This new project, which I started under the auspices of the 100 year anniversary of the completion of the Corbett Estate (the 3000 Victorian houses that were built by Archibald Corbett from 1895-1913, in Catford, south east London) has become an exploration of a local area through the people who live here. Its aims are to find out about the heart of the community and the way that members of this community can and do make a positive difference to how we live together.
It’s in the early stages as I photograph people within Catford and if I wanted to find a single line to describe this project it would be a question more than a statement, What is local community and why is it important?
Elisabeth Blanchet is a photographer who has set up a museum in an existing ‘prefab’ house on the Excalibur Estate in Catford, South East London. It is a gallery and tea room dedicated to preserving the history of prefabricated housing in the UK. The Excalibur Estate was built by German and Italian POWs after the second world war as a temporary solution to the housing crisis caused by the Blitz. Despite the strong community spirit fostered over the years and the historical nature of this estate, most of the housing has been earmarked for redevelopment.
Julia Burke is a community activist for both The Archibald Corbett Society and the Corbett Residents Association. She is heavily involved in local issues and has lived in the Corbett Estate in Catford for over 20 years.
Ricky Boyce has lived in the Corbett Estate, in Catford for nearly 15 years. His trade as a plumber takes him all over Catford and beyond. He volunteered his time to take part in the launch of the Corbett Portraits Competition, a photography prize that rewards the best portraits taken of anyone who lives and works in the Corbett Estate.