Heritage – Capturing the stories of Battersea and KLS

11th Apr 2022

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As our centenary approaches (2024) we’ve started reminiscing about what we’ve been up to over the last 98 years and counting.

The pictures above are from our first (1924)  and latest (2021) Annual Reports. They both capture the essence of KLS which is its people. We’d really like to do more heritage work to capture our member’s history over this time, how we’ve supported them and the difference we’ve made to their lives. Recently, we’ve spotted a couple of funding opportunities to apply to, so we can do more. Fingers crossed.

But in the meantime, looking back through our archives we found the following:

We will share these in more detail in future news blogs.

Survey of London – Battersea 

If you want to learn more about our past, then read about our heritage in the context of Battersea’s development over the ages. It is compiled in the 2013 Survey of London (vol. 49 & 50) here: Battersea Old Town (ucl.ac.uk) – see page 29, and here: Battersea General Hospital (ucl.ac.uk) – see page 25. Having a read of both of these documents is fascinating to understand more about the history of Battersea and our role in it.

Historic England

And, here’s our entry on Historic England: KATHERINE LOW SETTLEMENT, Non Civil Parish – 1357651 | Historic England

Why is heritage so important to us?

That old adage, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” may be true, but for communities a link with the past is unavoidable. Though our community in Battersea is continually changing, there are threads that links us irrevocably to the past. What we do today, the choices and decisions we make, are done so in the context of the past. There are ways of living that are passed from one generation to the next, customs and traditions, values, language, memories; as well as more tangible things like buildings, objects and monuments. We are shaped by our past, whether we can remember it or not. UNESCO defines it more clearly, ‘Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration’.  We must do more to understand our past, and embrace our heritage. It will help us make more of today. We’ll let you know how we get on with those funding bids.

A very brief history of Katherine Low and the Settlement 

Katherine Mackay Low was born in Georgia, USA in 1855. Her parents were British. When her mother died in 1863, her father, a prosperous merchant and banker, brought his family back to England and settled in Leamington. When he died, the family came to London, and Katherine devoted herself to working with people and communities living on low incomes. When she died, in 1923, her friends decided to create a memorial to her which would also further the kind of service to which she had devoted herself. The Katherine Low Settlement opened the following year, in premises comprising an 18th Century private house (later a vicarage, now Grade 2 listed), Cedars Boys club (formerly a mission) and a further three buildings dating to 1895, the 1920s and 2003. KLS is now a much loved and busy community hub in the heart of Battersea.

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