Today the London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre was contacted today by Historic England (the UK government organisation that looks after England’s most valuable historic buildings). Historic England confirmed that they are going to remove the Beaufoy Institute from the Heritage at Risk Register, their ‘red list’, on which the Beaufoy had been for many years after it was left derelict in the 1990s. Having conferred with Lambeth Council on the matter earlier this year, they said: “in view of the great success of your work and the way the building is now occupied and in good beneficial use [we will] remove [the Beaufoy] from our Heritage at Risk Register”
The billboards next to the Beaufoy on Vauxhall Street say “Love Lambeth” in large letters, and here is yet another reason to love our little corner of London! Our first Beaufoy Christmas Market opened at noon sharp with our first visitor arriving soon after. Having heard about the market, she had travelled one hour by train to meet us and take in the Great Hall in all its festive splendour. It didn’t take too much longer before curious neighbours wandered in, enticed by the sign on Black Prince road. The market was meant to be, and truly was, a community affair.
Fourteen vendors from the Lambeth community, from artists to origami-star makers, took part in the market, including Kennington Flowers, who run a flower stall based at the nearby St Anselm’s Church. The hall’s ceiling was strung with glittering stars, and off to the side stood a noble and tall Christmas tree, carefully trimmed with sparkling baubles and hand stitched ornaments. A cosy candle-lit corner of the hall was reserved for a cafe, selling delicious home-baked cakes and a lounge area where many took the chance to sit, enjoy a heart-warming drink and chat with friends, old and new.
There was certainly something for everyone at the stalls: gingerbread men, handcrafted jewellery, mountain-shaped cushions, holiday cards, embroidered tea towels and more. For those feeling a little crafty, the Craft Corner was a busy place with both young and old trying their hands at painting ornaments and block-printing Christmas cards.
As the afternoon crept on the market only got busier and busier, reaching its peak when Father Christmas himself arrived! It wasn’t that easy though. We had to coax him in with Christmas carols, and when he entered, never did you see such tiny faces light up in excitement. For many young ones it was their very first meeting with Father Christmas. He sat next to the tree and sat with everyone, giving out little gifts and sweeties to all whether they were naughty or nice.
All in all, upwards of 200 friends and neighbours came in to shop at the market, enjoy a tea or two and make something crafty. Friends of the Beaufoy can only hope to see just as many of you (and more) visit us again at next year’s market.
When the Beaufoy Institute was sold last year, Lambeth Council promised that a portion of the proceeds would be spent on local regeneration projects.
The Beaufoy Institute itself, on Black Prince Road, was bought by Diamond Way Buddhism UK, and the plot of land bordered by Sancroft Street and Vauxhall Way was bought by Bellway Homes. In total, from this sale there is some £200,000 to spend on regenerating Prince’s Ward.
On Wednesday 6th November, Lambeth councillors Cllr Lorna Campbell, Cllr Mark Harrison, and Cllr Stephen Morgan announced the results of their planning and community consultation – the projects on which the money from the Beaufoy sale would be spent. They will also finance these projects with the money from the development at the Old Lilian Baylis School.
The projects that will benefit are:
Durning Library: Lambeth Council are already investing several hundred thousand pounds in this local library, and this extra money (£7,000 from the Beaufoy Institute sale and £19,000 from the Old Lillian Baylis School sale) will go towards improving the IT equipment.
Lollard Street Adventure Playground: The playground was recently handed from Lambeth Council to the Kennington Association, who are planning to transform the area in a big way, which will be helped by a huge £113,000 from the Beaufoy Institute sale and £37,411 from the Old Lillian Bayliss School sale.
Tyers St greening: Creating a grassy corridor from Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens right through to Black Prince Road by greening over Tyers Street is a plan from the Vauxhall Gardens Estate Residents and Tenants’ Association. £10,000 from the Beaufoy Institute sale will fund a traffic study to investigate the effect this could have.
Relandscaping “the pit” outside Coverley Point: The sunken area outside the two 1960’s blocks on Vauxhall Walk is to be made more attractive using £30,000 from the Beaufoy Institute sale and £10,000 from Old Lillian Bayliss School sale.
Since the Beaufoy Institute was founded to benefit the people of Lambeth, it is fitting that its recent change in ownership will have a clear and very local benefit.
You can read about the plans in detail on the SE11 Action Team blog