£30,000 Grant for Walworth Heritage Project
Historic England has awarded a £30,000 grant to the Walworth Society to kickstart a two-year project to research and create Walworth Stories, a collection of written histories of culturally diverse communities in Walworth, South London over the last 200 years.
Walworth grew rapidly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and became home to many people settling in London from overseas. This new research will explore the communities that contributed to the development of Walworth as we know it today.
From Schwär & Co at 250 Walworth Road, established in 1838 by humble German clockmakers who sent their sons to sell clocks made in the farmhouses of the Black Forest, to Sir John Soane’s magnificent Grade I-listed St Peter’s church where the pioneering Rector John Horsley carried out important social work in the 1890s, Walworth Stories will engage the local community with the rich social history of the area and its links to buildings and other well-known local landmarks on the map.
Southwark Council has committed £6,450 towards the project as part of the Walworth Heritage Action Zone as its works to both uncover the past and invest in the future of the area.
The funding will support two part-time Walworth Society researchers to delve into archives and explore the rich history of migration and the lasting contribution it has made to the character and culture of the area. There will be research opportunities for local volunteers, as well as talks and events to share the history of the area that is uncovered.
The movement of people to and from England through time has shaped who we are and the architectural makeup of our streets. By exploring and drawing together the connections between people and place we hope Walworth Stories will enrich people’s understanding of the area’s history and celebrate the diverse communities which have influenced the development of this fascinating part of South London.
We could not be more pleased that Historic England has chosen to support this project. For the past few years, the society has held a number of History Festivals and other events that have helped us to begin to tell the story of this remarkable but overlooked part of South London. We are sure that there are a huge number of untold stories waiting to be unearthed and, with the help of Historic England, we cannot wait to bring them to life and share them more widely with people in Walworth, London and further afield.
We are delighted that the Walworth Society will be able to advance their excellent Walworth Stories project with help from Historic England’s generous grant funding. Walworth High Street is a local gem, with a wealth of personal and shared histories. It is also a diverse and busy local hub, bursting with local enterprise and a genuine feeling of community. We are happy to add to this funding, and continue our work with the Walworth Society, alongside our capital investment in Walworth’s historic high street and our Walworth Heritage Action Zone initiative.
The project builds on work already undertaken by Southwark historians Neil Crossfield on Italian descendants and influence in the area and Diana Cochrane on the architectural history of the high street. It is part of the Walworth Heritage Action Zone, developed by Historic England in conjunction with Southwark Council as a way to better connect people living near the Walworth Road with the history of their high street.
Historic England will help provide the Walworth Society with research and publication expertise, with the hope that the stories can be developed into a book at a later date along with online resources that everyone will have free access to. This capacity building grant aims to help build the research skills within the society and amongst local people, and create a legacy of useful historic material with a strong social perspective which will be archived at the Southwark local history library.