'I am convinced I shall achieve something valuable if I can brighten the lives of the people here' : bombsites, housing and art in Lambeth

West, Rosamund Lily (2020) 'I am convinced I shall achieve something valuable if I can brighten the lives of the people here' : bombsites, housing and art in Lambeth. The London Journal, ISSN (print) 0305-8034 (Epub Ahead of Print)

Abstract

After the Second World War, artist Peter Laszlo Peri approached the London County Council with the idea of creating sculptural reliefs with a family theme in coloured concrete on two of Lambeth’s new housing estates. The results were three reliefs: ‘Following the Leader (Memorial to the Children Killed in the Blitz)’, 1949, on the Vauxhall Gardens estate and ‘Boys Playing Football’, 1951–52, and ‘Mother with Children Playing’, 1951–52, on the nearby South Lambeth estate. After the war, the reconstruction and improvement of housing were crucial. The London County Council planned for large areas of London to be rebuilt: including an ambitious programme of housing. This paper looks at these artworks within the context of the housing they sit amongst. I read these sculptural reliefs, created between 1949 and 1952, within the LCC’s post-war housing and community policies and as symbols of Lambeth’s renewal. This paper places these reliefs, and their settings, within the wider context of debates surrounding the post-war renewal of London, community participation and placemaking.

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