In this podcast Les Back describes how a derelict pub in south east London has been transformed into a new multi-purpose community venue through £4.5 million funding from the Heritage Lottery Foundation (link below). The Fellowship Inn pub was built in 1924 on the Bellingham Estate in Lewisham. It was the first pub to be built on a council estate. For decades it was a vibrant centre of the community and where Henry Cooper trained in 1968 famously before his fight with Cassius Clay or Muhammad Ali as the world champion boxer was known later. Fleetwood Mac and Eric Clapton played gigs at the Fellowship during the blues boom of the 1960s. But by the 1990s the building had fallen into disrepair and the pub had been rundown.
Les meets the people behind bringing the Fellowship Inn back to life including local resident and community activist Pat Fordham and also Jim Ripley, Chief Executive of Phoenix Community Housing, who raised the money from the Heritage Lottery Fund and whose vision helped reimagine what the pub might be in the 21st Century. Through partnering with Electric Star, an innovative entertainments and leisure company, the new Fellowship and Star will offer not only be pub but will also offer a cinema, live music venue, café and home for Lewisham Music that offers music education locally.
Les is also guided through the renovated building by Dominique Stephenson who is the special project officer for the Fellowship at Phoenix Community Housing and Lakeisha Lynch-Steven who describes the art and oral history aspects of this ambitious and innovative urban regeneration project.
Les Back is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths, University of London.
Podcast Producer : Freya Hellier