Both of these institutions are magical, unique and irreplaceable. The area will be much worse off without them.
Both of these institutions are magical, unique and irreplaceable. The area will be much worse off without them.
The Workshop is the former fire engine workshop on the corner of Lambeth High Street and Whitgift Street.
It previously played host to VIP parties and the Scumoween illegal rave before the developers Vauxhall One took it over and turned it into a temporary community and events space. It’s becoming an increasingly vibrant destination, playing host to the monthly Vintage Vauxhall Market, and seeing queues stretching all the way around the block when it hosted the Art Car Boot Fair.
The Workshop also has two more long term residents – the Fire Brigade Museum:
And a timely arrival in the area, the Migration Museum:
We are big fans of migration and found this a thoughtful and moving museum with a lot of relevance to the local area:
The Migration Museum is on the first floor of the Workshop with no step free access. It’s open to the public Wednesdays–Sundays (plus bank holidays), from 11am–5pm.
Address: The Workshop, 26 Lambeth High Street, London SE1 7AG.
Tomorrow (Sunday) sees the second monthly Vintage Vauxhall Market at the Workshop on Whitgift Street (entrance on Lambeth High Street), from 10am to 4pm.
It offers “Mid-century, vintage, decorative antiques, retro” and will take place on the second Sunday of every month. We went to the first market and lusted after a number of items including a mirror made of an old red London telephone box, an old Raleigh bike, some beautifully made children’s toys, a new woolly jumper, some old maps, and these prints:
This stall seems to have been designed with Kate Hoey in mind:
The Workshop is an impressive venue, full of light:
If you’re wondering how this market came to be in North West Kennington, there’s a clue on the website of the organisers: “Vintage and Antiques Markets also thanks local Vauxhall residents author and antiques specialist Mark Hill and Philip Reicherstorfer, owner of the restaurant COUNTER. Mark and Philip are keen to see the local communities and businesses of Vauxhall flourish and had the idea that a market could really work in the area, through their contacts at VauxhallOne they got the ball rolling and helped make it happen!” Well done Mark and Philip, the latter of whom you may see manning Counter’s stall supplying tea, cakes and more.
Did you know the Workshop also plays host to the Fire Brigade Museum?
And, from April 26th, The Workshop will provide temporary asylum to the Migration Museum. We trust Kate Hoey will be an early and frequent visitor.
We can highly recommend the latest exhibition at Newport Street Gallery, Who What When Where How & Why by Gavin Turk. Gavin is the Beautiful South of the (no longer) Young British Artists – not as well known as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, but when you go this exhibition you’ll realise how many of his hits you know.
Here are some snapshots. First up, classic Newport Street Gallery stuff:
We had a genuine “is it art?” moment when we saw one of these bronze rubbish bags outside the lift on the second floor. As in “is it part of the exhibition or has someone just left out a rubbish bag?”.
This is genuinely arresting, precisely because it wouldn’t be as arresting as it should be if you saw it on the street:
Finally, Newport Street Gallery’s largest space is an amusing setting for Gavin’s greatest hit, his blue plaque titled Cave:
It’s free entry as always as Newport Street, and it’s open until March 19th (closed Mondays).
Like the Elephant & Castle, the White Bear is a Kennington pub with a very long history, which has recently relaunched in impressive style.
Thomas Ellis owned the Horns Tavern pub on Kennington Common, where Guy Fawkes stored his gunpowder in the cellar. Mary Cleaver leased White Bear Field to Ellis in 1780, and he laid out Cleaver Square, the earliest London square south of the Thames, and built the White Bear (read more Kennington history on their blackboard).
We first knew The White Bear as a rather edgy, although rarely busy, Irish sports pub, with the White Bear Theatre feeling very incongruous in the back. It was bought by Young’s around 2012, after which there was a short-lived relaunch (bye Irish sports fans, hello not many other people), then it closed for a long time for a much more thorough overhaul.
Now it’s huge – Kennington’s biggest pub – with two dining areas where the theatre used to be, plus a garden stretching the width of two properties.
