Clarkson Row, a blooming oasis in the heart of Camden

Clarkson Row, a blooming oasis in the heart of Camden

Clarkson Row, a blooming oasis in the heart of Camden 1920 1280 Karishma Puri

For the residents of Clarkson Row near Euston, a simple series of planters have helped them build a community, lower pollution from the train line and made their street a pretty place to congregate. The planters – dotted all over the street – are brimming with flowers and small shrubs.

“There aren’t always obvious ways to connect. I think plants are really good for that.”

How it began

Simon Lepper, who is behind the initiative, set up the Clarkson and Mornington Tenants and Residents Association (TRA) in 2018. Living in the area, he saw that it was ripe for change. “I’m a freelance musician, so I don’t have a place of work. My home and its environments are really important to me,” he says. 

“[My neighbours and I] all live so close together, but because we have such diverse backgrounds, there aren’t always obvious ways to connect. I think plants are really good for that.” Simon’s goal was to foster familiarity between the neighbours to create a strong community, so should someone need anything they are able to ask for help. Thanks to grants from Camden Council’s Tenant Participation team and Camden Giving’s HS2 fund, the planter scheme has done just that, bringing out residents onto the streets for extended periods of time, creating the ideal opportunities for neighbours to chat and get to know one another. You can measure the success by the residents who sit outside with their hot drinks.

A blooming oasis 

This joyful scheme has become a great talking point among neighbours. Linda Closier, one of the residents who has lived on Clarkson Row for around 40 years, said: “I think the planters have made our little bit of Camden much nicer, especially with all the works going on opposite for HS2.” For Simon, it’s both the green aspects and people coming together that are important: “Because we live next to the train line, any greening is essential to help with pollution. We all share responsibility for watering the planters, which adds to the sense of community and our pride in the area we live in.”

Clarkson Row is now such a pleasant place that it has started attracting commuters, as Simon explains, “I was weeding one of the shrub beds the other day and a passerby said he has changed his commute from walking down Camden High Street to coming down our road just to see the greenery!” This positive impact has spurred the residents on to expand the project. They received further funding through the TRA and used this to put flowers in the planters put in by the low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) scheme.

Transform your street

If, like Simon, you want to improve the appearance of your street, there are multiple ways to get funding. 

Why not apply for a grant through our We make Camden Kit? The We make Camden Kit gives money and support to Camden residents and community groups who have great ideas for their communities.

Photo credits: Karishma Puri

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