What to expect at the Carnival of Invention

Celebrate the everyday inventions and creativity of South Norwood with  a family-friendly all-day takeover of Station Road on Sunday 10 September. 

We’re closing Station Road for the day so that local businesses, community groups and artists  can come together to celebrate the spirit of invention and the diversity of South Norwood’s heritage.

The day will celebrate the lives of local people and the integral role the high street plays in their daily lives as a home of creativity and everyday invention.

Taking inspiration from the theme of ‘invention’ in all its forms – from music to machines, go cart racing, culinary feasts, stories – Carnival of Invention invites people to bring their imaginations, big ideas, skills and talents to create something new.

Here’s what you can expect from on the day. Just make sure to bring your imaginations!

Interactive activities from 11am – 3pm.

William Stanley’s Inventions with local craftsman Henry Lelen

Book here. Limited capacity. Booking required*

Want to see inside a current day inventor’s studio and learn about crafting and making? Henry Lelen will be opening his workshop off of Station Rd for a small number of people to experience. Take part in demonstrations and simple reconstructions of William Stanley’s patented inventions including the lemon squeezer, and see examples of Henry’s own work.

Walking Tour with Local Historian John Hickman:*

Book here.  Limited capacity. Booking required.

Learn about famous local and historic people and places as you explore the area with historian John Hickman. The easy-going walking tour will take you along the high street and highlight hidden stories from our Heritage Action Zone.

Superhero Badge Making with comic creator Martin Eden

Make and take away badges of your favourite superhero – imaginary or real – to wear as a badge of honour.

Mosaic Making with artist Kes Young

What do you love about South Norwood? What’s your most beautiful vision of the future of this place? Make and take away your own mosaic that paints your unique picture.

Make a Bug Hotel with Cecily Loveys Jervoise

Bugs and insects, from woodlice to bumble bees are vital for our ecosystem and they need safe, warm places to shelter, hibernate and lay their eggs. Come along to this drop-in workshop to make and decorate your very own bug hotel using natural and recycled materials.

Build a Nature-Sculpture with artist Mandy Lawson

Make a growing plant sculpture from recycled wire coathangers. Bring your coathangers!


Paint the Streets with artist Amina Malik

Join Amina Malik in painting the surface of Station Road ready in time for our Go Cart Race! 


Litter Picking & Eco Art with Norwood JunKAction – Book here*

Take part in a litter picking session 11.30am – 12.30pm and creative workshops to make sculptures and outfits made of junk. Join in a tour of South Norwood to learn about the hot spots where litter picking takes place and visit local litter-public sculptures. Hear inspiring stories and anecdotes about the impact of litter pickers in keeping our streets clean. We’ll provide you with a complete litter picking kit.

Face Painting with Next in Line Face Painting

Re-invent yourself with colourful and creative face-painting. From flowers to rainbows, dragons to tigers, the list is endless. There is something for everyone.

Pineapple-Powered Cars & Armstrong Challenge with The Bureau of Silly Ideas

What will power our cities, cars, factories, of the future? Coal? We say NO! Oil? We say NO! Pineapples? We say ‘PINEAPPLES?! Let’s give it a go!’  Over a century ago, William Armstrong challenged us to find new ways to power the modern world. He pioneered new ways of using water to generate electricity for his house (he also made weaponry, though we’re not going to do that…). Now, one hundred years later, the Bureau of Silly Ideas are taking up this challenge – with fruit! But we need your help! How many lemons does it take to turn on a lightbulb? You show us!  Help us change the world, one berry at a time. Will you take up the challenge?

Poetry Takeaways

A diverse group of talented local Poet Chefs will provide high quality personalised poetry for guests and visitors, written, performed and delivered free, all from their mobile Poetry Emporium, The Poetry Takeaway. 

Community Feast

1 – 2pm. Limited capacity. Booking required*

A centre-piece of the Carnival will be a feast provided for 100 people sat at long tables down the middle of Station Road.

A fully plant-based and refreshing Turkmenistan feast will be provided by Communitea Cafe and “Yaba’s Juice” by South Norwood Community Kitchen. The resident chef Guncha Bereket  is passionate about food and loves singing and dancing. During the feast she will also play a traditional instrument called dutar which is made from Mulberry wood and has two strings.

Everyone is invited to bring their own food and picnics and sit together in the street for a collective community feast.

Go Cart Race:

3 – 4.30pm.

Closing the day with a bang will be our very own Go Cart Race for everyone to cheer on. 6 teams will have made their carts prior to the day with designer Oliver Thornton and local artist Ella Yarde and they will take part in point-to-point and circuit races down Station Rd. Prizes will be awarded for Speed, Flair and Showmanship, Best Costume, Best Cart Design, and Most Enthusiastic Team Support!

Want to get involved in the go-cart race or know someone who does? Find out more here.


‘Revenge of the Norwood Builder’ by Croydon Cycle Theatre*

Book here. Limited capacity, booking essential. 

Can you and your family think like detectives? Can you unpick a dastardly murder, and investigate who dunnit against the clock?  A classic Sherlock Holmes mystery has resurfaced in South Norwood Library – written when Arthur Conan Doyle was a local resident at Tennison Road.  But this time someone is leaving strange new clues and hints. Who are they? What do they want?! We need YOU to help solve the mystery!  This event is suitable for families and 6+. 

Frank Chickens

Frank Chickens, a legendary Japanese punk pop performance group with a cult following in the UK, were founded in London in 1982 as a duo with Kazuko Hohki and Kazumi Taguchi, but the group has now expanded to more than 20 members. Frank Chickens will perform a song inspired by Norwood Junk Action in a costume made of junk.

Samba Reggae and Hip Hop with Pengenista Drummers

Pengenista drummers, based in South Norwood are a community Samba Reggae band.  They believe in the power of music and specifically drumming for us brings us together as one. The Pengenista Drummers will open and close the Go Cart Race.

Cherry Stars 

Young performers from Cherry Stars will bring songs from their latest performances.

Jean Genie Hayes Massive Hugs

 Jean Genies Hayes will be performing pieces that celebrate Samuel Coleridge Taylor during the Community Feast.

See you on Sunday 10 September at Station Road!

family building a scarecrow from junk a woman painting a child's face with face paint van which gives out poems a woman in traditional dress performing young children performing Jean Genie performing on stage
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