#First Aid at Millman Street Centre


Kate resuscitates dummy (not this reporter)..

Today at Millman Street Community Centre, Grant from the Red Cross gave a First Aid Training session.  It was attended by staff, members, volunteers and this reporter.  Alas, there is no known cure for his blurry photos, so readers will have to be, erm, patient (no pun intended) with the slideshow below:

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Grant spent a decade as a teacher before working for the Red Cross.  He usually gives two First Aid sessions per day – morning and afternoon.  He showed those in attendance how to recognise the symptoms of various ailments, and also how to help deal with them.

It was a very informative session, with everyone asking sensible questions and joining in, some engaging the dummy Grant brought along to help illustrate his talk [not to be confused with the dummy writing this blog, of course].

HCA members Gloria, Moy-Yin and Louise, IT volunteer Iqbal and Befriending Manager Kate are all better informed as to what to do in the case of emergency.


Holborn Community Association thanks Grant and the Red Cross for providing the First Aid Training session.  We hope other members and staff will take the course if Grant returns to the Centre later in the year.


Self-portrait by HCA hack..?

Photos and report: Notes Smudger

Posted in Activities, community, First Aid Training, Free of Charge, Fun, Holborn, London, Thanks, Therapeutic, Uncategorized, Well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#Review of the Year: 2018 at Millman Street Community Centre – Part 2

Finally, on this, the 20th of February, 2019, HCA is able to end the suspense and resume our Millman Street Community Centre Review of the Year for 2018.  What’s that, you say?  About time?  It’ll be time for the 2019 review soon, won’t it?  And, while we’re about it, weren’t we to be told what happened to England’s bid to win the World Cup?  Hmm?

Quite.  All in good time.

Anyway.  In July, there was glorious summer.  There was also the annual Queen Square Fair.  Held in, erm, nearby Queen Square, as indeed all such previous fairs have been – time for a change of venue this year, your HCA hack wonders?  [No.  It’s called Queen Square Fair for the good reason that that’s where it’s always held – HCA Bigwigs]

Ahem.  Anywoo.  Holborn Community Association once again joined in the festivities, with stalls selling bric-a-brac, food and refreshments.

Staffed by Bedford House stalwarts Saira, caretaker John and Administrator Charles, the food stall did a roaring trade, with Saira’s delicious cooking a big hit with hungry fair-goers, as usual.

Colleen and Hazel from 1A Arts also held a pottery workshop, and also among HCA’s representatives were Millman Street’s Sarah and volunteers Pat, Bridie and Hannah, the latter two staffing the bric a brac stall.  Sarah also took some photos:


HCA staff and volunteers


Also in July, HCA’s Gardening guru Rima hosted a garden party at Millman Street Community Centre in the, erm, garden, obvs.  Our members enjoyed tea, scones and a delicious carrot cake baked to perfection by volunteer Gloria.

Members and staff basked in the summer sunshine, enjoying some vitamin D and admiring the flora lovingly cultivated by Rima, Lilly and other gardening helpers.  New gardening volunteer Walter also joined our members.

Former manager Richard also popped in to see our members and staff, and apparently to settle an old score with Rima:



Furthermore in July, HCA’s Befriending Organiser, Kate, and Project Worker Hanif manned a stall at Camden Mela at Coram’s Fields.

HCA’s Activities Coordinator, Carmen, was also on hand, practising her face-painting skills on local kids, and our very own Kate (see below).  HCA member George also turned up and chatted to Kate, Hanif and Carmen.

During the Mela, Kate and Hanif promoted HCA volunteering opportunities and services across our three HCA Centres.

“It was lovely weather,” said Hanif.  “Quite a few people took information,” he added.  “Face-painting was really amazing,” he furthered.  “It was a good event!”



July also saw the first seaside trip of 2018, with Millman Street Centre members, staff, volunteers let loose on the Kent town of Whitstable, which, it seems, doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Holborn, given that even your HCA hack was allowed out for the day.

Our members – peckish and parched from the journey – breathed in the breathable air on their way to a fish and chip shop for tea, cold drinks, erm, fish and (can you guess?) chips.

Alas, tragedy struck when Steve crushed your HCA scribe’s reading glasses case.  In the ensuing tussle, Steve denied responsibility, saying it was “an accident”, then landed a couple of well-deserved back-handers on the blubbing word-mangler, and threatened to not let him return to London on the coach until he promised not to sue (“lawyers” and extravagant “settlement” sums had been bandied about by the hot-headed hack).

