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