Tuesday, 5 June 2012

A day of street parties

Thorpebank Road
Bunting, paper hats and plastic cups dominated the Bush yesterday, when almost every corner you turned revealed a closed road and a picnic table. Balloons vied with fancy dress for attention as neighbours who'd never met discovered that in fact they both quite liked each other and should really say hello more often.

I'd been invited to the Thorpebank Road party and arrived to find a band playing under a gazebo. Half the road had been given over to a children's play area, complete with wooden toys, while the grown ups occupied the other half paying particular attention to the food and drink on offer.

But what was also on display was the streak of community spirit that the residents of this and surrounding roads have shown in recent months as they took over and began to transform a local park, which had been in sad decline in the last few years. For here was a banner of the Friends of Wormholt Park who we last met dressed in their Edwardian best.

Patriotism on display
And in this street party too we also got a chance to see images of Thorpebank Road and Shepherd's Bush as it used to be in times gone by, courtesy of a local historian. Did you know the Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks was a product of the Bush? More on that later this week.

As people shared their experiences on social media it was interesting to see how different corners of the Bush interpreted what the whole thing was about. While Thorpebank Road was open and welcoming a couple of people told me they'd been turned away from the nearby Sawley Road party for not being a resident of that road - or having an official invitation! It seemed this wasn't unique as Boscombe Road had apparently adopted a similar "name's not down not coming in" strategy and had also turned people away - with one man reporting he'd been bizarrely told they were only allowed to stand outside and cheer!

Starfield Road was clearly a more capitalist affair with entry being open to all - but for a £3 fee.

Sawley Road: If yer names not dahn you 'aint cahmin in
Other roads joining Thorpebank in welcoming their neighbours, however, included Keith Grove and Gayford Road, and in the latter's case involved a party that went on well beyond the allotted end time. Although the road was cleared for traffic on time the revellers stayed on, prompting pimms-fuelled declarations of love for new found neighbours - but also one of them calling the police to tell everyone to pipe down!

And that, dear reader, is the Bush all over!


  1. Hi chris, thanks for the round up on the local
    street partys, i had to leave the bush yesterday
    as i got invite to palace picnic, had great time
    took lots of photos, would be happy for you to use them if you want to, not sure how to email you
    let me know here if you would like them,
    thanks again

  2. Hip hip hooray. Let's all celebrate a grossly over-privileged elite, entitled by solely by birth, who are the embodiment of the country's class system of inequality and of the elevation of the status quo over the common man. Excuse me while I grab a sick bag.

  3. Over a million people celebrated the Jubilee in central London. The pageantry was broadcast worldwide. There were street parties across the whole country. I'm happy for the very small minority to grab their sick bag as long as they do it in a corner far away from the rest of us.

    As one of the organisers of the Thorpebank Road street party I want to let people know just how popular these type of events are. They bring together neighbours of all ages, races and religions. Friendships are made and the road becomes a happier place.

  4. We should have a national referendum on the monarchy to see just how insignificant that "very small minority" really is. That result could be enough to make the flag waving loons choke on their scones. But of course a referendum isn't a reality at the moment. The British monarchy will fall one day, unfortunately it seems a long way off. In this sense we are far behind the French. A street party for something significant like Shakespeare's birthday would be laudable. For the monarchy? Empty and mindless.

  5. i agree a street party for shakespeare would be a far more
    worthy reason to have a street party,
    however it strikes me that memorys of school leasons would make the crowd very sparce

  6. William Shakespeare? Really? He's a mere youngster of 400 years compared to the Royal family that can be traced back over a 1000 years.

    Yes his works are popular but I would wager nowhere near as popular as the Royal family. And his genius could be questioned purely on the fact he could not even spell his own name correctly, more than once.

    But he does have one supporter - whose english grammar and spelling is a disgrace.

  7. At least their comment was funny...