and how they are run and monitored.

Minister for England.

Comment. There will be also the re-establishment of Government Regional Offices which help regions in an integrated way the tackle their issues and strengthen re-building their local economies and communities.

Boosting effective defence and border security

There has been a lot of media distortion of what the Labour Leader has been saying in recent days, so this is what the Manifesto says.

‘The primary duty of any government is to protect and defend its citizens. We live in a period of growing international tensions. A strong, viable and sustainable defence and security policy must be strategic and evidence led.’

‘Labour will take all necessary measures to protect the security of our citizens and country. We will put conflict resolution and human rights at the heart of foreign policy, commit to working through the UN, end support for unilateral aggressive wars of intervention and bac􀁎 effective action to alleviate the refugee crisis.’

‘Border security is vital in preventing serious crimes including child abduction, people trafficking, smuggling of drugs and guns, terrorism and modern day slavery.’

Comment. ‘Peace not war’ and conflict resolution is the only  patriotism worth shouting about.

You can read the full Manifesto here:

Labour Manifesto 2017

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Croydon Education Question Time 24 May

Wednesday 24 May, 7pm

(doors open 6.30pm)

St Andrews High School,
Waynflete Avenue, CR0 4BH
(parking on playground)

Is it correct that school funding is being cut?

Why have class sizes risen in the last two years?

Are teachers overworked?
Are standards falling in our schools?

Why are some schools removing subjects like Arts and Drama?

Should schools be run as businesses?

Do we need Free Schools?

Will opening grammar schools raise standards and increase social mobility?

Chair: Philipa Harvey (local teacher and NUT National President 2016)


Gavin Barwell (Tory MP for Croydon Central 2010-17)
Sarah Jones (Labour candidate for Croydon Central)
Local Headteacher,  Local Parent, Local Student

If you have a question you would like to ask the panel, you can email it in advance to

To make sure you get a seat at the Education Question Time, please register at:

Tea, coffee and light refreshments

How did Barwell and Jones do last year?

Debate on aspects of education in Croydon

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Croydon events & news at 21 May

Croydon Local Plan Hearings

Monday 22 May: housing intensification

Tuesday 23 May: Green Grid

Wednesday 24 May: affordable homes; dwelling mix; housing quality

Thursday 25 May: gypsies; employment

Tuesday 30 May: tall buildings; local heritage; community facilities; sustainable design; transport

Wednesday 31 May: local sites

The agendas, issues and Council views can be seen on:

I am taking part in all the sessions bar: gypsies and local sites. If you have any views on issues in the other sessions about the Plan and what the Council has submitted, that you would like me to consider including in my remarks at the Hearing please email them the day before the session.

The Hearing is open to the public and is being held at the Community Space in Bernard Weatherill House in Mint Walk.

David Lean Cinema film shows

Including Lost City of Z (23 May), Twelfth Night (Globe 2012) (25 May; Beauty and the Beast (27 May)

Tuesday 16 May – Saturday 4 November. The Fairfield Collection

Exhibition Gallery, Croydon Clocktower, Katharine Street, Croydon, CR9 1ET

Tuesdays – Saturday 23 May – 28 October. 10.30am–5pm. The Art of Fairfield

Museum of Croydon, Croydon Clocktower, Katharine Street, Croydon, CR9 1ET

For further details see Council news release at

Wednesday 14 June. 6.30pm. Whitgift Centre application at Planning Committee

This appears to be the date now set for considering the revised planning application for the Whitgift Centre.

Those who have concerns about details of it need to meet together to draw up the representations they want to make.

Wednesday 21 June. Make Music Day

Catherine Pestano hopes that people will take part.

Saturday 24 June. Croydon Assembly

The Assembly originally scheduled for 3 June was re-scheduled because of the General Election.

Ruskin House, Coombe Rd.

Details will be posted on this blog site soon. Among the measures it supports is the London Living Wage. See below for what the Council and especially Cllr Jamie Audsley are doing to promote it.

Can Labour win Croydon Central?

In 2014 Labour failed to get out an extra 166 voters to win in Croydon Central. 2,733 voted for the Lib Dems, the Greens and TUSC. UKIP polled 4,810. If all of UKIP’s votes go to Gavin Barwell then Labour will lose, unless it can get out to vote the large number of people who did not vote in 2014. The chances are not helped by the entry into the contest of an independent who has resigned from his job as an estate agent. Will small business voters think carefully about why Matthews Yard owner Saif Bonar is backing Labour? Can voters angry over a lot of issues with the Labour Council put that aside in order to stop the re-election of Barwell and send a message to the Tories: not more austerity; now more cuts to living standards; no more inadequate funding of the NHS, etc?