The theatre (which we’ve not visited since the relaunch) has relocated to the first floor – the bear will show you the way.
The new White Bear has the feel of a country pub, and we can’t think of another like it in central London. Perfect for Kennington Village!
They serve food which is good if pricey. Mains at launch ranged from toad in the hole for £11 to black Angus sirloin, mushrooms and tomatoes, chips, Bearnaise sauce for £21. Being mostly vegetarian we haven’t tried either of their specialities yet, which are beef Wellington, black cabbage and chestnuts (£21) and steak and kidney suet pudding, calcannon (£20). But we have tried rainbow chard, pine nut and blue cheese quiche (£13):
And the roasted pumpkin cobbler, purple sprouting broccoli, not entirely successful but relatively cheap at £12:
The Queenie and monkfish scampi, chips, peas cost £16.50:
And the ale battered cod, chips, mushy peas, tartare sauce are £13, which is £2 more expensive and not quite as good as the Duchy Arms’ equivalent:
Nonetheless, we keep going back there to eat and find the service exceptionally friendly and helpful. They have a good selection of ales on tap, and it’s always busy in the bar area – great to see after years of emptiness. Well done The White Bear and Young’s brewery.
We first visited the Feminist Library earlier this year on what could have been its final weekend in its current building, until they got a last minute reprieve from their landlords Southwark Council. The council are still planning on hiking the rent up by 150%, but have given the Feminist Library a little longer to find new premises, thankfully. With this in mind, they are organising a Summer Benefit tomorrow – Saturday 2 July – to help raise funds for new premises.
The library is worth a trip, full of boxes of ’80s feminist zines, and quiet corners and beanbags on which to peruse them. Its Summer Benefit promises a choral installation, one-to-one performances in a lift, the launch of the Feminist Library Survival Song and award winning novelist Ali Smith In Conversation, plus stalls, zines, signed copies of books, food, drink, dancing and a photobooth performance. The finale will come from post-punk icons The Raincoats.
The party runs from 2pm until 10pm, and although advance tickets have already sold out, there will be a limited number of tickets on the door tomorrow.
FEMINIST LIBRARY, 5 Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7XW, 020 7261 0879.
One of the writers of this blog is a philistine who can’t abide modern artists explaining their art but enjoys shiny, colourful, huge, spectacular objects with a novel and amusing concept behind them. Jeff Koons fan? Yep, absolutely, so we were thrilled to hear the second show at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery would be Jeff Koons Now.
The huge, light Newport Street Gallery space provides the perfect setting for Balloon Monkey (Blue):
Likewise this giant Play-Doh has Newport Street Gallery written all over it. This is made of aluminium, while Balloon Monkey (Blue) is made of stainless steel:
The only x-rated pieces are in the final room downstairs, but they’re so x-rated we believe they would be illegal if they were on a popular local blog rather than in an art gallery, so here’s a silver train instead:
Entry is free and the gallery was buzzing but not excessively full during our weekend visit.
Naturally the gallery shop stocks some Koons
expensive tat art:
Welcome to Kennington Jeff – we haven’t been this excited since the two Kevins, Pietersen and Spacey, came to town.
We rather like visiting Gasworks since their refurb. It’s a lovely building, open on the weekend which suits us, and we’re generally the only visitors.
The current exhibition won’t be to everyone’s taste, and is definitely not suitable for children. SECOND SEX WAR is a solo exhibition by London-based artist Sidsel Meineche Hansen, which “explores the commodity status of 3D bodies in X-rated digital image production, while also reflecting on the artist’s working conditions and relationships”.
The exhibition provides a chance to try an Occulus virtual reality headset, showing a CGI animation called DICKGIRL 3D, or you can watch it on a flat screen TV hung from a “DIY BDSM” structure:
There’s also a CGI animation called No Right Way 2 Cum, a feminist ‘cum shot’ video, which features EVA v3.0, a stock 3D model made for computer games and adult entertainment. This was made in response to the British Board of Film Classification’s recent ban on female ejaculation in UK-produced pornography. We don’t want an X certificate on this blog, so here’s a huge clay relief instead, called Cultural Capital Cooperative Object:
We think these laser cut drawing are called iSlave (non-dualistic) and Wannabe Dickgirl:
During our visit there was something going on in another room at Gasworks marked “participatory” or some such, but we were too scared to enter.