Steve has since enjoyed bias-free write-ups in the Millman Street blog, penned (typed?) by the in no way vengeance-consumed wordsmith.  Steve is not an evildoer.  Here he is, not looking evil:


Ahem.  After perusing the charity shops and high street, our members and staff made their way to the seafront, passing Cushing’s View (named, of course, for the actor-resident) and basked in the sunshine.  Those with the stomach for it looked out across the Swale to the Isle of Sheppey, or to the old sea forts in the, erm, sea.

Then it was time to rest, to stop off for drinks and ice creams before heading back into town for a brief snifter in a local pub.

Finally, it was back to The Smoke – the polluted, unfresh air and urban decay of London.  To Holborn, HCA and home…It’s funny how much you miss it for the few hours  spent away from it…


At the end of July, the Centre was visited by Zoolab.  The company provides animal handling therapy to schools and other educational establishments, as well as visiting centres like Millman Street.

Lilly – the lady from Zoolab – brought along a selection of creatures for our members to see and handle, including a snake, a lizard, a millipede, hissing cockroaches, a frog and a tarantula (de-venomed, hopefully).  Unlike this scaredy-cat scribe, our members were not the least bit squeamish about handling creepy-crawlies.

“I didn’t mind handling [the millipede],” said David (pictured below).  “T’was fantastic; brilliant!”

Fred agreed.  “It was great,” he said.  “Crawling on your hands – you have to wash your hands afterwards, otherwise you could get an infection.”


July also saw the conclusion of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.  So, did England win?  Out with it, man!  Out with it!  Our readers can take the suspense no longer.

At last, and without further recourse to digression, avoidance, beating around bushes, procrastination or other such stalling, it can finally be revealed that England…

…lost in the semi-finals, to Croatia.  Who, in turn, lost in the final to France.  Roll on the 2022 tournament in Qatar.  The stifling heat shouldn’t prove much of an obstacle to England’s campaign…


In August, Rowena from the Working Men’s College visited Millman Street Centre, asking HCA members and staff to complete a brief survey on the life of proto-feminist and former Bloomsbury resident, Mary Woolstencroft.

Rowena, also a member of the Further Than The Edge theatre company [FTTE], was writing a play – Mary, Mary – which was due to be performed at the annual Bloomsbury Festival last October.


Also in August, Millman Street Centre members and staff visited the Wallace Collection itself, seeing it in its full glory with their own eyes.

They saw a new exhibition celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of the Collection’s founder, Sir Richard Wallace.  They were shown around the exhibition by Edwina, who, equally as knowledgeable as her colleagues who have visited Millman Street, provided our members with fascinating insights into various artworks.

Among the huge amount of works on display were, and indeed, still are ceramics, sculptures, paintings, gold and silverworks, antique furniture and suits of armour.  The Collection houses, for example, Frans Hals’ famous The Laughing Cavalier, and several self-portraits by Rembrandt.


“It was very good,” said Helena of the exhibition, adding that she had enjoyed it.  “It was all very nice!”

“It was very interesting,” said both Carmen and Thelma.  “Some of the models and things were good,” the latter added.  She went on: “They’re very nice people there,” adding that afterwards there was a “lovely afternoon tea; that was nice!”


August again, and Millman Street Centre members were invited to Bedford Estates in Bloomsbury, for High Tea.  It was a lavish spread, served by a lady named Emma (pictured with our own Thelma):



Yet more from August:  Alexandra and some other volunteers from Freshminds came to Millman Street Community Centre to give our members an Arts Workshop.

Freshminds are a rescruitment consultancy, based in High Holborn.  Their volunteers included Roberta, who is also one of HCA Befriending Manager Kate’s befriending volunteers.



As August drew to an end, it was the birthday of long-time Millman Street Centre regular, Ken, who celebrated in unique style by not actually attending the Centre, but popped in the day before to bring in some chocolate cakes for our other members could celebrate.  He was also thoughtful enough to bring a vegan flapjack for Kate.  What a star.




Ken at a buffet….



On 31st August, Millman Street Community Centre members embarked on a journey to deepest Hertfordshire, to visit Hatfield House for a marvellous day out.

A Jacobean stately home, Hatfield House opened in 1611.  At the time, it was home to Robert Cecil.  Having previously been Queen Elizabeth I’s trouble shooter, Cecil served as King James I’s Lord Privy Seal, and is often credited as the “discoverer” of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot (you know, Guy Fawkes and Fireworks Night and all that).

