Anyone who reads my blog will be quite clear that I absolutely adore living in Herne Hill. For Matt and me, it really manages to combine everything we are looking for in a home – and keeps us committed to remaining in the capital for the foreseeable future. It’s central and convenient for all the vivid life and culture of London, but is green, quiet and has such a strong community feel. Our children can spend their weekends exploring galleries or woodlands, museums or parks, theatres or playgrounds. I love the increasing number of local initiatives, like the wonderful Sunday market, the community greenhouses in Brockwell Park and the lovely family gifting scheme I talked about last week.
But I can’t write a blog about life in Herne Hill without mentioning some of the issues facing the community at the moment. I’ve been so sad recently to see some of our local treasures under threat. We campaigned back in October to save the Ruskin Park paddling pool which was set to close due to Lambeth funding cuts. Here are Alex and Sophie carefully making signs so they could take part in the protest last year.
Ruskin Park is one of our closest green spaces, and the massive padding pool is a regular haunt in the Summer months. Both Alex and Sophie have spent hours splashing around in the shallow water, getting water confident, making new friends and cooling off in the holiday heat. It would be so sad to see it close – there really isn’t anything else quite like it nearby.
And it’s location, right next to an amazing playground, loads of green space for picnics and a fab cafe with excellent ice cream make it a real community gathering spot (not to mention the absolute highlight for small children – it’s proximity to a railway line where you can regularly spot trains and the air ambulance helicopter landing area for King’s College Hospital!). It was pretty much the first place I felt brave enough to take Alex and Sophie on my own when they were both mobile! It’s a bit rough around the edges, but we love it!
I struggled to find many photos of us enjoying the pool over the years as it just gets a bit too splashy to be taking snaps! But here’s Sophie and me in 2014:
And Alex when he was a lot smaller!
We were so pleased to read last week that the pool may yet stay open – as Lambeth has agreed to provide the water, if the community can raise the funds to maintain and run the pool for 2016. I’m so thrilled to see that in just a few days, the campaign is nearing its target and hopefully we can enjoy splashing around for another Summer yet.
Can you spot Alex and Sophie in the front row of the campaign photo (cue – Sophie is wearing a pink jumper and Alex bright red!)
The other local campaign is sadly not going as well – with our local library, the stunning Carnegie Library, looking set to close in just a matter of days. It’s a stunning building – a real local icon. The children have visited regularly throughout their lives as they run storytelling groups during the week, and we’ve enjoyed some of their special weekend activities including a great bear hunt when Sophie was very small!
Here’s Alex super keen at story time:
We spent a lovely hour there yesterday as a family, enjoying the children’s room and doing some quiet reading and colouring. I really regret not visiting more often – it’s such a special place.
I’m not sure what the future holds for the Carnegie – but you can stay up to date through the Friends of Carnegie Library.