The Death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu
One of the saddest events over the last two weeks has been the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He supported an anti-racist demonstration in Norbury Park in 1993. Croydon based anti-racist campaigner Marc Wadsworth tells me:
‘It was awesome that the great Archbishop Desmond Tutu agreed to my request, when he was in London, that he should give his support to an Anti-Racist Alliance demo I organised there in 1993 and stand side by side with Doreen and Neville Lawrence. At the time, no British politician or faith leader would do that for the families of murdered Black teenager Stephen Lawrence and an Afghan student Ruhullah Aramesh, who was also killed by racist thugs in Green Lane, Norbury, at the time.’
On 15 December Marc was awarded a Labour Heroes Award by those campaigning against the suspensions and expulsions of members from the Labour Party. The video of the Labour Grassroots event can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BIlJSSK38g. Marc speaks at 2h 12m 11s.
Meetings And Events
Meetings and events are restarting subject to the current COVID rules. Bernard Winchester’s monthly Diary is always helpful. Ruskin House’s Club has been open since Tuesday from 7pm. The Folk Clubs are back from Sunday the 9th and Monday the 10th January, assuming that there are no new Government restrictions by then. Matthews Yard continues to operate and is crowd funding for money to make further improvements: https://payitforward.london.gov.uk/p/matthewsyard.
There will be a series of care activities this and next month open to the public at The Wilderness and on 12 January Croydon Community Consortium is holding a Zoom meeting for Council tenants and leaseholders on Council housing. It is not certain whether the Planners meeting with Residents Associations will be switched to on-line.
Surrey Meet Up group is having a Zoom talk on 10 January on The Wandle’s Calico People
Val Shawcross, mayoral candidate for the Labour Party in Croydon is due to chair an eventbrite meeting of the Croydon Living Streets Group on 24 January entitled “Change is Here”. Contact the group if you would like to participate
Ruskin House Events
FOLK & BLUES £3 at 8pm in Cedar Hall every Sun: See also folkandblues.org.
9th – Singers’ Night
16th – Mike Artes & Jimmy Lin and Singers’ Night
23rd – Singers’ Night
30th – Dave Marshall and Singers’ Night
FOLK CLUB 7.30 for 8pm in Cedar Hall every Mon. See also croydonfolkclub.org.uk.
10th Singers and Musicians Night £3
24th Singers and Musicians Night £3
Fri 21st DON STUART QUARTET (ne Soft Winds)from8pm. Free. A relaxed evening of jazz standards, Latin, ballads & be-bop on guitar, bass, drums and an array of wind instruments.
Folk Club – February-April
Feb 7th Singers and Musicians Night £3
21st Singers and Musicians Night £3
Mar 7th Singers and Musicians Night £3
21st Singers and Musicians Night £3
Apr 4th Singers and Musicians Night £3
18th Easter closed
Croydon starts the year with the Private Eye Rotten Boroughs Award 2021 to Jo Negrini, former Chief Executive now working for Arup. Politically Croydon has been in quiet mode over the last two weeks. The Committee cycle begins again on 12 January with the Traffic Management Advisory Committee considering the cycle safety schemes for part of London Rd and the High St, the Planning and General Purposes & Audit Committees and Planning Sub-committee on 13 January. The Cabinet meets again on 24 January. The audited accounts for Brick by Brick for 2020-21 submitted to Companies House just before Christmas raise doubts about whether the crisis has been properly represented, but it will take an experienced auditor to assess that.
Croydon Council is desperate to ensure that pots of money received from the Government reach eligible poorer households up to the end of March 2022:
- £3m through schools to provide vouchers for food hampers to families with children in receipt of free school meals and to take part in Holiday Activity and Food Clubs.
- £307,000 is towards food and fuel for vulnerable households in emergency or temporary accommodation, council homes, those who are at risk of homelessness, and rough sleepers over the winter.
- Further funding will be allocated on a discretionary basis to support other vulnerable residents, including older people, care leavers, and families experiencing domestic abuse and other hardship.
Full details of the line application process of residents can be seen at
We already know that black children in Croydon are particularly affected by poverty. Research by the Labour Party suggests that over half of UK black children are in poverty. (The Guardian. 3 January). Is the situation in Croydon the same, worse or better. We should expect that the Council Equalities Unit should produce a report on this issue.
Helping Croydon’s Hospitality Sector
Croydon pubs, clubs, restaurants and entertainment venues are to receive further funding to protect local jobs. Venues that provide workspace opportunities will also be eligible for extra support.
The funding is part of the £2.67m top-up grant the Council received from the Government to support local businesses.
The Riots, The Portas Review And Boris’s £23m
Concerns about Croydon have been flagged up on the internet with a review of the riots 10 years. The Daily Mail review of what happened with the Portas Review of high streets initiatives reminds us that when he was Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced a £23million fund to help redevelop Croydon. This raises questions about how it was spent?
CAMRA’s What Pub guide website reports the demolition of the Ye Old Clocktower pub without planning permission which raises questions about the ability of the Council to ensure its planning policies to protect pub buildings.
The Planners have rejected two high rise blocks proposals in Purley. Is this the beginning of sanity?
The Christmas/New Year period saw a massive improvement works programme on the railway line between Victoria and Croydon. Hopefully this will lead to fewer signal failure incidents in the future.
The Croydonist’s December postings inc. Part 1 of Green Walks and Ciarans’s Dance Designs decorated lampshades. www.croydonist.co.uk
Darcus Howe Commemorated
Darcus Howe, the former anti-racist campaigner and broadcaster and Pollards Hill resident in his final years, has been commemorated in Brixton with a Nubian Jack plaque unveiled on 4 January. A video of the event is at
Speakers included his widow Leila Howe. Several of those who attended were interviewed including his daughter. Among those who attended was Croydon Labour Councillor Patsy Cummings.