Estates of Memory: Prefab Museum – Excalibur Estate


The Excalibur Estate in Catford is one of the last Prefab Estates in London, currently facing demolition by Lewisham Council in its continuous drive for ‘regeneration’. Even though there is a campaign by its residents to save their homes, families, rights, identity and memory, it is a struggle that is rarely reported by the media.

When the Prefab Museum opened in the Estate, it was proving to be more popular than expected, so much so that it was ‘sabotaged’ by someone who had keys to the property resulting in a fire that forced it to close. Furthermore, when they applied to get their Estate listed, only six homes were accredited with a Grade II listing, leaving the rest to face ‘regeneration’. The way the community have been treated, lead one Excalibur residents to conclude that ‘the Heritage of the Working Class is not important to them.’

Sadly, 25% of the Excalibur estate has now been demolished with more being boarded up week by week. Visitors will be able to see the last remaining Prefabs on Persant Road, hear from the residents on how they have been treated by the various protagonists, join walks through the Estate, see an exhibition at St Marks Church Hall and watch short films made by Elisabeth Blanchett and Lucia Tambini on the battle the residents faced for their rights, homes and identity.

Photo: Jim Blackender in front of his prefab on the Excalibur Estate, 2009 / Copyright Elisabeth Blanchet

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Old Tidemill and Crossfields Estate


Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden is a collaboratively run community space in Deptford. Local residents manage and maintain this unique and mature green space that it is free and open to all. The community rediscovered the garden after the old school closed down and it is now shared as a “common resource”. Despite the sites uncertain future due to its proposed development, the community want to ensure it is saved and enjoyed as a public space for the people of Deptford, now and in the future.

Family Mosaic and Sherry Green Homes want to demolish social housing, replace the informal creative hub of Old Tidemill School and build over the entire Wildlife Garden, a unique and mature haven, for people and wildlife alike in Deptford. Replacing it with 210 dwellings, 176 of which are for private rental with a small communal grass lawn and sanitized play spaces. This development will not benefit the local community and will remove a vital green space in an area of local deficiency.

We want the appointed developers to go back to the drawing board and change their plans in line with what the community really needs, which is access to quality public open space and affordable housing that reflects real living wages. To do this we must convince the council planning department to reconsider the developers proposals and instead, take on board the communities views.