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Barbers Alley gets a new lease of life and locals have big ideas for it

Barbers Alley has a bit of a chequered reputation. Running between Greengate Street and Balaam Street, just north of Plaistow Park, it’s a former road and so very wide for an alley, but also a place which has been fly-tipped and is often peppered with doggy-do! But now it looks like a community space with real potential.

PSBL partnered with Plaistow Community Neighbourhood and arts collective, Parrabbola, for the local element of Newham Alleyways project. We worked with local residents to organise the Barbers Alley Festival on 30th September. From the ideas that came up from a few meetings with locals, PSBL led on a pilot mini market and stalls to see if this could be the venue for a regular street market. Residents came up with many other ideas came up such as planters, pergolas, art, murals, children’s activities and community events.

The open day was an exciting opportunity to try something new. Local Plaistow artists Indra and Marcello painted a fantastic mural. 4 local traders joined some of the PYM stalwarts in the mini market, supplemented by PSBL and LBN Plaistow information stalls,  children’s games and chalking, more consultations and activities, and PSBL’s seedling and growing activities.


The Festival and mini market was only for 2 hours, but we think we’ve been there at that start of a permanent new lease of life for the alley! See our Youtube video of the event and local resident’s ideas for further development of a funky space!

Since the festival day we’ve been liaising with LBN for a six month trial of a regular monthly market— a great opportunity for local people to get experience in trading, especially for young entrepreneurs. We’re aiming for the first market to happen in the Spring – we will keep you posted.

We noticed that the Newham Word Festival were looking for walls for a young people’s mural and, hey presto, Barbers Alley is going to get it’s second mural before Christmas! This will be a project with a prominent artist working with Discover and young people from The Mix. The scheduled date for the mural work is 16th December.

Milena and Ros, our Green Spaces Community Workers, are following up with local residents about the greening ideas that have come upwe feel confident that by the summer there are going to be some lovely planters in place, with beautiful shrubs, herbs and flowers.  

If you are a local resident and would like to help us with our door knocking or with greening the alleyway, please do get in touch. 🙂