Broadwater Farm Photographs by Nigel Norie

These photographs were taken in 1986 for an exhibition at the Camera Work Gallery in Roman Road, before touring the country. They were intended to be a counterpoint to the negative images used by the press at the time, who were trying to give the impression that the ‘concrete jungle’ was an estate of young black activists, intent on disrupting society.  These photos give a more balanced glimpse of daily life and the ordinary people who lived and worked on the estate.

Nigel came to work on Broadwater Farm in 1983 and was appointed by Bernie Grant as a Youth and Community Development Worker specialising in photography. He established a community darkroom and held seminars and workshops most nights of the week.  The darkroom went on to become Broadwater Photographics, a fully commercial enterprise that undertook commissions for the various councils and statutory bodies, as well as providing a service for the community.  Most of the images in the Broadwater Farm Exhibition, whether official or informal, were taken by Nigel or one of his photographic team over the years. 
Describing the days of the Youth Association Nigel said  “We had a job of work to do and that job was to develop the capacity and ability of the residents and young people of the estate, to be able to voice and fight for the basic rights and needs of themselves and their children.”
Nigel has contributed enormously in fighting for what today we would consider even the most basic amenities for the community. Still actively involved in addressing the needs of the estate, Nigel was involved in trying to ensure that the control of the community centre stayed in the hands of the community when this exhibition was shown in 2010 to 2012.

Captions by Nigel Norie
Joseph with his niece and her mother outside the BWF YA Coop Ltd, the main organisation that was established for channeling building and landscaping contracts to the local community cooperatives. Photograph by Nigel Norie.

Donald with his sound system and can of Tennent's, was a lively character who always seemed to be one of the happiest residents around. Photograph by Nigel Norie.
Two local residents who were friends due to their shared health problems. Photograph by Nigel Norie.
Leonard Leon Solis and his son Alvaro. Leonard was a passionate Chilean academic and refugee from the Pinochet regime's atrocities who became the Development Worker for the BWF Residents' Association. He was a confident speaker and worked closely with Dolly Kiffin and other community leaders on many occasions, to voice the rights and needs of the young people and his community. Photograph by Nigel Norie.
Mr Collins, a friend of mine who always had time to stop for a chat. After his stroke he could not really manage and always said he was looking for his brother to help him. Photograph by Nigel Norie.
The brutal concrete environment was alienating to anyone unfamiliar with the estate, although the flats were large and warm once you were inside. The 'walkways in the sky' never really worked as people wanted to be on the ground. The architect who designed this estate should be made to live here too. Photograph by Nigel Norie.
A gentle giant of a caretaker and his wife. His model vehicle collection was his passion, filled the house and was worth thousands. Photograph by Nigel Norie.

The estate caretaker team led by Russel Simper, centre left at the back with tie. Their personalities lit up the estate as you walked through and there was never a problem they would not fix for you. Photograph by Nigel Norie.
Before the building of the gardens and play area by the BWFYA Coop Ltd, there were very few places that children could play or congregate. The echoes of their shouting filled the corridors after school. Photograph by Nigel Norie.

Clasford Stirling MBE, with his then partner Zadie and their first son Jude, who now plays for Notts County FC. Clasford is still working daily on the estate and with his team of dedicated volunteer coaches has developed one of the most successful football academies in London. Photograph by Nigel Norie.
Luther and his sound system and crew called Quadrophonic. He still works at events on the estate and is a Radio DJ too. Photograph by Nigel Norie.
These children are leaning against one side of a triangular building that was the estate nursery and play centre for many years. It was built after pressure from residents and the Broadwater Farm Youth Association. Photograph by Nigel Norie.
Carol Quallis and her son Phillipe - she was one of our best administrators and had a strong influence within the sewing and dance projects of the BWYA. Photograph by Nigel Norie.
A young mother with her partner and children. The resilience of the young mothers living on the estate were always an inspiration, despite the many difficulties they faced on a daily basis. Photograph by Nigel Norie.
This is the daughter and son of the estate supervisor Russell Simper, MBE. Photograph by Nigel Norie.