Ian and Sally, South Norwood Victory Club (South Drawood exhibition)
- Year Invented: 2018
South Norwood Victory Club was founded in 1920. After World War One, a group of ex-servicemen came together to found a branch of the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers, renting a room one evening a week to meet in. The proposition of a permanent residence came up and they finally managed to take over Park House, 227 Selhurst Road which had been unoccupied since 1917. The club didn’t officially open until 1921, celebrating the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo due to the restoration which was needed on the building. The club has been in operation ever since, running bingo nights, live music and other social events. The club moved from the Royal British Legion to the Club and Institute Union around 10 years ago.
Ian has been working at the club for over 28 years. His father was involved in the club, and Ian and his brother would often accompany his parents there, saying his mother also loved to go to play bingo. He started collecting glasses at the club at 18, then went to university to study aerospace engineering, but at 21 the opportunity came up for him to become assistant steward. By the time he was 30 he was in the position of steward and hasn’t looked back since. Sally says he is a great boss to have. She has lived in Croydon her whole life, calling herself ‘a proper Croydonite’ and says she misspent her youth in every pub in South Norwood. She now loves working at the Victory Club seeing them as her family. Neither of them want to see prices rising and people being pushed out of the area. With both having such deep connections to South Norwood, they would love to see the area cleaned up a little, but wouldn’t want a drastic change.
Words by Elizabeth Walters
Interview with Ian and Sally, Manager and Server at South Norwood Victory Club, April 2022
South Norwood Victory Club
227 Selhurst Road, SE25 6XY
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.