Rare Doings

In 2018 we were supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund to run the 'Rare Doings in Camberwell' project to research the history of Camberwell Fair and place the current Fair into its historical context.


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The Camberwell Fair project is a Heritage Lottery Funded project. It saw 12 local volunteers trained up in heritage skills with experts from the National Galley, Mercers and the Cuming Museum training the volunteers. This research has been used to create an exhibition animating the story of the fair that goes back to 1289! As part of the project we will also used objects from the Cuming collection as a stimulus to create large wicker objects working with young people and families in the community to connect them to the history of the fair and the development of Camberwell Fair. 

As part of the project the project leader worked with People's Company, a community based theatre company based at Southwark Playhouse to create an animated tour which takes you on a journey through the history of the fair, the development of the Camberwell Fair and the reasons for the ending of the fair in 1855. Also at the fair we showcased actual artefacts and images from the Camberwell Fair from the Cuming Collection. The project is an interactive way in which we are animating the story of the fair and the changing face of Camberwell.

Toys from Camberwell Fair, circa 1850. Courtesy of the Cuming Museum


'All the fun of the fair', Southwark News, 7 June 2018, by Chiara Giordano


John Whelan

The project manager for the HLF project is John Whelan who is a freelance theatre and community animation practitioner. He has a had a wealth of projects which he has worked with the community including developing a community theatre production of As You Like It with the Globe in July in 2018 and an acclaimed HLF funded project with the Friends of Burgess Park around the Zeppelin Raid in October 1917. Other projects include a WW1 animated tour with the Tate and the Cuming Collection and the Walworth Society History Festival at the end of September 2018.

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