Helena, Shonni, Anne and Tom were among the HCA members who undertook the day out, along with staffers Sarah and Carmen.  Anne, Shonni, and Ayr United fan Tom declined to be interviewed about their experiences, by dint of not being at the Centre when this reporter asked the questions.  And so he restricted his interviews to those who were present at the time he conducted them, and made up the rest in his customary style.

“It was very good,” said Helena.  “Very interesting,” she enthused.

“It was fantastic!” Carmen said.  “In each room,” she continued,”the guides told us about the history.  We saw some fantastic paintings,” she added, including: “the Rainbow Painting of Queen Elizabeth the first”.  [Note: not the Rainbow TV show for kids featuring Bungle, George and Zippy, though wouldn’t it be great if there were a painting of them in a stately home?]


In September, our friend Peter, the Master Florist, once again shared his expertise with Millman Street Community Centre members.  Peter encouraged our members to produce a spectacular floral display, pictured here by Andrew:



Also in September, Millman Street Community Centre members were treated to an Aromatherapy Session.  Mischma from the Mary Ward Centre hosted the session, bringing a fresh bouquet of aromas to our members.  Rose enjoyed herself, Queenie perked up noticeably, making Mischma laugh, and HCA’s Activities Coordinator, Carmen, seemed positively chilled out – perhaps inspired to dedicate an evening to listening to The Orb’s Little Fluffy Clouds, some early Orbital albums, or other ambient tunes..?


Ahem.  “They all enjoyed it,” Carmen said of our members.  She added that the fragrance Mischma concocted was a mixture of lavender, grapefruit and orange.

“Everyone got to make a roll-on,” Carmen continued.  “Our members were most pleased that they could take it home with them, and loved the smells!”


More September:


HCA’s resident gardening guru, Rima, again engaged Millman Street Centre members with another Gardening Workshop.

Exactly what took place remains a mystery, as plantswoman Rima was not quizzed by HCA’s Gardening Correspondent (i.e: this reporter) at the time.  Thankfully, Sarah took some photos, and to judge by them, the theme of the workshop was composting.


September also saw Millman Street Community Centre as the setting for a delve into local History, as volunteers from STANTEC came in to unearth our members’ recollections about the area.

The day began with tea and cakes and a welcoming talk by Anu Sabherwal.  There was a group discussion about Holborn’s rich history before lunch, and some art activity after it.

STANTEC’s Karen and Lisa arrived the previous day to set up the montage on the back wall of the Centre, which our members added to on the day itself.  Like Rose here:


October, and Holborn Community Association’s resident gardening guru, Rima, gave Millman Street Community Centre members another of her celebrated Gardening Sessions.

The camera-shy plantswoman enlisted our members’ help in planting tulips and other spring bulbs.  For the, uh, Spring.  You know, next year.  Obvs.

Beyond that, HCA’s decidedly agriculturally-impaired hack could comprehend little.  His fingers may be green, but this is probably due to an unspecified vitamin deficiency [since identified as Vitamin D deficiency – apparently, there’s not enough sunshine in Britain.  Who knew?].


October also saw Halloween, of course.


Back on 31st October, our members were treated to a Halloween Art session, hosted by Carmen, HCA’s Activities Co-ordinator.

Sarah took some photos, which hinted at food decoration being the theme of the session: cakes, pumpkins and so on.

“We had a good time,” said Fred.  “Had a good laugh.  Olive was telling funny stories about Halloween and ghosts.  We had a go at making a pumpkin,” he added.  “When all the candles were in it, it looked nice.”

Margaret recalled that, “We made little sponge cakes, put a beetle on it [not a real one, obvs].  We did some icing and decorations,” she continued, “then put in two eyes and lips.  We had a pumpkin on the table, [but] it was mostly decorating the cakes!”


Back on 31st October, it wasn’t just Halloween at Millman Street Community Centre.  Some of our members enjoyed use of the Centre’s table tennis, erm, table.  For table tennis.  Or ping pong.  Or wiff-waff…

Anyhoo, it was and is all good fun, therapeutic, great exercise and good for the health (of those other than bloggers).

Ahem.  David featured in the photos, making his opponents laugh, as is his wont:




On Thursday, 1st November, several of our Millman Street Community Centre members enjoyed a day of Pots and Poems at 1A Arts, part of the Holborn Community Association family.

