This winter we saw an abundance of warm friendships develop and collaborations grow on Jubilee Square. In November we offered our neighbours some tasty street food and local entertainment to set them up for the light switch on on the High Street. The square was lovingly taken care of by The Good Gym and we enjoyed the space despite the cold on Christmas eve for a fireside storytelling session. The following month we celebrated Pongal with the Tamil community and welcomed the "YES BUS" from Achieving for Children who are working with young people in the area once a month on Wednesday afternoons .
135 Years of Community Spirit
Local historian Julian McCarthy has written us a brief history of Jubilee Square. Jullian's passion is searching for obscure, forgotten historical nuggets of Kingston that he believes are waiting to be found, buried in the pages of old books, maps and photos. A Chartered Design Engineer and a Building Services Consultant, he is also the author of three books about Kingston upon Thames.
The article begins..
JUBILEE SQUARE - 135 YEARS OF COMMUNITY SPIRIT
Early beginnings - farmland Before this area was mapped in 1768, little is known about the land that now holds Jubilee Square. Earlier maps suggest that farmland lay to the east and west. The farmland to the east was known as ‘Blacden Farm’ and would later become ‘Black Dene Farm’, followed by ‘Blagdon Farm’- providing the nearby Blagdon Road with its name. The land that we know today as the junction between Kingston Road and the High Street was also made up of enclosed farmland and land known as ‘Norbeton Common’.
Plucky little Malden By 1871, Blagdon Farm and its estate totalled 224 acres - an area equivalent to 150 football pitches, which covered all of the land from Blagdon Road to the Kingston Bypass, stretching back to the railway line from West Barnes to Motspur Park. When Richmond Vestry (later Richmond Council) tried to buy the farm to use to dispose of their sewage, a public enquiry was made, and the scheme was rejected. Having fought off a nearby giant, the Village earned the name “Plucky little Malden”
The Bee Story (fiction)
The Bee Story, New Malden
The Skep (old beehive) was the symbol of Malden and Coombe council and if you look around town you may see that the skep and bees are a symbol for various clubs and associations- including the Residents Society who are part this initiative, NMTCP.
Over the last few years stories, some made up and some real, have been disseminated throughout the community by local beekeepers, environmentalists, historians and creatives who see the symbol of the bee as an inspiring motif on how communities can work together to create something wonderful, regardless of race or background. We also see it as a gentle reminder of the value local people place on nature and taking care of our Green spaces. Click here to read the Bee Story.
The Queens Platinum Jubilee
June 4th 2022
Jubilations and celebrations were abundant in the aptly named Jubilee Square on the 4th June. Dozens of local community groups helped to create a vibrant day of delicious food stalls and fantastic entertainment for almost a thousand people, who turned up to enjoy our first event. The day was a showcase for so much that New Malden has to offer. There were so many highlights we can't mention them all, but the New Malden Ukulele group were a sing along hit, St James Players had us giggling, The Kingston Ballet School, Action Theatre, Sri Lankan, Chinese and Gujarati Dance Schools had us all in awe of the exceptional talent of our young people and The Korean Culture and Arts Centre provided a plethora of fabulous acts, the Korean Fan Dance and Kaachi Kpop group were super popular. But The Grandmas Choir were possibly the surprise stars of the day for many. However they all did brilliantly helping to create a joyful experience and demonstrate the generous, kind, playful and diverse community of New Malden, we are already looking forward to next year.
The Wagon of Dreams
The Wagon of Dreams arrived in Jubilee Square to entertain the 200 or more families as part of the Fuse Festival (Previously known as the International Youth Arts Festival)
The whole audience delighted in the puppets, sing along songs and tall tales from the great performers from Jellyfish Theatre. And to top it all at the end of the day there was a wonderful seascape collage and chalk art expressing how the show had sparked the imaginations and inspired the children. It truely was a magical day.