What we have done
The bandstand area now looks cared for. In 2005, two thirds of the people we surveyed said they would certainly not go up onto the bandstand. In 2006, surveys showed that trend had been reversed, and by 2008 it was certain – Arnold Circus had come back into use and consciousness. How did that happen?
Events have brought people up onto Arnold Circus. The Sharing Picnic had its first year in 2005. People come and bring their picnic with one dish to share. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, with music, fun and games and climaxes in the Totally Amazing 100 Cycle Laps around the Circus.
The Carrom Day attracts a large amount of local talent to come and battle it out on the bandstand. It’s not just for the experts – people are on hand to teach the uninitiated how to get on with this absorbing and compelling Asian board game. In 2011 Carrom was on May 24th, and the Juniors’ silver cup was won by 11 year old Juber Islam.
A The junior champion, Carrom 2007
Gardening has brought people up onto Arnold Circus. Children from Virginia Primary School come up on it regularly, and have planted the top tier with a mixture of wild flowers and meadow grass. The Gardening Club and FOAC’s gardener, Andy Willoughby, meet once a week.
Arnold Circus is safer – We negotiated with the Council – with the support of a petition signed by 500 people – for safer access to Arnold Circus. Some parking bays have now been removed, traffic calming put in and the pavement widened at one point. There are also a few benches now and thanks to the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers, the broken railings have been replaced. On the minus side, the 78 bus has been rerouted and rumbles regularly round the Circus, using it simply as a turning point. And the 42 and the ELS have now joined it: Calvert Avenue has started to look like a bus garage and not a residential street.