Poems were produced, and pots thrown by our members.  Your potty (mouth) HCA hack was elsewhere at the time (i.e: not invited), but Sarah says that members wrote poems concerned with their own names, and began made pottery of holly and ivy.


November also witnessed Millman Street Community Centre hosting the third and final Speech and Language session by placement student Libby.

Libby was looking at types of communication that older people do: social activities, and where and with whom they do it.  It could be exercises, museum visits, restaurants or watching TV.

Last week was a ‘picture description’ task.  It’s a shame that Sarah was too busy to take these photos; sadly, your HCA hack had to take these poorly-taken snaps, which, like his writing, are indescribable…



November also saw this:


On Sunday 25th November, Millman Street Community Centre was the venue for the second Sunday Social workshop.  Under the guidance of HCA’s Arts Manager, Hazel, several of our members enjoyed creating various artworks.

“It was good,” David said of the various activities.  “We done a good bit of ’em!”

He enjoyed the Sunday Social.  “I’ll try anything,” he said.  “If it was up to me, I’d [just] get a paint and a brush,” he added.  “It’s a lot of hard work,” he said.


Even more so in November, Millman Street Community Centre was the venue for Holborn Communty Association’s Annual General Meeting [AGM].  There was a lovely meal after formal business, cooked by Saira.  Kate and others said it was “delicious.”


HCA’s Director, Paul, told this daft scribe that “There was a lot of energy” at the AGM, adding that the “vibe was good.”  He also praised Elly for successfully publicising the event, and for her presentation on the night.

Carmen, our Activities Coordinator, was presented with flowers and a card by Paul on behalf of all at HCA, in recognition for her work at the charity for thirty years.  Thanks, Carmen.



At the end of November, Lloyds Bank came to Millman Street Centre to put up Christmas decorations.  They also made Christmas cards and gingerbread men with – and enjoyed chatting to – our members.

Some of them have previously been involved in other group volunteer days, including at another charity in Wembley.

Alex – usually a Customer Relationship Manager – said that he hadn’t met some of his colleagues before at the office, as they work in different departments.

“We deal with all types of clients,” Joe said, explaining that they had undergone training in order to help clients with dementia, Parkinson’s Disease and other ailments.  “It’s nice to come [to HCA] and do your bit,” he added.

“It helped me understand,” Alex agreed.

They both feel that they have learned a lot from interacting with the elderly, both at Millman Street Centre and at other charities.


Then it was December.  Christmas, New Year’s Eve and all that.  There were parties, Christmas lunches, special performances by troubadors at Millman Street Centre; all the festive hoo-ha you might expect of any Yuletide Season.  You might also expect a detailed chronicle of said festivities.

Unfortunately, your HCA hack was off ill, and it’s only thanks to Elly at Bedford House that he managed to rescue the following photo of said festive fun from HCA’s Facebook:

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and hat


Besides, it’s the 20th of February now, so it’s high time to look forward to all the splendiferous events which are sure to occur at Millman Street Centre throughout the coming year.  Or is it?  Couldn’t the Millman Street Community Centre Review of the Year for 2018 could be stretched out yet further, into a Part 3?  With all the missing detail of last Christmas chronicled, even if it takes until June?  [No, get on with it – HCA Bigwigs]


Holborn Community Association thanks everyone who contributed to the events, education and entertainment enjoyed at Millman Street Community Centre throughout the last year.

Photos: various; rank review: Notes Smudger



Posted in Activities, arts, Atmospheric, community, Culture, Events, Fun, history, Holborn, London, Party, Thanks, Uncategorized, Well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#Sunday Socials at Millman Street Centre#3rd February, 2019

This coming Sunday, 3rd February, Millman Street Community Centre will again play host to a Sunday Social workshop.  Between 12 noon and 3pm, members will be enraptured as they learn about Paper Sculpture Making.

Sunday Socials are free monthly creative workshops for people aged 60 and over.

Workshops will usually take place on the last Sunday of every month (not this Sunday, obvs).  Participants will be provided with a light lunch as well as a two-hour creative workshop.

Future sessions are scheduled for the following dates:

24th February 2019
31st March 2019
28th April 2019
26th May 2019
30th June 2019
28th July 2019
25th August 2019

Sessions are free and are kindly supported by Ageing Better in Camden and the Big Lottery Fund.

