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Great London Sculptures: Dr Salter’s Daydream in Bermondsey

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Walking along the Thames walk in Bermondsey near the Angel pub, you come across in a family group of sculptures. The scene is entitled Dr. Salter’s Daydream and tells the story of Dr Alfred Salter, his wife Ada Brown and their daughter Joyce with the family cat perched on the wall.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Alfred Salter was born in nearby Greenwich in 1873 and went on to study medicine at Guy’s Hospital, London. He qualified in 1896 and it looked like he would have a successful career ahead of him in medicine. However, in 1898, Dr Salter became a resident at the Methodist Settlement in Bermondsey and began to work amongst the people who lived in poverty in the area. Many of the population of the area worked in the docks but due to the causal nature of the work it was difficult to have any kind of financial security.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Whilst at the Settlement, Salter set up health insurance schemes and adult education classes and met Ada Brown who shared many of the doctor’s political and social concern views. The Doctor and Ada married in 1900 and in the same year established a medical practice in Bermondsey. The work of the couple led to a the establishment of a pioneering comprehensive health service in the area. To bring more widespread change to the area, Dr Salter and Ada decided to enter the political arena. Salter was elected to Bermondsey Borough Council in 1903, to the London County Council and eventually became a Member of Parliament for the area from 1922 up to the Second World War.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Ada was elected to Bermondsey Borough Council in 1922, and in the same year was elected as the first female mayor of the borough. Ada became an early pioneer of urban gardening, and organised campaigned against air pollution in London. By the 1930s she had planted thousands of trees, decorated many buildings with window-boxes, and filled disused open spaces with plants and flowers.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Amid the couple’s social and political work, they had to endure a personal tragedy in 1910, when their eight years old daughter Joyce, died of scarlet fever. The couple carried on their work till the 1940s when first Ada then Dr Salter died.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

To remember and celebrate the lives of the Salter family, a series of sculptures were commissioned and in 1991, sculptor Diane Gorvin unveiled her artwork. Originally Dr. Salter was seated on a bench in old age looking and remembering his young daughter when she was still alive with the cat on the wall. The well-loved sculpture of the Doctor was stolen in 2011 and a new model was made and a sculpture of Ada added which pays tribute to her tree and planting schemes for Bermondsey.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Since 2014, the family group has graced this lovely spot over looking the Thames and reminds people about some of the area’s history and characters before large-scale redevelopment took place.

Musicity London – 8th to 10th September 2017

Do you associate a place with a piece of music ? A new project is taking this concept a stage further by creating new songs and music inspired by the buildings of London.

Musicity London will run from the 8th to 10th September and combines music, architecture and technology to build a living archive of the sounds of cities.

Artists involved in the project include Sean O’Hagan, William Doyle (formerly East India Youth), Throwing Shade, Stick in the Wheel, Hejira, patten, Moses Boyd (of acclaimed jazz duo Binker and Moses).

A new project which brings the buildings of cities across the world to musical life, will stage a weekend celebration of the architecture of London this June. Musicity invites musicians to choose a building and then create new songs and compositions inspired by the design, history or their personal connections to that place. The new track is then available for free streaming or download via the new, free Musicity app on any smartphone, but only at that particular location..

Created by BBC broadcaster, DJ and music curator, Nick Luscombe, Musicity is a new kind of travel guide to a city, exploring the ways in which cities influence the culture that emerges from within them and the melodies and stories inspired by our personal experiences of architecture. The plan is to build soundtracks of cities – with compilations of the tracks eventually being released as a physical box set.

The Musicity London event will focus on Southwark, one of the oldest parts of the capital, Contemporary architecture and old buildings coexist in a borough that takes in Borough, Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Walworth, Peckham, Camberwell, Peckham Rye, Nunhead and Dulwich. During the event, the buildings themselves will become venues for live performances and discussions.

Among the 17 London compositions already completed are pieces inspired by Battersea Power Station, the BT Tower, Blackfriars Bridge and the Old Royal Naval College and covering all sorts of styles: pop, folk, electronic, ambient, modern classical and spoken word, to name a few. The project is not limited to London; so far, 43 tracks have been created across 7 cities, including, Oslo, Tokyo and Singapore.

A unique aspect of the commissioning process is that Musicity encourages all musicians to gain an understanding of the fabric of each space, by working with architect and sound artist Paul Bavister from architectural firm Flanagan Lawrence. Paul has visited the sites with the musicians, taking acoustic data (e.g. sound reverberation and clarity) from each building. This information helps to set the written music within the sonic constraints of the site itself, resulting in truly site-specific works.


Full details of venues and event times at musicityglobal.com

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