Tidemill Garden: a creative tribute

This post is a collection of creative responses to the destruction of Tidemill Garden. It consists of comments and artworks created by local residents, artists and campaigners to express their feelings about the loss of this green oasis in the heart of Deptford.

Defend Green Spaces: painting made in and for Tidemill Garden by a campaign supporter

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OLD TIDEMILL GARDEN: a song written by Mark Sampson, a local resident who has spent happy times in the garden and is angered by its proposed destruction

Mark Sampson image

OLD TIDEMILL GARDEN

Take me down to Old Tidemill Garden
The birds in the trees
The flowers and the bees
And the things that creep and crawl
The worst things that creep and crawl
Are the councillors in the town hall

Elected to power and voted in
It turns out now that was a sin
As they sell off public land
Developers profit off our back
Community under attack
This gentrification planned

They say that there’s nowhere else they can
And that is why this is their plan
But that simply is not true
There’s other space they can build upon
Despite their vain attempts to con
And Labour red turns blue

Take me down to Old Tidemill Garden
The birds in the trees
The flowers and the bees
And the things that creep and crawl
The worst things that creep and crawl
Are the councillors in the town hall

So fine old trees will be coming down
There’s not enough in Deptford town
Apartments will take their place
A block of flats that’s structurally sound
Will soon be falling to the ground
And that will be a disgrace

Elected to power and voted in
It turns out now that was a sin
As they sell off public land
Developers profit off our back
Community under attack
This gentrification planned

Take me down to Old Tidemill Garden
The birds in the trees
The flowers and the bees
And the things that creep and crawl
The worst things that creep and crawl
Are the councillors in the town hall

Take me down to Old Tidemill Garden
A community space
A peaceful place
So quiet and so serene
Enclosed around
By the traffic sound
An oasis of green

Sculptures (and comment) by Glenn ‘Fitzy’ Fitzpatrick

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“As an artist/war veteran, I have spent many a time in Tidemill garden finding peace, airspace, calmness and tranquility. I found this calms me in difficult times as I suffer PTSD, it is the one place amongst trees I feel safe in. This place is divine, I love it. The trees cover your head and connect you to nature. It is amazing to sit in a pocket that allows you to experience a wood in a built-up area. By way of saying thank you to Tidemill and its people I have donated my sculptures which are repurposed nitrous oxide canisters which have been locally sourced. This place has inspired me and in return I hope others can turn up; see some art, nature and engage with its creative clarity. Long live Tidemill, it is more than a plot of land, it is a pocket of creative paradise which is there for us to love and share…. COMMUNITY. To take this away is to take away nature and freedom. This is heart breaking. Please share this as it is from the heart.”

Tidemill Mutterings: poem (and painting below) created by Michele Petit-Jean, a local artist, musician in the band Ukadelix, puppet-show performer at Magic Book Puppet Theatre and supporter of the Tidemill Campaign

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TIDEMILL MUTTERINGS

On market day the Stalwart sisters
hand out leaflets and get petitions signed.
Everybody wants to save the trees.
Tidemill garden. Love and Peace.
Behind their screens the journo teams
hound Lewisham with points of law.
Emails fly and Facebook draws more
cyber soldiers to the cause.
The fight to save this patch of green,
its Laurel groves and Indian bean,
this summers idyll, this music scene
this urban Eden.
So
The Cavalry move in.
Battle-hardened activists arrive
and occupy, prepared for confrontation.
Tents and cabins multiply and
tree-house look-out stations.
The sun shines on the righteous heads
gathered round the pumpkin beds,
planning more and more events
to halt the council’s bad intents.
The enemy shape-shifts and changes,
but still the threat remains.

The BBC have been and gone, democracy drowns in the pond.
The carnival is over, and Stalwarts bicker as drunks arrive and leave their litter.
The compost toilets both are full,
ready for the bailiffs’ call.

Michele Painting

Drawings (and comment) by Jacqueline Utley

“My connection with the garden is layered; my children went to Tidemill in the 90s. It really was a long collaborative process between pupils, parents/careers, staff, the landscape designer and the wider community to make the garden happen. Now over 20 years later it has matured into a beautiful, inclusive community garden just how everyone imagined. This year during the Summer 2018 as part of the campaigns programme of events in the garden we facilitated some open to all drawing workshops where we meandered round the garden to look at the garden and trees through drawing. Like many in our community, I am devastated by the brutality shown by Lewisham Council to the community and dismay at such short sighted, unimaginative Lewisham council unable to see the gardens benefits.”

Requiem for Tidemill Garden: poem by Sylvia Green

Photographs and comment by Fred Aylward, local resident, artist, volunteer and supporter of Tidemill campaign

FredFred21Photograph and comment by Jacquie and Rose – local residents who attend Meet Me at the Albany, an all day arts club for the over 60s

 

Ode To Tidemill Garden by Gordon Robertson, who was born in south east London and lives and works close to Tidemill. Gordon has been along to and participated in campaign events over the past few years, playing music in the processions through Deptford & New Cross. In the photo below he is seen playing the Mandolin next to Captain Rizz on his snare drum.

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Ode to Tidemill Garden

The children learnt of nature,
amid old Deptford’s grey,
though their own homes have no garden,
they had somewhere to play.

The elderly ones also,
surrounded by concrete and brick,
had a place for quiet contemplation,
a place where they could sit.

Where the community could come together,
to discuss the urban plans,
to offer an alternative
and try to make a stand.

Against nature’s destruction
and the polution of our air,
the locals came together
to show the council that they care.

But the authorities had other plans
and money to be made,
the trees that breathe the cleaner air
were not there to be saved.

Instead a richer clientele
had to be catered for,
so they hired a private security force
and declared war on the poor!

 

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