Millman Street Community Centre

50 Millman Street, London, WC1 3EW


To book, please call Hazel at 1A Arts on: 0207 405 2370 (option 3) to find out more.

Here’s your HCA hack’s attempt at art; for want of paper to sculpt with, he knocked it up on Paintbrush.  Why bother?  Because our readers deserve pictures with their blog.  Even rubbish ones like this:


Hopefilly, it’ll be better than this on Sunday…

Forthcoming attraction by HCA’s work-in-progress, Notes Smudger

Posted in Activities, arts, Atmospheric, community, Culture, Forthcoming, Free of Charge, Fun, Holborn, London, Spiritual, Sunday Social, Therapeutic, Uncategorized, Well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#Games Afternoon at Millman Street Centre


Fun and games at Millman Street

On Thursday, 10th January, Samira and six of her fellow students from the London School of Economics University Islamic Society, called GIVE (Generosity Instills Value In Everyone) came to Millman Street Community Centre to deliver a Games Afternoon.

Though absent at the time, this reporter is given to understand that the Games Afternoon evoked a fair bit of competitiveness between various tables, a friendly rivalry which, thankfully, did not – repeat did not – degenerate into a seventeen-man brawl.

While such a thing would have perhaps made for a more sensationalist article, in reality it was all good clean fun.  And, erm, games.  Which is what you want from a Games Afternoon, ideally.


Fun on the cards: Helena and friend…

Samira and friends bought some of the games themselves, which they have donated to HCA for the enjoyment of our members.  Next Monday, 4th February, Samira and the students will return to Millman Street Centre for another round of games.

Holborn Community Association would like to thank Samira and her colleagues from the London School of Economics University Islamic Society.  We hope they will become regular visitors to Millman Street Centre.


Grandmaster George: check-mate…?

Photos: Kate; report: Notes Smudger

Posted in Activities, arts, community, Culture, Free of Charge, Fun, Games, Holborn, London, Thanks, Uncategorized, Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#Review of the year: 2018 at Millman Street Community Centre – Part 1

Let Holborn Community Association be the, erm, last to wish you a Happy New Year, 2019!

Yes, it’s the penultimate day of January, so what better time to look back on the events of the last twelve months at Millman Street Community Centre?  And, while we’re at it, why not a few mentions of Bedford House and 1A Arts chucked in for good measure?

It’s good to remind ourselves of the wealth and variety of activities hosted at Millman Street Community Centre throughout the course of a year.

January 2018 started with, erm, a review of 2017 at Millman Street Centre.  Much like this year’s one; only more dated and possibly only undertaken for want of much happening.  Unlike this year’s effort.  Ahem…

Anyway.  On his arrival at Millman Street Centre last January 17th, your HCA hack was initially startled to see several of our members coating wooden sticks with peanut butter and bird seed.  It struck him that a (mercifully deleted) scene from The Wicker Man had somehow come to life when he saw more such sticks hanging, like a bizarre cricket wicket, from a Zimmer frame.

However, the scaredy cat slowly realised that he had stumbled upon another of Alice’s Active Minds workshops.  And that our members were once again showing their creativity, continuing the previous week’s theme of making bird feeders.


Peanut butter-related arts

Part of the Arts and Crafts Fun Interactive Sessions, The Active Minds campaign suggests activities and products for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.

Also last January, some of our members visited CREATE at Liverpool Street.  There, under the supervision of CREATE’s photography guru, Hannah, and some volunteers, our members took photographs, and enjoyed a hearty lunch.

“I learned a lot,” Shonni said.  “We used different types of cameras.  And how to do action shots.  Also, how to take photos against the sun,” she continued.  “They were very expensive cameras,” she recalled.


Shonni auditions for the paparazzi

At the end of the month, Anita and Frances from the Wallace Collection again visited Millman Street Centre.  They brought photographs of several priceless artefacts, including a 17th Century Ghanaian warrior’s gold mask.  “It’s extremely valuable,” Anita said.  “Very precious.  It’s the largest object made of gold out of Africa, apart from ancient Egypt,” she explained.


In February, there was an  Art & Crafts workshop, hosted by Lene.  Her sessions helped bring out the budding artist in many of our members.  February 5th was no exception, with Millman Street regulars Margaret and David (below) among those picking up pencils to sketch portraits.


David – an artwork in his own right…

Also in February, Holborn Community Association said a fond farewell to its CEO, Christina.  We wished her all the best.  And still do, of course.


