Chris Peskett and Chris Claridge, People for Portland Road (South Drawood exhibition)
- Year Invented: 2018
People for Portland Road was established around 15 years ago, and Chris Peskett has been a member for the last 13 years. The People for Portland Road are keen to help redevelop the area. They are responsible for the installation of the planters at Norwood Junction station and volunteers maintain their upkeep all year round. They also introduced the Portland Road community garden by Enmore road in 2016. You can look out for plaques on various buildings around South Norwood which make up the People for Portland Road heritage trial which makes a fun and local family activity. Their most recent project is trying to plant 16 trees in the southern end of Portland Road with trees donated by Trees for Streets.
Chris P is one of the well-known residents of South Norwood. Her maiden name (Kennedy) is famous on the high street, with Kennedy Butchers once belonging to her father. Both Chris and her brother worked in the sausage factory when they were younger, and she spent many holidays linking sausages and making sausage rolls. Chris not only volunteers with People for Portland Road, but also WeLoveSE25, Friends of South Norwood Country Park and has also volunteered at the Croydon branch of the Cat’s Protection. Every morning she starts her day with a walk to the country park where she fills the bird feeders and picks up litter. The country park is her favourite part of South Norwood but she also notes how friendly the people in the area are. In the coming years Chris would like to see more facilities for young families, as well the empty shops on the high street in use and cleaner streets.
Words by Elizabeth Walters
Interview with Chris Peskett, Secretary and Treasurer for People for Portland Road, April 2022
People for Portland Road
This project was part of the South Drawood exhibition in 2022 by artist Jonny Kemp. A community art project celebrating the people of South Norwood, SE25.
From autumn of 2021 to summer 2022, Jonny drew 40 portraits of independent business owners, volunteers, and other movers and shakers from South Norwood, his local area. His partner Lizzie interviewed them.
South Norwood is regenerating yet doesn’t want to gentrify: it wants to keep its character and support people who already live in the area to prosper. This was Jonny and Lizzie’s way of ‘giving South Norwood a hug’: by representing the diverse people of SE25 through portraits in fine liner pen, and their own stories.
The portraits were displayed in Stanley Arts, a beautiful Edwardian arts venue on South Norwood Hill. Over 150 people attended the opening night: Friday 29th July 2022.