Rastafarians and rockers remembered in new London history project

Dave Gahan, Alan Wilder, Andrew Fletcher, Martin Gore of Depeche Mode in 1984 (Getty Images)
Dave Gahan, Alan Wilder, Andrew Fletcher, Martin Gore of Depeche Mode in 1984 (Getty Images)

A south London London Rastafarian squat and an East End pub that helped launch the Mod revival and Depeche Mode are among the sites being remembered as part of a new six-figure scheme.

Historic England’s Everyday Heritage programme is paying out more than £180,000 across the capital in a bid to “encourage people to engage with their local heritage”.

Among the eight projects in London is one to set up a “digital learning resource” to tell the story of St Agnes Place in Kennington which was squatted for around three decades and was a Rastafari temple dubbed the House of Dread by locals.

The money will also pay for an attempt to document the history of Cardboard City – a makeshift encampment which sheltered rough sleepers in the underpasses around Waterloo – as well four decades of life in Chinatown and a 1984 strike of nursery workers in Islington.

Echoes from the Bridge will set up a pop-up exhibition remembering the glory years of the Bridge House Pub in Canning Town from 1975 to 1982 when it was one of the capital’s best live music venues playing host to acts from Depeche Mode and Iron Maiden to Paul Young and Chas & Dave.

The pub even set up its own record label – Bridgehouse Records – which released vinyl including the classic 1979 Mods Mayday album.

Historic England Regional Director Tom Foxall said: “There are so many hidden histories to uncover here in London. Every community has a story to tell and we want to hear them.

“This is the strength of our Everyday Heritage grant programme, which funds projects that are community-led and really engage with local people by empowering them to research and tell their own stories.

“I’m excited to learn more about these fascinating projects as they shine an important light on our working class heritage.”