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Venue sought for artist’s King’s Cross story

Who’s been making the news round your way this week?

11 October, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

Marianne Fox Ockinga with a painting of St Pancras during construction

AN artist who lives in Thornhill Square, Barnsbury, has a studio with walls stocked high with artwork and is looking for a place to showcase it. Marianne Fox Ockinga, 75, has been sketching, painting and etching building works in King’s Cross since construction work in the area began in 2001.

Marianne in her Barnsbury studio surrounded by her work

“I saw a crane on Goods Way and wondered what was going on,” she says. “No one seemed to know about it at the time. I sat on the street with my easel. I even plonked it down on a double yellow line – the road sweepers went around me. Slowly over time, the workmen got to know me. I like things that are on the move and I like getting the sense of that energy into pictures.”

Marianne was commissioned by a developer to draw the St Pancras Chambers and was one of 10 people to gain access on the work site at St Pancras Station during its restoration before it opened in 2007. “It was just me and the workmen,” she says. “I walked over the roof and gained insight into the construction.”

Detail of one of Marianne Fox Ockinga’s artworks

Marianne has two prints on show in the V&A museum’s permanent collection and is part of the Art Workers’ Guild.
She is now looking for somewhere in King’s Cross to display her body of work documenting the transition of the area.
For more information see / or contact

Fun Day fundraiser for Whittington Park community hall

Irene, left, celebrating her 87th birthday with Hanna at Whittington Park Community Association’s 60-plus lunch club, which meets Monday to Friday 11.30am to 2pm

Whittington Park Community Association is hosting a Fun Day tomorrow (Saturday, October 13) to bring people together and celebrate the launch of its 50:90 campaign, which aims to raise £50,000 in 90 days to go towards the repair and renovation of Hocking Hall. The centre sees 800 people come through its doors every week and has provided a space for local people of all ages since 1972. It is now calling on the community to help donate funds for the hall which holds events from ballroom dancing to the 60-plus lunch club which meets Monday to Friday. Loan Tran, project development worker, says: “We have something so special here at the centre and it’s really exciting to be building for the future with our 50:90 campaign. We want to transform it into a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose space and install a lift so that it is fully accessible to everyone.”

The centre is open from 2-5pm on October 13 for free activities including zumba, ballroom dance, face painting, tai chi, yoga and a sit down with friends and family to enjoy afternoon tea and a ukulele concert.

The Whittington Park Community Association is based on Yerbury Road, N19 4RS. For more information, visit


St Joseph’s primary pupils discover the power of poetry with Joseph Coelho

Poet Joseph Coelho with pupils from St Joseph’s

YEAR 6 pupils from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Highgate joined poet Joseph Coelho, winner of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) Children’s Poetry Award, to make a series of videos for schools. Produced by Discovery Education, the short films are used as teaching resources nationwide to help inspire children’s love of poetry.

Dan Ferry, teacher at St Joseph’s, says: “Teaching poetry is important because it is very creative and expressive. It is accessible for all children, especially children who may struggle with their writing. They can engage in a mood or a feeling very easily. The openness of poetry means that children don’t feel the pressure to be right or wrong. This allows them to show their creative side and just have fun with words.”

Poet Joseph Coelho

Joseph, recently long-listed for the Carnegie Medal – a literary award recognising outstanding books for children and young people – says: “Poetry is often seen as a lofty pursuit which is such a shame as it is a medium that is for everyone and a tool to allow us all to express and share our emotions and to see the world in vivid detail.”

To learn more about Discovery Education or to request a free trial visit:


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