PROJECTS : tidemill 2016–2020


>74 Trees

Video, 11:37mins, 2020

Made in 2020, the video >74 Trees documents the  work 74 Trees installed as part of an outdoor group show mounted in Tidemill Garden during Deptford X Fringe 2018. The soundtrack is taken from a performance led by David Aylward as part of that exhibition and ends with footage of the garden's destruction.

74 Trees was based on a 2014 tree survey commissioned by Lewisham Council as part of their plan to redevelop the Tidemill site, which included the old Tidemill primary school and a large garden that had been created by the school and community in 1998 on the school's playing field. The garden was to be demolished, along with a block of structurally sound Council homes, to build more housing.

Tidemill tree demolition list p1
for website
Tree map (Sue Lawes)

74 Trees : Fell tree to ground level; remove stump

Documentation accompanying 74 Trees installation, 2018

Printed paper, A3 folded to A4
Part of Deptford Ain't Avinit, Deptford X 2018 Fringe


74 Trees

Installation in Tidemill Garden, September 2018

Printed corex signs mounted on copper rods
Part of Deptford Ain't Avinit, Deptford X 2018 Fringe

The Council had last 'consulted' on their plans in 2012, and despite the now established threat of climate change and the proven fact that trees combat pollution, they refused to consider alternatives that did not involve demolition of valuable green space but may have provided fewer housing units. In 2018 they gave themselves planning permission amidst much local opposition.

The 2014 tree survey identified 44 trees by name across the entire development, but many were grouped together as one and identified vaguely as Prunus or Poplar, while other trees remained unidentified. The Council publicly claimed in 2018 that only 36 trees would be felled. 

In 74 Trees, I counted and labelled the trees to refute the Council's misleading claims. The installation was accompanied by a reworking of the original survey in the form of a folded A4 document issued to visitors. This listed the same trees but included the actual number of trees in a group.

Bailiffs arrived at the garden at 6am on 29th October 2018 to evict campaigners who'd been occupying it for several months; the seige lasted most of the day. The site was then boarded up and guarded at great public cost throughout the following two years.

The trees were eventually felled on 27th February 2019; in total, around 124 trees were lost. Later the same day Lewisham Council declared a Motion on Climate Emergency. 

Hands Off

Performance by David Aylward, 2018

Video, 8:24mins.

Video & stills by Anita Strasser,

Edited by Sue Lawes

Part of Deptford Ain't Avinit, Deptford X 2018 Fringe

Deptford Ain't Avinit was a group show co-curated in Tidemill Garden by Jacquie Utley, Sue Lawes, Anne Caron-Delion and members of the Save Reginald, Save Tidemill campaign.

It included two outdoor performances by David Alyward, book works by Caroline Jupp displayed in a garden shed alongside academic reading material on gentrification, a talk/walk and discussion on art & gentrification by Art & Critique (Sophia Kosmaoglou), as well as films by Sue Lawes, Harriet Vickers, Real Media, Rainbow Collective and Nikkita Wolfe projected in another garden shed.


Forensis #1

Installation in DXGold, Goldsmiths MFA Deptford Campus, September 2018

Digitally printed wallpaper, 4.62m x 1.78m (11 panels x 42cm width)
Part of Deptford X Fringe 2018

As co-founder and author of local blog Crosswhatfields, I documented the planning process of the Council's re-development plans for Tidemill Garden, and wrote about the campaign against the proposals which became known as Save Reginald, Save Tidemill.

For Forensis #1, I took five of the most pertinent posts and reproduced the text and images as scaled-up 'hard copy', printed on wallpaper. The layout departed from the digital version, adopting a magazine style with pulled out quotes, while the digital links were replicated but unclickable.

Forensis #2, shown alongside, used text and images from blogposts about another controversial Council co-development next to the garden at No1 Creekside (see Installation). A video #ForTheMany accompanied the work (see below).  

CAM19243 website
DSC_2398 website
CAM19249 website
CAM19254 website
CAM19253 website

Forensis #1 & #2, #ForTheMany

Installation in DXGold, Goldsmiths MFA Deptford Campus, September 2018

Digitally printed wallpaper + video
Part of Deptford X Fringe 2018

Photos: Anita Strasser, Sue Lawes


#For The Many

DX Gold, Goldsmiths MFA Deptford Campus & Tidemill Garden, September 2018

Video, July 2018, 16.32mins. 
Part of Deptford X Fringe 2018

Lewisham Council's plan to demolish Tidemill Garden and Reginald House in Deptford to build so-called 'affordable' housing was met by strong resistance from local campaign Save Reginald, Save Tidemill, made up of local residents working with housing and environmental activists.

#For the Many features footage of the only political hustings for local Council elections held in May 2017, hosted in the garden by the campaign. Local Labour councillor Joe Dromey defended the Council's plans with misleading statistics, which are publicly refuted.

The hustings were filmed by campaign supporters Ion Products Ltd. Also included is footage of interviews with threatened Reginald House residents by East London Lines journalist Emma Milburn, and stills from the campaign by Harriet Vickers.

Further political context is provided by film footage from Alan Curtis's 1984 film The Great British Housing Disaster, made for the BBC's documentary strand Inquiry, which examined the disastrous results of the public housing building boom of the 1960s.