Waterloo Lives!

Published by Giles Goddard on Fri, 21 Sep 2018 08:49
Vicar's Blog

Anyone who lives or works in Waterloo can feel the pace of change quicken; the area is awash with developers, planners and new businesses moving into what is one of central London’s most vibrant locations. St John’s is no exception, of course. Our development plans proceed apace, the annual Waterloo Festival grows every year and our much-loved churchyard is being transformed by our first dedicated gardener.  

So it feels like a good time to pause and take stock of how the neighbourhood of Waterloo has developed over the centuries and explore the different historical events that have shaped and moulded it.

Over the past few months, the team at St John’s has been putting its collective head together with like-minded folk at Morley College, Coin Street Community Builders and Lambeth & Southwark Archaeological Society. We’ve had a whale of a time digging into old parish archives and maps, putting together historical panels and timelines and asking the question: where has Waterloo come from – and where is it going?

What has emerged is a unique pop-up exhibition, Waterloo Lives! open to all over Friday September 28th– 30th(see link for opening hours). Visitors will be able to explore the history of Waterloo from the 1680s to the present day. Did you know Waterloo was the site for England’s first circus? Or that during the Blitz, church services at St John’s Waterloo continued in the open-air? 

As well as artefacts, maps and images, there will be two key events not to be missed. On Sunday at 2pm theatre company Creative Curve will perform an “Immersive Blitz” experience, featuring air-raid sirens (less scary than it sounds!). And on Friday at 1pm and Sunday at 2.30pm, Elaine Andrews of Morley College will give a talk on “Waterloo, Morley and the Blitz”. 

So before we all plunge into the headlong, Autumnal rush towards Christmas, let’s take a moment to catch our breath. I hope to see you at this exhibition, which puts fast-changing Waterloo in its wider historical context. Life in a demanding metropolis isn’t always a piece of cake. But seeing the bigger picture, and appreciating how far we have come, often makes where we’ve arrived at so much more precious. 




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