SECOND SEX WAR was commissioned by Gasworks in partnership with Trondheim’s kunstmuseum, which seems appropriate. It runs until May 29th at Gasworks, 155 Vauxhall Street, London SE11 5RH.
Opening times: Wed–Sun 12–6pm or by appointment.
Foam Talent is the best exhibition we’ve seen at Beaconsfield and on our visit, it was also the busiest we’ve seen the gallery. It’s possible some of those in attendance came looking for Newport Street Gallery and found it closed (they’re currently ‘all mouths on nozzle’ to set up their Jeff Koons exhibition), but they seemed to be enjoying Beaconsfield all the same.
Foam Fotografiemuseum is Amsterdam’s leading photography museum. Every year they do a talent call, receiving entries from all around the world, and this exhibition comprises over 100 photos from their 21 favourite entrants, all aged under 35.
This is a photo of some bubblegum, believe it or not:
The only Brit in the 21 is Dominic Hawgood, whose photos were inspired by healings and exorcisms in African churches in London (quite likely on or just off the Old Kent Road):
Foam Talent runs until May 22nd 2016, Wednesday–Sunday 11am–5pm, at Beaconsfield, 22 Newport Street, Vauxhall, London, SE11 6AY. Be sure to sample some delicious cake from Ragged Canteen while you’re there.
Apologies to any photographer who didn’t want an iPhone photo of their work online – get in touch if you’d like it taken down.
We weren’t overly excited when we heard the restaurant at Newport Street Gallery was going to be Pharmacy 2. Damien Hirst is an artist whose reputation is built on great ideas, so why recycle one from the nineties? (The original Pharmacy opened in Notting Hill in 1998, closing in 2003.)
Then we heard the food would be by Mark Hix, longstanding friend of the (not young anymore) Young British Artists. We are fans of Mark’s cooking but it tends to be rather meaty, and the two times we went to Hixter Bankside it was almost as quiet as Gordon Ramsey’s place round the corner on Great Suffolk Street.
Also, our solicitation came to naught – we did not receive an invite to Pharmacy 2’s opening. But to make it up to us, they arranged for the most talented and compelling sportsman of his generation, Ronnie O’Sullivan, to be dining there with Damien Hirst during our first visit (Ronnie had the steak).
From the moment we entered and saw Ronnie, we had a great time. The decor may not be a new idea, but it’s fun to look at, and at least it’s not a Polpo rip-off. There are no other restaurants remotely like this in the area, and it seems to be doing well, being close to capacity for both our visits.
As for the food, most of it was great. Struggling to find a vegetarian main course, one of us had two starters instead, although we’ve since seen there is a vegetarian menu on their website (perhaps you have to ask for it). Anyway, these shaved winter squash with trevisano and Graceburn cheese cost £7.50 and went down very well:
As did these heritage beets with walnuts and chickweed, also £7.50:
Your other correspondent went for a flawless brunch option of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for £9.95 (they serve brunch from 10am to 6pm every day except Monday when they’re closed):
On our second visit we had some tasty waffles with Yorkshire rhubarb for £7.95, but the brunch portion sizes are not large – more of a mid morning snack than a full meal.
The desserts are also small but cost just £4 so no complaints there. This pineapple upside-down cake was deliciously moist and nostalgic. So nostalgic that we went right back to the days when you just started eating instead of taking a photo first:
The only disappointment was a side of creamed spinach, which tasted like a pie filling without the pie, and was far too salty.
Nonetheless we can wholeheartedly recommend Pharmacy 2 for brunch, lunch, dinner or drinks. It’s great fun.
They’re open Tuesday–Saturday 10am–midnight, and Sundays 10am-6pm.
Address: Newport Street, London SE11 6AJ.