Valerie, The Albion (South Drawood exhibition)
- Year Invented: 2018
Valerie has been the manager of the Albion pub for two and a half years. Prior to this she worked at the Jolly Sailor, with a strong background in hospitality, also having worked at the Harvester on Beulah Hill while her children were little. She also was a bus driver for 11 years for Transport for London, and knows the 417 route like the back of her hand.
Valerie enjoys pub life as every day is different and she meets so many diverse people. The Albion is situated on South Norwood Highstreet and has many faithful regulars although Valerie is always happy to welcome new punters. The pub boasts a small garden to relax in the summer and they often screen sport inside, so fans of football, rugby, cricket, snooker and golf will not be disappointed!
Considering Valerie has spent so much time working in the hospitality sector of Norwood she is keen to see regeneration. Like so many others she notes that the empty shops going to waste and she remembers a time when all shops used to be open. She misses having a pound shop on the high street and would like to see more clothes shops and restaurants in the area.
Words by Elizabeth Walters
Interview with Valerie, Manager of The Albion, December 2021
26 High Street, SE25 6HA
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.