Art and Culture Palmers Green Uncategorized

Memories of a happy childhood

Born Melanie Ann Skinner, poet, short story writer and painter Melanie Ann Camp lived in Berkshire Gardens from 1957 until the early 80s when she moved to her grandmother’s house in Edmonton. Though she left the area completely when she married, she still has family connections with Palmers Green and is a regular visitor.

In her new book of poems, “A Penny in my Hand (Growing up in Suburbia)”  Melanie captures happy memories of suburban life in Palmers Green during the 60s and 70s.

“The roads and avenues, then, were all lined with trees, shading the pavement from the sun on those long hot summers.  Privet hedges and little walls surrounded each front garden and everyone had a gate,” she recalls.

The book is dedicated to Melanie’s father, Albert “Chick” Skinner (pictured), her mother and her grandparents.

Melanie has kindly allowed us to publish one of the poems in the book. Copies of A Penny in my hand are available at £5 plus £1.50 p&p. If you would like a copy, please email

Saturday Morning Shopping
Buying fresh bread at the local shops,
And talking to people in the street.
Watching vans deliver fish from the seas,
And meat from the farms,
Not so far away.
The newsagent and the sweet shop,
Full of children eager for a new comic,
Or a packet of sherbet.
Lazily walking back up the road,
Knocking on friends doors,
And going over to the park.
To feed the ducks.
Or just sit in the shade
Of the old Willow Tree
Beside the small lake
And in front of a beautiful old house.


Art and Culture Uncategorized

Poets read at the festival

Poetry in Palmers Green are hosting a special evening of poetry on 23 June as part of the N21  and Palmers Green Festival weekend. The evening will be introduced by Jayne Buckland, Enfield’s poetry loving former mayor, and compared by Joanna Cameron. Four poets are featured.

  • Kevin Crossley-Holland is a renowned poet and historical novelist for children who lives in Norfolk. His New and Selected Poems Mountains of Norfolk was published in 2011.
  • Penelope Shuttle lives in Cornwall. Sandgrain and Hourglass (Bloodaxe 2010), the most recent collection by this acclaimed poet, was a Poetry Book Society recommendation. Unsent: New and Selected Poems 1980-2012 is due this autumn. She is the widow of famous poet, Peter Redgrove.
  • Katherine Gallagher, born in Australia, has lived in North London since 1979. The fifth collection of this well known poet is Carnival Edge: New & Selected Poems (Arc 2010). She was co-organiser of the 2002 Palmers Green Stevie Smith Centenary Festival, and is running another event on Stevie Smith in Palmers Green on 30 June – see elsewhere on this site for details.
  • Myra Schneider lives in Arnos Grove. Her most recent full collection is Circling The Core (Enitharmon 2008). Second Light Publications has just brought out her pamphlet What Women Want. Other publications include books about personal writing.

The event is being held at St John’s Church Hall and starts at 7 for 7.30.Further info: Katherine Gallagher: 020-8881-1418  Myra Schneider: 020-8886-1329 For further news visit Poetry in Palmers Green’s Facebook page

Art and Culture Uncategorized

Celebrating Stevie Smith, Palmers Green’s poet


1 Avondale, the home of poet Stevie Smith until 1971

The suburbs are not traditionally full of poets and artists.   Perhaps Palmers Green, though, is an exception, as home to at least two great writers: Paul Scott and Stevie Smith

Stevie Smith lived in the same house in Palmers Green, 1 Avondale, from the age of four until her death in 1971 at the age of 69 – sixty five years. Her suburban surroundings and the experience of living in Palmers Green connected profoundly with her writing.

In 2002 Palmers Green hosted a poetry festival, under the title 10 days with Stevie Smith, complete with its own ‘fringe’ (a gent by the name of Peter Brown playing a song inspired by the poem Avondale on the harmonium who met festival goers at the station). An English Heritage blue plaque was unveiled in her memory by poet laureate Andrew Motion in 2005.

Since then, though, and particularly with the demise of the Palmers Green Bookshop, all seems to have gone quiet in remembering and celebrating Stevie. Until now. On Saturday 30 June, poets Anne Bryan and Katherine Gallagher will be holding a day’s workshop at St John’s Parish Centre, Palmers Green, under the title Not waving by drowing: not drowning but waving – the enigma of Stevie Smith.

The day will be in two parts – a writing workshop from 10.30 am- 1 pm, followed by, from 2 – 4.30,  a talk ‘Who was Stevie?’ plus questions and readings of poems.

Writing workshop £16, ( £13 conc.) Afternoon: £12 (£10 concs.) Full day – £28 (£23 concs.). Booking essential.

For further information, please telephone 020 8881 1418  web site