Friday, May 12, 2006

So much for the Golden Age

Someone wrote to me yesterday from Canada asking if I'd mind taking a picture of his Mum's old school in Kennington for a book he's putting together for her 80th

He'd identified me via the web as someone who

  • lives in/ near Kennington
  • takes pictures

Apparently his mum went to an agricultural college in Kennington Village in the late 1930's


Agricultual College?!


Anyway, I did a few web searches and found the following extract from someone’s memoirs on-line

When my father was alive we lived in a big house in Kennington Lane, where he taught young men agriculture and chemistry. My father had a big meadow and garden, and had a sort of small farm there. Fancy a farm in Kennington!


To cut a long story short I found out that there was an agricultural college in Kennington and that it was run by E Nesbit's father. She was born there. As in the E Nesbit who wrote The Railway Children and all those other children’s books depicting England's Golden Edwardian Age that never really existed, even before it was destroyed by the First World War. I read a fair few when I was growing up as a nipper just down the road.

But for the life of me I couldn’t picture any building on Kennington Lane that looked like it could have been an agricultural college

Still, any quest that results in images of a young Jenny Agutter popping up in my web browser is definitely worth pursuing

Last night we popped down there in a combined kebab purchasing/ local history exploration operation.

The address given as E Nesbit’s birthplace is now a row of derelict/ run down shops in an area just South of the Elephant and Castle notorious for its crack dens.

The only patch of once open space that could have been the college's grounds is now obliterated by the Cotton Field Estate - as nasty a collection of tower blocks as you're ever likely to see. It’s scary

So the question I am asking myself is

- Black and White or Colour?

- Film or Digital?

Alternatively, I could just lie and send the Old Dear a photograph of some twee school gates taken in Richmond…

Decisions Decisions

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