See the bar chart of the  result at the last General Election at

Ian Marvin discusses Croydon’s Take Back Control Conference

I was at the event helping to run the Croydon Assembly stall, but not able to attend any of the debating sessions. The next chance for discussion is at the re-scheduled Croydon Assembly meeting on Saturday 24 June at Ruskin House.

Croydon Mental Health Service cuts threatened

Dealing with Rubbish

Environmental activist Charles Barber discusses the issues considered at the recent Croydon Communities Consortium meeting.

Will Brent Cross get planning permission before the Whitgift?

Developer Hammerson and Standard Life have submitted detailed plans for the £1.4bn redevelopment of Brent Cross shopping centre in north-west London.

Hammerson has also submitted plans in Leicester.

The revised plans for the Whitgift will now be considered by the Planning Committee on 14 June (see above).

Taberner House plans get approval

For the Council’s spin on the approval of the scheme that breaches the mid-Croydon masterplan see

Upper Norwood Victorian Hotel under threat

A planning permission has been submitted to the Council to demolish Upper Norwood’s existing hotel and build a new one.

Its history is outlined at:

Cllr Jamie Audsley cranks up London Living Wage Campaign

Labour Councillor Jamie Audsley is championing the Council campaign to encourage Good Employers.

The Council has launched #GoodEmployer an approach to doing responsible business.

Its Good Employer Charter calls upon employers to take action in four areas: pay, employ, buy, and include.

  • Pay the London Living Wage, a non-statutory hourly rate set independently and updated annually by the Living Wage Foundation to reflect the cost of living in the capital. Currently this stands at £9.75 an hour.
  • Employ: Employers are asked to create employment and training opportunities for local people by working with Croydon Works, the council’s jobs brokerage service that provides a free to use recruitment service to link employers to high quality, job-ready potential employees from within the borough.
  • Buy: support the local economy by investing in the local supply chain and local businesses. Organisations will be able to use the council to promote procurement and supply chain opportunities to the town via the Value Croydon approach.
  • Include: Employers are being asked to sign up to embrace the principles of equality and fairness and implement this practically through approaches such as flexible working and disability access.

Councillor  Audsley has written in more detail about it at

If there are employers you’re connected to who you think would be up for joining, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Jamie tells me that Boxpark has just been accredited as a London Living Wage employer of its direct  and contracted staff. This does not include the workers in within Boxpark who are working for other employers.

Croydon Trades Union Council has been arguing for a couple of years that the Croydon Partnership of Westfield and Hammerson should make it a requirement of all new tenants in the redeveloped Whitgift Centre to pay the London Living Wage and recognise trade unions.

The Other Croydon

  • High-rate child deaths

*       Bad drivers

  • Crime

  • Bad businesses

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Caribbean Conversations on Notts TV

Carib_Conv_P2 (1)

Press Release

Museumand, the National Caribbean Heritage Museum, is bringing exhibitions to life with their new, cultural 8-part TV series, merging museum content with television.

Caribbean Conversations explores 8 different aspects of Caribbean Culture. Catherine Ross, the Museum’s Founder-Director, hosts the conversations and is joined by 4 guests from the Caribbean or of Caribbean descent. In each episode, they will be having an informal, candid chat about different aspects of Caribbean culture, so viewers should be prepared to interact with the on-screen fun in true Caribbean style – laugh, cry and burst into song. Viewers will celebrate and commemorate Caribbean culture in a way they simply won’t get to see anywhere else.


Museumand is always looking to tell the Caribbean story, and aims to collect the memories and memorabilia from the Caribbean and the UK in any form – clothing, photos, ephemera, books, furniture and the like. During the TV Series, guests were encouraged to bring their items to add to the museum’s collection so as to sum up, and illustrate, the topic of conversation for that episode, as well as retrieve memories, anecdotes and stories.  Different ones will be on display and discussed in each episode, and the conversation could go in any number of wonderfully memorable directions, so be prepared for anything.

Viewers are invited to contact the museum should they want to tell their story or donate items for discussion. To be a part of the conversation and have your say on each topic, just log on to our website for ‘Caribbean Conversations Take 2’, where we will continue to discuss this topic.

Viewers can join us each week, same place, same time – Mondays at 4 PM on Notts TV, Channel 117 for 8 weeks of Caribbean Conversations.

