Councillor Kay’s Blog: A dynamic society at Parndon Mill

Communities / Tue 25th Jul 2023 at 09:59am

DO you remember that politician saying there’s no such thing as society? She went on to say men and women must look after themselves, adding inconsistently that they should look after their neighbours. Her first statement was wrong, obviously, but what did she mean?

A society is usually seen as people living in a more-or-less-ordered community with shared customs, laws and organisations. The idea of a community conveys togetherness; it’s usually a positive concept.

I was reminded of this yesterday when I visited Parndon Mill. I’ve been there before, of course, but this time other visitors and I were taken on a partial tour by volunteers Bev Ingram and Jake Shepherd, two Parndon Mill trustees.

Simon Langsdale hand-carves letters into stone and wood. We saw examples of his work —- poetry, sayings, memorials —– and all so painstaking, so skilled and so beautiful. We crowded into his work space asking question after question. Mark L’Argent is another letter man, employing the gamut of styles and layout on various papers. He transforms a certificate into a work of art, a verse into an heirloom.

In another part of the complex, Jon Lewis told us about his adventures while trying to make a living from blown glass: those commissioning his work can be an unpredictable lot! Lifting one of his moon-glass creations also proved unpredictable.

Those are only some of the artists who’ve made Parndon Mill their base. Other specialisms include guitars, ballet tutus, graphic and product design, architecture, jewellery, ceramics, textiles, bookbinding and much, much more. An abundance of creativity in a kind of heaven. Outside, across the weir, is a glorious raised walkway by Alan Freeman (design and fabrication) and Karen Murphy (glass art). It alone is worth a visit.

Nearby on the Stort are barges, ducks, swans and five almost-grown cygnets. It feels calming, healing, so it’s no surprise that Walking and Talking therapy is practised here, with an opportunity to create something as a bonus. According to Margaret Mead, helping someone through difficulty is where civilisation starts. There’s plenty of civilisation right here, at Parndon Mill, where artists of all kinds share ideas and collaborate creatively. 

It’s a dynamic community. It’s a wonderful idea and it works.  Maggie never experienced its benefits and joys: she just didn’t get it. 

Kay Morrison: Labour Councillor for Bush Fair

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10 Comments for Councillor Kay’s Blog: A dynamic society at Parndon Mill:

gary roberts
2023-07-25 13:22:22

I think Kay you are being very generous in your assessment of Thatcher. She knew she was destroying communities back in the early eighties. She also used the police as a political weapon to help in doing so. She had blood on her hands while many of the survivors lost everything. Add the issue of negative equity homes that she supported and you can see why we have the current rubbish in office.

gary roberts
2023-07-25 16:06:30

Further to my comments in an earlier posting I can also see that Starmer is becoming more like Thatcher by keeping the two child rule leading to many children remaining in poverty. With no vision or socially radical policies you can just see a continuation of the current rubbish if he got elected to the office of PM. Am I concerned about the state of this country if either the Conservatives or Labour achieve the vaulted position of leading this country? At 63 yes, but I am more concerned about the futures of the young who really have been badly let down.

David Forman
2023-07-25 17:28:07

Gary Roberts makes a good argument about Sir Keir Starmer backtracking on all the promises he made when he stood to become Leader. Starmer's refusal to lift the two child benefit cap is a disgrace and his new reduced support for ULEZ is an insult to London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Also, Starmer has backtracked on a workers rights package and antagonised affiliated unions to the point that they walked out of Labour's policy forum, missing out on a end of forum dinner. Unions clearly couldn't stomach sitting down to dinner with Sir Kid Starver.

2023-07-25 18:16:48

I’m not quite sure why the elected Councillor for Bush Fair is writing a blog about Parndon Mill. I’m sure that we should expect a blog regarding news worthy items from Kay regarding the area she represents. Still, it is an interesting article worthy of publication. What is more suprising are the comments so far regarding Thatcher, Starmer, ULEZ,the Mayor of London etc. It seems that the usual commentators on Your Harlow can turn any story in to a political football to bore the pants off people who just want to read stories of general local interest.

Gary Roberts
2023-07-25 19:32:05

Oh dear Andy, it appears that child poverty in your area doesn't exist and that community is fine in Harlow. Community was the theme of Kay's article and what affects it. Thatcher was mentioned in relation to it. In the real world poverty invades every community today sadly even in Bush Fair. Never mind eh!

2023-07-25 22:29:34

Kay overlooks Margaret Thatcher's greatest statement: "Socialism ends when you run out of other peoples' money". What Labour has never understood is that the means to provide excellent public services is not created by the State that generates nothing, but by a vibrant and innovative private sector and risk taking entrepreneurs. Anyone who thinks otherwise is seriously deluded. The Lefties think that killing the productive private sector and taxing them into oblivion is a solution are seriously wrong, capital will move to more attractive climes to our detriment. Socialist governments just increase public debt borne by our citizens through higher taxes.

2023-07-26 05:54:38

Oh dear indeed Gary, any excuse for you to make comment on an article that had nothing to do with your Ramblings. Keep reading Your Harlow to see what other articles you can spin around eh !

Bruce Downey
2023-07-26 06:12:58

Ref:- K. M and crew, the lunatics have taken over the asylum..🪆🙄

David Forman
2023-07-27 09:39:52

Marie should reflect on the risk taking at Thames Water that the customers will now have to bail out. Those wonderful entrepreneurs asset stripped the company, paid out handsome dividends and loaded the company with massive debt. Also, let's not forget the failed outsourcing company Carillon: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/jul/03/ex-carillion-finance-chief-given-11-year-company-director-ban

Jenny Holland
2023-07-27 12:20:46

As a long-standing Trustee of Parndon Mill, I'm very disappointed that none of the previous comments focuses on the hugely positive nature of Cllr Morrison's report of her day exploring Harlow's very own hub of creativity. We want more people to know and love the Parndon Mill community as we do - including the many local residents who have sadly still not come across us. Here are two suggestions for how you might do that: Why not visit Open Studios over the weekend of 23/24 September - parndonmill.co.uk/events/291-open-studios-2020 ? Or get in touch with us about volunteering, either as a Trustee or in our Gallery, by writing to [email protected] ?

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