Streatham Lock-down Diaries

Life-Stories from Streatham in 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has touched all our lives this year, and to reflect the times, Streatham Festival is supporting an important social history project.
Lambeth residents are being asked for their personal accounts of their everyday lives since the Lockdown in March.

WE WANT YOU TO MAKE A Creative Contribution

Streatham Festival wants to focus on this moment in history, by encouraging a creative response from the community, and presents Streatham Lock-down Diaries, a project for all living through coronavirus in Streatham, inviting them to contribute and share their experiences.

These can take the form of:

  • written word: diaries, journals, letters, blogs
  • visual image: photographic, scrapbooks, film, paintings
  • object: 3-D art-work, crafts, accessories
  • ephemera: leaflets, news cuttings, cartoons, government instructions
  • audio and oral: sound recordings, songs, poems, speeches, thoughts and prayers



Lockdown Life in Longthornton

Your Name: Andrew Russe

I’ve really enjoyed being locked down. I’ve never been that sociable anyway, so a good excuse to never leave home has been most welcome. I’m lucky to have a house with a garden. I might have felt a little different if I’d been stuck in a flat. On top of that I’m very happily married. The additional time we’ve been able to spend together in the last few months, far from putting a strain on our relationship, has been a big positive for us.

I’m also lucky to have a job that hasn’t disappeared or taken a nosedive. I work for an IT company that develops and sells Insurance Management Systems. If anything, I’ve been busier since the lockdown started. We’ve managed to move almost our entire operation to home-working.

I really didn’t think I would take to working at home so easily, nor did I imagine that it could actually make me happier. But the transition has been almost seamless and productivity is up. It has not been lost on us that most of our workforce is actually a lot more efficient working this way. And learning to communicate via Zoom has made us better at listening to each other – we find ourselves working together more effectively. All this has meant that the Company is now actively looking at how we can move to doing this permanently. Which is fine by me.

Working from home like this, I have more energy, life is more relaxed. I feel so much happier, contented, and hopeful about the future.

This newly recovered energy and positive outlook has also helped to free me creatively. In my spare time I regard myself as a musician and songwriter. I’m a home-musician, I haven’t played in a live environment since the late 90s. Since 2015, I hadn’t really made very much music at all. The pressures of life and work, the death of a friend, giving up smoking, an operation – these all added up and I kind of lost interest.

However, the desire to create was just starting to come back when all this newly reclaimed energy and time suddenly became available. In my case, the lockdown itself hasn’t caused or inspired the creativity, but it did help make the space for me at just the right time. I started recording again around Easter and haven’t stopped since.

I place all my music on a website called alonetone. It’s a platform where you can share your stuff online, for free, without any advertising or popups. It gives you a place where you can post your new song and send a link to your Mum without her getting confused or inundated with adverts, spam, or requests for money. And she doesn’t need to join the website or give away her details either – anyone can stream or download for free.

I’ve compiled the following PLAYLIST HERE for this year’s burst of creativity, all of it post lockdown.  Some are brand new songs. Some are old songs that I’ve finally got round to recording.

Edith Finally Gets It is my first Lockdown Diaries offering. It’s about our perceptions of how others might feel.

So that’s me and my lockdown experiences. Improved working, improved quality of life, and a bunch of new music that I’m quite proud of. Oh, and too much to eat and drink.

Whatever the future brings, I want to embrace and enjoy it… but I really do need to figure out how to eat less of it!!

Lockdown Life in Streatham Hill
Your Name : Chris Holt 
Chris is a former journalist, now a yoga teacher and freelance writer, mum of teens, wife of a diabetic, living in Streatham Hill.  She has been posting observations of life in her family and community on a blog since March 24th.
You can Chris’s blog here:
Chris hopes people find something in it that resonates with them.

Diary of a Lockdown, day 5: life in a 1970s sitcom

Toilet rolls are back in our local Sainsbury’s – but there are no baking goods. Husband went out hunting and gathering this morning with a list that included strong white flour, plain flour, sugar and baking powder, but he came back empty-handed. How foolish was I to think I was was the only one planning to bake my way through lockdown?
Lockdown Life on Streatham High Road
Your Name: Nina Sherman

As an amateur street photographer @ninasherman1, taking candid photos of people is something I really missed during lockdown. Even as an introvert, I was longing for events and celebrations so I could start taking photographs of people again.
Still life and landscape just wasn’t really doing it for me until I came across a weekly photography challenge by the one and only, Martin Parr, during an online search for ‘photography at home’ ideas. I took this one for the theme Bathroom. I soon discovered taking photos of still life could be fun!
Family in Lockdown
I surprised my sister one day, with some goodies and a quick doorstep visit.
Streatham Lockdown Singalong

Your Name: Kathleen Linton-Ford

Local opera singer Kathleen has been busy recording online concerts for care home residents with dementia, and giving outside, socially distanced garden shows for South London care homes. Care home residents have been affected during the lockdown by the inability to see loved ones or benefit from live entertainment, both of which are crucial to their wellbeing.