For more information please contact:

Lynda Burrell: 0746 918 9550 |
Website: | Facebook: Museumand | Instagram: Museumand | Twitter: Museumand

Add to the conversation on social media by tagging #caribbeanconversations and #culturalconversations


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South-West London history talks & walks

Monday 22 May. 2.30pm. Vauxhall Gardens history walk


David Coke, co-author with Alan Borg of Vauxhall Gardens: A History, will lead ‘The Heyday of Vauxhall Gardens’, a Vauxhall Society guided walk, on Monday 22 May. The walk marks the traditional seasonal opening date of this world-famous open-air attraction.

Meet a bit earlier than 2.30pm  outside Starbucks, Vauxhall Station.

All welcome, contribution of £5 to The Friends of the Tate South Lambeth Library welcomed.

Saturday 27 May – Sunday 11 June.  

Wandsworth Heritage Festival

This year’s festival features talks, walks, workshops, and exhibitions celebrating the heritage of our borough. Many events highlight Wandsworth’s rich industrial past, covering topics such as the railway and how it came to transform and define the borough and its occupants; the marks left by industry on the landscape and the river; and the fate of industrial sites and buildings no longer in use.

The full programme can be seen here:


Events include:

Saturday 27 May. 2pm. Battersea High Street Historical Walk

I will be leading this walk for Battersea Society. Meet on the steps of St Mary’s Church. Battersea Church Road, SW11 3EN.

Tuesday 30 May. 8pm. Battersea Nocturne

Jon Newman will lead this walk among today’s ‘landmark’ buildings of
Battersea’s riverside, looking for evidence of earlier industrial landmarks which
dominate James Whistler’s paintings and etchings from the 1870s and 1880s.

Meet beside Whistler statue, north side of Battersea Bridge SW3
£8 (includes pamphlet: ‘James Whistler’s Battersea’)

Please book your place:

Wednesday  31 May. 6pm.  Boom Time – The Social Impact of the Industrial Revolution in Wandsworth and Battersea  

Battersea  Arts Centre Town Hall Talk. FREE but early booking is advised as space is limited.

Thursday 1 June. 7.15pm. The Wandsworth Area as 18th Century Powerhouse

The Wandsworth area was an economic and political powerhouse during the long 18th Century.  In this talk I will examine aspects of this, including the Huguenots, the networks, the Clapham Sect and the Pitt Government.

Wandsworth Town Library, 11 Garratt Lane SW18 4AQ.

Free. No booking required.

Saturday 3 & Sunday 4 June. 10am-5pm (closed 1-2pm). Exhibition Wandsworth Prison Museum

The newly re-opened museum has displays on the prison’s 166-year history & some of its famous residents.

Free. No booking required.

North Gate Car Park, Heathfield Road, SW18 3HR

Saturday 3 June. 2pm. Tooting Common Walk

Led by Janet Smith & Tooting History Group

Meet at the corner of Tooting Bec Road/Dr Johnson Avenue.

£6 – proceeds to THG. To book in advance go to

Monday 5 June. 7pm. Industries of Wandsworth, Battersea & Putney

Dorian Gerhold examines the borough’s varied industries from medieval times to the present.

Putney Society event at Community Church, Werter Road, SW15 2LL

£3. Pay on the door. No booking required.

Monday 5 June. 8pm. Bygone Streatham. A Lost Corner of Wandsworth

Talk by John Brown for Streatham Society.

Woodlawns, 16 Leigham Court Road SW16 2JP

Thursday 8 June . 7 for 7.30pm. Living Between the Lines.
How the railways shaped Battersea

Find out why Wandsworth Common is one of the most dissected pieces of open space in London, or why three sets of railway lines converge at Queenstown Road. Talk by Dr Sue Demont’s talk on how the railways transformed the Borough.

Battersea Society, St Mary’s Church, £5 on the door (includes glass of wine or soft drink)

Other Events and News

Sunday 18 June. 2-4pm. The War Comes Home

A new project aimed at raising awareness of the Civilian War Memorial in Christchurch Gardens, Cabul Road, Battersea, is being launched with a 1940s-themed tea-party on  event, organised with the help of the Battersea Society and other local groups. Opportunity for people to share their own or their family’s memories of living through the Blitz in Battersea. There will also be a quiz, a singsong and a selection of typical wartime food.

The Grade-II listed memorial commemorates around 500 local civilians who lost their lives in WW2.

Book your free ticket through by emailing

Friday 30 June. 8pm. Wandsworth Historical Society AGM and Talk on Putney Debates

The talk will be by Dorian Gerhold.

Friends’ Meeting House, Wandsworth High St.

Tooting Common Heritage Project seeks extra volunteers

The Project is looking for volunteers to continue doing research on the history of Tooting Common.  For more information and to volunteer, please contact Susanna Kryuchenkova at

Lambeth Local History Forum walks 2017-2018

The new leaflet has just been published and you can download your PDF copy here.


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