CEO Christina: leaving HCA

In her stead, Paul Crozier – our then-Head of Operations – became Director with immediate effect – “Going full time from the end of Feb,” he told staff at Millman Street Centre.  And he’s still here now, so he must be doing a great job, writes HCA’s in no way obsequious scribe…


Paul tucks into his new role…

Ahem.  February also saw Millman Street Centre members enjoying a Laughter & Relaxation workshop.  Hosted by volunteers and chief chuckle-mongers Pat and Gloria, our members enjoyed seated exercise, throwing foam balls to one another and having a good laugh in the process.

Queenie, Margaret, Shonni, Olive, Anne and Rose were among those HCA members having a good old giggle, and even the unsolicited intrusion of your humourless hack didn’t seem to dampen the high spirits.  Indeed, little did the woeful wordsmith realise, but he became a figure of fun, adding to the mirthful morning.


In March, Holborn Community Association was once again pleased to host one of Neil’s Clothing Parties at Millman Street Centre.  These have become regular events at the Centre, with our members always keen to find a bargain.  And with the onset of Spring as the daffodils emerged, so did the lighter clothes after the wrap-up-warm-it’s-brass-monkeys-out-there British winter.

Among our, erm, ‘models’ taking to the catwalk was Steve, who had his eye on the slinky little number in the photo (below).  Did he haggle with Neil to get an absolute bargain?  Or at least a 10% discount?  Both parties remained tight-lipped (and Steve tight-walleted) about that particular transaction…


Supermodel Steve’s Spring Collection…

March also saw the introduction of a ping-pong table to the Centre, with members keen to have a go at this then-novel form of exercise.


Action shot…

The table and apparatus came to HCA thanks to Highbury Table Tennis Club.  Volunteer Gloria is on the committee of the London Aged Christian Society, to whom we have applied for a grant to help cover the costs.

The table has been much in use already, with our members and staff exercising while having fun.

At the end of March, the latest Singing For Life workshop at Millman Street Centre was hosted by our pal Stac.  You know, her from the Sugar Sisters.  During the session our members sang a selection of popular tunes, including Oh, What A Beautiful MorningWill You Still Love Me Tomorrow?It’s A Long Way To TipperaryWe’ll Meet AgainYou Are My SunshineTonight You Belong To MeI Can’t Help Falling In Love With YouHit The Road, JackEvery Time We Say Goodbye and, erm, in honour of the late Mark E Smith, How I Wrote Elastic Man [*].

[* Not strictly accurate or true]


Stac with HCA members

Ahem.  Stac accompanied our members on her ukelele while Sarah took photos.  Volunteers Pat and Miriam also joined in.  By all accounts, our members were in good voice.


Mulegetta studies the small print in his recording contract

As March neared its conclusion, some of our members traveled to 1A Arts for another of Colleen’s Pottery workshops.  They made faces – literally, as that was the theme of the latest workshop.  Self-portraiture in clay/Was the order of the day…*

[*no poetry intended.  None taken – HCA Bigwigs]

Ahem.  Our members, including David and Shonni, were accompanied by Sarah, who, as David told this reporter, “Joined in, and did one of her own.”

Oddly, her self-portrait seemed a bit miffed:


An uncharacteristically grumpy Sarah…

Also crammed in at a busy end of March, 1A’s new Arts Manager, Hazel, turned up at Millman Street Centre.  Hazel came over to get a feel for the place and its Arts-related activities.

Hazel hails from East Yorkshire, and completed her Drama Degree in Hull.  Prior to joining HCA, she worked mainly in Participatory Theatre, delivering workshops for kids with special needs.  In deference to her newcomer status, she was spared any Legz Akimbo jokes.  Until now…


Hazel: the new Arts Manager at 1A Arts


In April, Millman Street Community Centre members once again enjoyed one of Lene’s Arts and Crafts workshops.  David made a papier mache robot.  “We made it out of newspapers,” he said.  “Sarah took photos,” he added, adding a concise, informative level of accuracy to this report which your HCA hack might do well to learn from.  But of course hasn’t…


Robot (centre) with Lene and David

Also in April, a couple of Millman Street Community Centre members paid a visit to the Petrie Museum in Bloomsbury.  Accompanied by Sarah, who took the photos, David and Shaku enjoyed rummaging around among the Egyptian and Sudanese exhibits.  And drinking tea afterwards, of course.