 I’ve sung with the charity, Lost Chord for several years. They  organise week-long tours of dementia care homes in London, Wales, Suffolk and Yorkshire, by classical musicians. I also work freelance performing in care homes. All my work for the year was cancelled back in March. However, Lost Chord invited their musicians to record videos that could be played to the ladies and gentlemen who are currently missing out on live music.



In my live concerts, I usually perform without a set-list, preferring to see what goes down well on the day, and choose accordingly. For my lockdown videos, I chose a wide range of the songs which have proven most popular, whilst trying to get off the beaten track a bit.

In July, I was lucky to collaborate with a superb sound engineer, Davis Jaunzems, of Newland Events His friend’s father had passed away from COVID-19 at a care home in Wales, and his friend had been unable to see his dad in his final days because of the restrictions at that time on travel between England and Wales. He was moved to organise a series of garden concerts, Music to Inspire, in South London care homes, as a tribute. I sang in three of the concerts and was led by my audience in choosing songs. It was lovely to sing for a live audience again! The reception was superb. We were the first live entertainment any of the homes had had for months.

Facebook feedback from a local care home:

Free Colouring In Drawings for Children in Lockdown
Your Name: Yaheya Pasha, Equestrian Artist

I am a Streatham based artist having lived here for 26 years.  I paint and draw equestrian art and I love what I do.

Lockdown has been hard for many people and families and so I thought it would be wonderful to create drawings to colour in for the children in my local Streatham neighbourhood.

Please see my drawings which can be downloaded by right-clicking the images below, or they can be found on my website.




illustration of Lockdown Life at Pullman Court

By from Sydne Langbridge @sydsocksart

Lockdown Life in Streatham Hill

Your Name: Michaela Brady


Lullaby in Quarantine


Tomorrow is that shameless promise,

And with that hope we will persist.


Today my hair was frizzing out

And worrying was worth worrying about.


The world was still, the sun a cameo

In a stoic sky of calico.


Human life is lost tomorrow,

That much is true and so


What little will come, we take control

As separation takes its toll.


This shameless promise we will keep:

 Tomorrow comes after we sleep. 

Secret Lockdown Lives revealed at The Rookery

Your Name: Hope

Hope is a young photographer, who has kept a photo journal during Lockdown – going out and taking photographs every day – to help her pass the time, cope with new routines, and focus on nature.

The wonderful creatures featured here are all residents of The Rookery and surrounding woodland;

Toad was snapped last week, Frog, in mid-July. Dragonfly was caught on camera in early August.

Hope has sensitively captured them in their natural surroundings – seemingly a million miles away from Lockdown.




Lockdown Life at Spires Centre (St Leonard’s)

Your Name: Nigel Carpenter, CEO of Spires Centre 

Lockdown Life at Spires Centre (St Leonard’s)

“The last few months have been a challenging time for us all, not least for those without a place to call home.

.. We don’t know what the next few months will bring, but the last 30 years has shown us that, when things get tough, it is the most vulnerable in our community that suffer the most.”

Nigel is helping us to document the work of a local charity, working with the homeless and disadvantaged in our community.

He’s shared with us Spires’ Harvest 2020 letter, sent to local churches and schools, plus a list of items that are needed – see here.

Spires have kept their doors open during Lockdown to those who need their support, and are proud to share that their adult learning courses were the first in Lambeth to go online, and will continue online this Autumn.

You can follow the Spires team’s work, and get involved by visiting their ..






The Streatham Society are supporting this project. The Society, working closely with the team at Lambeth Archives, will assist in curating Streatham’s social history; for the enjoyment of those who live, work or study in Streatham today and also providing a historical record of the pandemic for the benefit of Streatham’s future generations.

  • We are dedicating this webpage to the project, to showcase some of your contributions, and we welcome contributions from guest bloggers.
  • We are looking for amateur curators to help the archives team to make sense of it all!
  • Longer-term plans for the collection, include exhibitions and events, and we’d like your ideas on these.

How To Take part

Email and send a copy to to let us know what you want to contribute. Please mention ‘STREATHAM LOCKDOWN’ in your email.

Lambeth Archives
52 Knatchbull Road,London SE5 9QY
Tel: 0207 926 6076