The Wornington Word: A People’s History, Part 2

Last month, we introduced you to Natasha: founder of the oral history project “The Wornington Word”. Check out the first part in our three part series here to read about how Natasha was inspired by Wornington Green and the people living around her.

If you’re already up to date with Natasha’s last post, read on to learn about what happened next in her journey to establish The Wornington Word.

Over to Natasha!

I was scared. We, at Renegade Theatre, had worked hard on our Heritage Lottery Fund application and now we had got it! We could go ahead with The People’s History of Wornington Green and celebrate the people and spaces of our W10 estate before the developers turned it into Portobello Square. But I had never run an oral history project of this magnitude before. So, I figured why not start with a party!

In February 2019, in the hall of the oldest adventure playground in the UK, Venture Centre, Glissando took their places behind their steel drums. Babajani got set to hand out delicious falafel, and wine and rum waited to be poured into paper cups. But would anybody respond to our flyers and come?

The first visitors arrived. I was so happy to see Leslie Palmer – one of the founders of the Notting Hill Carnival. And suddenly the hall was full of people looking at the black and white photos of Venture and Golborne Rd we’d put up. Did they recognize themselves in those faces staring back at them from yesteryear? Leslie spoke to the room about how Venture ‘represented the beauty of living together, black and white, as a community.’ The paper cups started flowing with wine. Adam Ritchie reminded us of his fight with the council to create play spaces under the Westway in the late 1960s. Other voices joined in to encourage the struggle for equality. We got off to a good start.

Grace Zipki, Wornington Green

With the effort of an amazing team, hundreds of local people came together in our many workshops and oral history interviews. And in those interviews the history of our estate, at the furthest end of Portobello, came to life. Grace Zipki talked about putting her pound notes in a bottle ready for the milk man to collect. Kirit Patel spoke about how his newsagent was where kids went if they were in trouble. Sister and brother, Latifa and Rachid, celebrated the unique design of the estate, describing the walkways that once connected the whole estate and how they loved climbing across rooftops!

We soon realized that the original plan, to make a short film, was never going to do this culturally rich estate justice.  So we worked with local filmmaker, Constantine Gras, to make a feature length film. Then, just as we were starting to make plans for its screening and an end of project party, the Covid-19 pandemic hit and we had a lock down.

So what happens now?

Thank you so much to Natasha for telling us more about her fantastic project. For more info, check out the Wornington Word’s website. Our third and final blog post about The Wornington Word will be out next month – do subscribe so you don’t miss it!

We just have to mention, the fantastic photo of Grace above, was taken by Wornington Green resident, Kevin Percival – and Kevin has been announced as a Portait of Britain winner. 



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