The museum was founded by the explorer and renowned Egyptologist Flinders Petrie (Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, in full; 1853-1942).  It contains over 80,000 objects – one of the world’s largest collections of stuff (Egyptian and Sudanese “stuff”, that is).


The Pharoah’s shopping list

Furthermore last April, a delegation from the Centre attended the British Museum for an exclusive community preview of Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece.  Among those who went along were our Older Peoples’ Services manager, Andrew, and volunteer Joss.  Judging by the photos they took, they had a fine old time of it.

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) is is generally considered the progenitor of modern sculpture.  His famed works include The ThinkerThe Kiss and Balzac in a Frock Coat.


Joss (left) and Rodin

Even furthermore in April,  Millman Street Community Centre welcomed volunteers from Warner Brothers, whose cinema regularly provides Tea & Talkies for our members.  This time, it was HCA’s turn to provide the tea and to screen the talkie – in this case, the 1948 musical Easter Parade.  Starring Fred Astaire, Judy Garland and Peter Lawford, the film was scored by Irving Berlin, and won an Oscar for Best Original Music Score.  Among the tunes were Steppin’ Out With My BabyWe’re A Couple Of Swells and of course the title song.


Film Fact:

Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869), the English physician and lexicographer, was one of the founders of the University of London.  He is of course best known for his Thesauras (1852 onwards), but is also credited as the first person to identify “persistence of vision” in a series of experiments (circa 1824).  This is the odd trick of the human brain that allows it to ‘see’ still photographs move, at the ‘fusion frequency’ rate of 24 frames per second.

So is this true?  There are those who dispute Roget’s involvement, often in vague and nebulous [same thing – Roget’s ghost] terms, but generally speaking Roget gets the credit.  As such, without him there would likely be no movies: no Citizen Kane, no Gone With The Wind, no Casablanca, no Easter Parade and no, erm, Holiday On The Buses.  So now you know who to thank/blame…

We now return to our main feature…

After the screening, Warner Brothers staff handed out popcorn and tea to our members, agreed to pose for badly-taken photos, and even did the washing up.  They hadn’t seen Easter Parade before, but all said they liked it.  As for our members, they also enjoyed the flick.  Margaret said it “Was before my time”, with a twinkle in her eye…


Queenie and George with the volunteers

At the tail-end of April, Millman Street Community Centre members were on hand to witness the inaugural Holborn Community Association Flower Art Shield Awards.

Who better qualified to judge the event than our friend, Peter, the Master Florist?  He not only gave another Flower Arranging workshop at the Centre, but also provided the Flower Art Shield, which was engraved with the name of the winner.  So who won?

What’s that you say?  Enough suspense?  Out with it, man!  Out with it!! Who won the inaugural Holborn Community Association Flower Art Shield Award?

Well, in third place was Shonni…


The runner-up was David…


And the winner?  Why, it was our very own – and coincidentally florally-named – Millman Street Centre member…Ivy (seen here with a jubilant Peter).



In May, those of you following the developments of Millman Street Community Centre members’ Pottery Workshops at 1A Arts were surely discombobulated as, in contravention of all convention, Colleen journeyed from 1A Arts to Millman Street Centre, in order to present Sarah with the latter’s completed artwork.  It is a moody self-portrait in clay, expertly glazed by Colleen.

Sarah Pot-1

Sarah declared herself happy with the completed likeness, albeit with some reservations about the nose.  Other staff note that the moodiness captured in the portrait is somewhat at odds with her usual, somewhat sunnier, disposition.  Still, that’s artistic licence for you.

Anyhoo, the finished piece is now on display at the Centre, along with other works, in a new display case, like Lord Lucan and Pal (below):

Sarah Pot-2-me


May also saw staff from MetroBank come along to Millman Street Community Centre to assist Rema in the garden.  They may have enjoyed appreciably better weather than their colleagues the previous week, but their aim was the same:  to give something back to the community.


The MetroBank volunteers were Christina, Lola, Sheena, Nam and Chloe.  “It’s lovely to be giving,” said Christina, who usually works in Lending and Securities.

Lola agreed, adding that “Spending time in the community” made a pleasant change from the office.  Others were also glad to be out in the sunshine.


June saw some of our members travel to CREATE Arts at Liverpool Street for an Acting workshop.  Rose, Shonni, David, Sevila and Juliette were accompanied by Carmen, HCA’s Activities Coordinator.

