Brockwell Park I knew of, mainly because I’ve passed it on the way to Dulwich (and as the setting for the crime thriller by Mo Hayder entitled The Treatment (2001, Bantam)) though I’d never walked around it. Yet I only live in Clapham, just up the road really. So this is a real omission on my part. It’s one hundred and twenty-five acres of green open space, including an early nineteenth century Hall, an art deco Lido, English walled garden and other facilities, many for children and families. I’ll be finding out about it soon enough, at the 2018 Lambeth Country Show on 21st and 22nd July.
The Show, which started in 1974, regularly attracts up to 150,000 people over one weekend. When you look at the line-up you can see why. Items which I am going to try and see, once the Clapham Book Festival stints are done, include the Royal Horticultural Society tent, the Royal Astronomical Society display, Guerilla Science – your local Intergalactic Travel Bureau, a planetarium, a cavalry demonstration and a birds of prey demonstration. And I’ve not even got to the music yet. There’s everything from flamenco (which I’ll be looking out for) jazz, choral, dub and reggae on a number of stages on both days. There’s some music from headliners Cymande below (now some of that takes me back).
The Show is also famous for celebrating traditional countryside pursuits in the city, with its city farm, agricultural displays, horticulture competitions (eight flower and vegetable show categories), animal displays and competitions (46 livestock categories) and the often wittily political vegetable sculpture competition. Expect plenty of Trumps and not a few Brexiteers this year, given Lambeth’s percentage of remainers. There are also lots of sporting competitions for children and adults as well as set displays in the Main Arena. In short, plenty for everyone. Take a look at the photo albums on Flickr.
The Clapham Book Festival sessions run from 1 until 3 on Saturday – Thriller in the Park running for the first hour then, after a fifteen minute break, an added half an hour on Place and the Writer, with Trustees Elizabeth Buchan and Julie Anderson talking about Clapham as a focal point for writers throughout the ages. Sunday’s session The History Girls is from 1.15 to 2.15. Here’s hoping that we get plenty of folk into the tent and we sell lots of books as well as raising the profile of the festival itself. One of the learning points from out 2018 Post-Festival Evaluation was that we should reach out to the population beyond Clapham and we’ll certainly be doing that at the Lambeth Country Show.
But we’re not the only literary contributors. There are poets with the Chocolate Poetry Club in the late afternoon on Saturday and Sunday, for readers, writers and lovers of chocolate, followed by Poetic Unity master classes. We are also not the only book stall, with Diversity Books, for children, in the Arts and Culture zone.
If you’re in London on the weekend of 21st and 22nd July, come along and join us at the Lambeth Country Show. Gates open at noon. It’s FREE.