Hannah from CREATE organised the workshop, and an actor, James, showed HCA members a thing or two about his trade.

Our members took on various roles, including Shonni as a saint, Sevilla as a villain and David playing a sinner – “typecasting”, as he put it, jokingly.  “It was very good,” he said.  “We had tea and sandwiches, and did some acting.”

Among the actorly techniques our members learned were a role-playing game using playing cards.  A card was attached to each member’s forehead with elastic bands, then:  “We got to do something funny,” David revealed.

June was also the month that Millman Street Community Centre hosted its annual Open Day.  There were stalls and clothes rails, a buffet, fun and games and a raffle.  Various chocs, bottles of wine, a set of fancy mugs, toiletries and other sundry treats were won by various members.

People from The Working Men’s College held a hand-made birthday card-making workshop, which many of our members enjoyed:

Also in June, Millman Street Centre was once again the venue for Shirley’s Seated Yoga class.  The classes mix mild exercise with good-for-the-soul relaxation to produce a chilled-out vibe, alleviating the sometimes stressy 21st Century zeitgeist.


There was also an Eid party in June, to celebrate the end of Ramadan.  Ladies from the Working Men’s College provided hand massages and Ambia offered henna tattoos, as enjoyed by our very own Sarah.

There was a traditional Eid meal of rice, curry, lentils and chicken, prepared by Saira, Hanif and Ruma, who was of course busy cooking, as ever.  But she found a little time to enjoy the celebrations.


Also in action-packed June: Millman Street Community Centre was the venue for the latest of our then-new Line Dancing classes.

Naturally, this reporter didn’t participate due to (a) aversion to physical exercise and (b) frightfulness of appearance, which others (quite rightly) would probably have objected to.


The 2018 World Cup also began in June.  A pulsating 3-3 draw in the Iberian derby between Spain and Portugal augured well for an exciting tournament.  England weren’t expected to do much: scrape through the group stage, perhaps.  Lose on penalties to one of the favourites: Brazil, maybe; Argentina?  Possibly.  Germany?  Well, it wouldn’t have been the first time.

But they (i.e: we) lasted longer in the competition than any of the aforementioned.  Which was amazing.  And then we were in the semi-finals.  Croatia stood between us and a first World Cup Final since 1966.

This reporter can’t recall what happened during the match: he assumes England won, and went on to best France in the Final.  Is he right?  You’ll have to wait until Part 2 of this Review of The Year: 2018 to find out…


Photo credits:  Various artists; rotten review by Notes smudger

Posted in Activities, arts, Atmospheric, Culture, Events, Flower Arranging, Fun, Holborn, Line Dancing, London, Music, Open Day, Party, Performance, photography, Poetry, pottery, singing, Spiritual, Table Tennis, Therapeutic, Uncategorized, Volunteering, Well-being, Yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#Good Old Days at Mary Ward Centre#Music Hall#9th February

mary ward players

Our friends the Mary Ward Centre Players are back!  On Saturday 9th February they will be performing at the Mary Ward Centre.

The performance is a special tribute to Gerald Glover, co-founder of the British Music Hall Society.  Along with Ray Mackender, Gerald founded the BMHS, a registered charity, back in 1963.

The Players’ performance of old time music hall will commence at 3pm, and a mere £3 donation at the door will get you in out of the chilly weather.

Mary Ward Centre

42 Queen Square



For more info on the Mary Ward Centre, go to: http://www.marywardcentre.ac.uk/

For General Enquiries about the British Music Hall Society: contact@britishmusichallsociety.com


Puff piece by Notes Smudger



Posted in Activities, arts, Atmospheric, community, Culture, Forthcoming, Fun, Holborn, London, Music, Performance, singing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#Dickensian Christmas Music Hall at#Mary Ward Centre 8th December


Our friends the Mary Ward Centre Players are staging a Dickensian Christmas Music Hall spectacular this coming Saturday, the 8th December.  Like their poster says, the performance begins at 3pm, and the price of admission is £3 donation at the door.

So get yourselves down there for a pre-Christmas day of Music Hall favourites with a festive Dickensian (Oliver) Twist…

Puff piece: Notes Smudger


Posted in Activities, arts, Atmospheric, Christmas, community, Culture, Dancing, Events, Forthcoming, Fun, Holborn, London, Music, Party, Performance, singing, Spiritual, Therapeutic, Uncategorized, Well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment